Do you really know the power of “Long-Tail”?
More than 70% of search queries are long-tail keywords. However, in a recent survey conducted on LinkedIn, only 22% of respondents stated they understand long-tail keywords.
If you are writing content or doing SEO, you have surely come across long-tail keywords at some point.
Utilizing long-tail keywords can be an effective strategy for SEO when used right. If you are searching for what long-tail keywords are, you’ll come across many resources providing different definitions.
In this article, we explain what long-tail keywords really are and how you can use them effectively.
What are long-tail keywords?
In SEO, there are two types of keywords: head keywords or short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are descriptive variations of more popular head terms. These search terms have low search volume, but they are easier to rank for because they contain highly targeted and specific topics that not many people write about.
They can vary in length from 3-5 words or more, but this is not a strict rule. For example, a short-tail keyword is ‘dress’, while a long-tail variation of it is a line prom dress’ or ‘how to dress for your body type.
Long-tail keywords clearly communicate the users’ needs – meaning they are intent-driven. This helps you create targeted content that addresses the users’ needs.
Combined with their high conversion rate and low competition, long-tail key phrases make the low-hanging fruit around which you want to create and optimize your content.
On the other hand, head or short-tail keywords have higher search traffic, but they are competitive and nearly impossible to rank for. The short-tail keywords space is dominated by big brands that you’ll need a lot of time and effort to outrank.
Also, head terms don’t have a clear search intent because they are broad in meaning. For example, if someone searches for a ‘white dress,” they aren’t clear about their needs. But if they search for ‘buy white prom dress under $500’, their needs are specific.
Why long-tail keywords should be part of your SEO strategy
Below are the most significant reasons you should focus on long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy.
- Easier to rank for
Long-tail keywords are much easier to rank for than head terms because they are less competitive.
Focusing on long-tail keywords in your niche will help you rank your website on the first page of Google for highly specific search terms. The longer the keywords are, the easier it is to rank for them. The key is finding long-tail keywords with a decent volume, but low keyword difficulty, i.e., low competition.
Although the search volume of long-tail keywords is lower, the audience you attract will be more interested in reading your content to find solutions for their problems.
- Better conversion rates
People using long-tail keywords in their searches know what they want, and they are more likely to convert. In fact, long-tail keywords have a 2.5 X higher chance of converting than a head term.
Creating your content around long-tail search terms can also boost your CTR in search results. If someone is searching for, let’s say, ‘Instagram Reels’ we cannot determine their intent. They might be looking for what Instagram Reels are, or they might be searching for how to find Instagram Reels.
However, if they type ‘How to make a reel on Instagram’, we clearly know they are looking for information about how to create Instagram Reels.
Knowing the user’s intention helps us create a blog post covering all the information they need on the topic.
- Optimize for voice search
Voice search is becoming more popular. Statistics show that 40% of the U.S. population uses voice search, while 71% of consumers prefer to search online by voice instead of typing.
Long-tail keywords are essential for optimizing your content for voice search. When people are using voice search, they are asking a question, such as ‘How to find a reel you saw on Facebook?’ and saying commands with clear intent, such as ‘Show me the fastest route from point A to point B.”
Also, people using voice search are looking for a specific answer or service. So optimizing for these voice search long-tail keywords will help you reach the audience that is more likely to convert
- Then craft more comprehensive pieces of content.
Using long-tail keywords in your content marketing strategy helps you create more comprehensive pieces of content.
When doing keyword research for tong-tail terms, you can discover angles you probably didn’t think we’re in the scope of the topic.
Long-tail keywords also help you enrich your content with related subtopics that connect to the main topic. More importantly, you can discover keyword clusters – group related long-tail keywords into groups – and create and optimize your content into pillar articles and supporting articles.
- Build relevance
When Google ranks pages, it considers a few factors, including authority, quality, and relevance.
The quality of the content is crucial for how you rank. However, if your site is new, you can’t compete with the authority of well-established, dominant websites that rank for competitive keywords and have a lot of backlinks.
In this case, your ticket to success is long-tail keywords because they help you increase your relevance. They are more specific and help you create highly relevant content that answers the audience’s questions and adds more context for search engines.
This way, you have a better chance of ranking for these low-competition long-tail search terms without having a lot of backlinks.
How to find long-tail keywords
You may feel convinced that long-tail keywords are essential for content strategy, but how do you actually come up with them?
First, create a list of head terms you want to target. They will serve as the basis for generating long-tail keyword ideas.
There are several methods, free and paid, you can come up with long-tail keyword ideas.
- Google’s Autocomplete, Related Searches, and People also ask for features
Enter each of the head terms you came up with in Google search and check out the Autocomplete suggestions that appear under the search box. They are a useful source for discovering relevant long-tail keywords.
Also, when searching for a head term or a related long-term, scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the Related search section.
You can also explore the People also ask section, which contains the most search for questions related to your keyword.
- Ahrefs, Semrush tools, or another SEO tool
Ahrefs and Semrush are great SEO tools that provide lists of high-quality and relevant long-tail keywords. Whichever you opt for, you will get your money’s worth.
If you are using Ahrefs Site Explorer, enter the domain of some of your competitors in the search bar and go to the Organic keywords tab in the left-side menu. You can also apply filters for low keyword difficulty and low-volume keywords.
Semrush works similarly. You enter your competitor’s domain in the search bar and click on the Organic traffic report. Filter the keywords based on keyword difficulty and search volume and you have a vast source of long-tail keywords you can use in your content.
- Answer the Public and Ubersuggest
Answer the Public and SEO Arcade are excellent keyword research tools for finding relevant long-tail keywords. Both tools have good free versions, but you can get the paid versions for more extensive more detailed keyword lists.
Answer the Public provides question-based long-tail questions that users might ask regarding certain main keywords.
Whereas, SEO Arcade displays a comprehensive long-tail keyword list, including search volume, traffic estimate, and conversion estimates for the relevant keywords it’s discovered.
Both tools have the option to search for keywords based on different languages and locations worldwide.
- Quora, Reddit, YouTube, and TikTok
The biggest benefit of Quora and Reddit is that users themselves write the questions, which provides you with a stream of long-tail question-based keywords.
YouTube is another popular search engine, especially among Millennials, teenagers, and kids. Many people go directly to YouTube to get information about a certain topic. This way, YouTube can serve as a fruitful source of long-tail keywords, particularly for how-to and step-by-step guides.
Google announced that nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer to search on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps. The short-form video sharing platform is changing the way users consume content, especially the younger generations.
So, if Gen Z is your target audience, TikTok is a great source for discovering long-tail keyword ideas.
- Google Search Console
Another place you can find long-tail keyword ideas is in your Google Search Console. This method helps find long-tail keywords to optimize the existing content on your website. Apart from this, you might also discover new topics in your niche.
Simply go to the Search Console, click on ‘Performance’ in the left-side panel, and in the Queries tab, you’ll see a list of long-tail keywords, including how many impressions and clicks you got for each search query.
Additionally, you can insert a URL to a specific page by clicking on the ‘+ New’ icon on the Performance page. In the report, you’ll get a list of all keywords that the page is ranking for.
How to use long-tail keywords to create your content
Now that you have a decent list of long-tail keywords, the next step is creating excellent content. These are some pointers on how to create and optimize your content with long-tail keywords.
- Since you may have hundreds or thousands of long-tail keywords, you can’t create a single piece of content for each of them.
- Also, you can’t optimize one piece of content for hundreds of long-tail keyword variations.
- Instead, group similar long-tail keywords into logical lists based on the topic and search intent. For example:
- “Can you hide your snap score’ and ‘How do you hide your snap score?”
- ‘How does Snap Score work’ and ‘How does Snapchat Snap Score work’.
- ‘How to get your Snap Score up’ and ‘How to increase your Snap Score’.
- Then, identify which long-tail phrases have the highest volume.
If you already have content pieces covering the same or similar topic, you can naturally insert these long-tail keywords into them.
However, if you don’t have content covering these long-tail keyword topics, then you have ideas for your next pieces of content.
Lastly, don’t forget to use internal links to help search engines discover your content. Internal links are a smart way to use your relevant long-tail keywords and connect related pieces of content.
Focusing on long-tail keywords in your content strategy helps you tap into unique topics in your niche and attract the right audience to your website.
Long-tail keyphrases have lower search volume than more popular short-tail keywords, but they are highly targeted, specific, and intent-driven key phrases with a higher conversion value.
They increase your chances of building relevance for topics that few other people write about.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also include head terms. Use both long-tail and short-tail keywords in your SEO strategy. However, don’t over-optimize by stuffing wordy long-tail keywords.
Always prioritize your user when creating your content and try to build authority and relevance by answering your audience’s questions.