The term “long tail keywords” is as old as the term “bum marketing” (a technique using article marketing, popular more than a decade ago). But why are long tail keywords important?
Firstly, what are long tail keywords?
The term refers to specific strings of words used to describe specific things.
For instance, something like “diet” would be considered a broad keyword.
However, something like “paleo diet tips for diabetics” would be considered a long tail keyword.
Secondly, it’s about reducing the amount of competition in the search results:
The longer the “tail” (words that narrow down the topic), the fewer search results you have to compete with. The more specific the visitor’s Google search becomes, the lower the number of websites that will contain the exact phrase.
As a result, it is easier to rank your website on the first page of Google – and it is better to rank on page one for something that gets a hundred searches a month than to be buried on page 20 for something that gets a million searches a month.
Nobody will find you on page 20, despite the number of searches – but if you can make the front page for something that gets a few hundred searches per month, you will get some traffic from it.
Keep in mind that (unless the user’s browser is set otherwise), there are only ten search results displayed on the first page of any search engine’s results. Most people never move past the first page, unless they are searching for something very specific – which means they use long tail keywords.
Depending on the niche and the availability and quality of the information in the search results, visitors will go as far as four pages deep into the search results. That means that you can get traffic from long tail keywords even if you don’t rank on the first page for that keyword phrase.
Something else to keep in mind is that, the moment you add a location to the long tail keyword phrase, you eliminate all competition except that in your town or neighborhood. That makes it a lot easier to rank a local business.
Fair enough, it is still possible to go too broad – for instance if you list yourself as a “New York plumber”. However, if you list yourself as a “Brooklyn 24 hours emergency plumber”, the competition you face reduces dramatically.
Even if you do service the whole of the New York area, you can still have different pages optimized for the different areas, and come up in Google’s results for those searches.
It’s about more than just the number of searches:
Many people get this one wrong…
They look at some of the long tail keywords, and they feel the number of searches don’t make it worth their while to focus on those.
However, they lose sight of the bigger picture: Look at the number of searches relative to the competition – and you will see the benefit of going “long tail”.
Trying to rank for a keyword like “diet” or even “high protein diet” will not only force you to compete against a gazillion other websites, but it will also pit you against some major, well established websites.Even if you spend a small fortune on building backlinks to that page, it will still take you years to get that specific page onto the first page of Google’s results.
When you focus on longer tailed keywords, you not only reduce the number of competitors, but also the strength of competing websites you are up against.
1. Including several long tail keywords can improve latent keywords and context.
(latent keywords are words and phrases that compliment the main key phrase you write about)
Let’s dissect that…
If you write blah blah blah keyword, blah blah blah keyword…
Google sees that as low quality content.
However, if you write blah blah keyword, blah blah related keyword, blah blah another related keyword…
Google sees that you understand the topic at hand, and considers it to be higher quality content.
For instance, instead of writing this:
“This diet is for everyone. This diet is easy to follow and doesn’t cost much. It is the best diet you could possibly try.”
Rather write this:
“The new and updated raw food diet for diabetics is safe for anyone. This diet of fruit, veggies and nuts is easy to follow and doesn’t cost much. You are likely to find it is the best, healthiest diet you could go on as a diabetic.”
The additional related keywords provide context, and Google will reward you for it.
2. You can rank the same piece of content for several keywords if it is good:
Google is moving towards not only taking visitors to a page with the searched keywords in the title, but to any high quality page which includes a section with the key phrase as a section.
That means if you wrote a high quality article, with sections and sub-headlines focused on different long tail phrases that people search for…
You can rank the same article – in Google – for more than one keyword. It can rank for several long tail keyword phrases at once if you choose them carefully, and if all of them fit into the theme of the article.
That way, you can get quite a bit of traffic from one single article, even if the main keyword only has a few hundred searches per month.
3. Long tail searches indicate more specific intent:
If someone searches for a broad term like say, “Ford Bronco”, it indicates that they are on the browsing stage of their buyer’s journey.
If, however, they start to search for terms like “best deal Ford Bronco in Atlanta”, or “2023 Ford Bronco discount San Diego”, it signals that they are actually getting ready to buy something.
Even if you can catch them at the research (middle) phase of their buyer’s journey (with search terms like “2023 Ford Bronco review”), you could still nudge them from there towards doing business with you.
However, when people search for broad terms, chances are they are just browsing.
As such, attracting people who use long tail keyword searches to find your information is not only easier, but it also brings you a more qualified prospect.
What’s not to like about that?