Long-tail keywords are highly specific, often longer phrases that cater to a niche audience in search engine queries. Unlike broad, general keywords, long tail keywords are more detailed and usually contain three or more words. They are tailored to match the specific search intent of users. For instance, instead of a generic term like “shoes,” a long-tail keyword would be “women’s black running shoes size 8.”
If you have taken the time to study or learn anything about SEO, we are certain that one of the primary subjects that came up was keywords. There has probably been more written, discussed, and argued about amongst SEO experts and digital marketers relating to keywords than any other topic within SEO.
You might be wondering why that would be, and the simple answer is that keywords are the foundation of all efforts to rank highly on search engines, especially Google. Although SEO is a vast subject, if we pare it down to its core basics, it is a relatively simple concept, as we shall explain.
A search engine such as Google is where people search for information and answers on any subject they can imagine. They do so by typing their search, or in some cases, speaking it now that voice search is on the rise. When Google sees that search, it then attempts to provide results that most closely match the search term and the intentions of the person searching.
The results that appear on each page of these results are determined by the algorithms that Google have created. Google has scanned every web page that exists to find signals that are relevant to any specific search. This is achieved thanks to factors like content, metadata, and backlinks, to name but three.
The common thread that runs through everything we have just laid out is keywords. The search terms entered and the results produced are matched up due to the keywords that the websites that appear in the search results have been optimised for, and between the two, it is Google’s algorithms that identify a match.
A simple example is someone searching for an SEO agency in their local area. They may open Google on their browser and type in “SEO agency near me” or “SEO consultants in Perth, WA”, if that is where they live. When entered, Google then checks its database of websites to find which are most relevant and authoritative for those search terms. It instantaneously delivers the results, starting with those on page one that it deems the most appropriate.
What this points to is SEO is effectively a keyword contest. It is a contest in that every website owner who wants their website to rank for keywords relating to their business competes with every other website owner with the same intention. It is not a case of winner take, but certainly, a case of the winner getting the most traffic from search engines.
Now, you can participate in this keyword contest to rank your website in several ways, and some ways are more effective than others. You could target all the short, one and two-word keywords that get the most searches and traffic. However, you will either need to spend a lot of money or a lot of time to see results, given that you are targeting the most competitive and sought-after keywords.
A far better strategy is to target so-called longtail keywords, which often have three, four, five, or more words. They each might only get a fraction of the traffic that many shorttail keywords get, which means they also have far fewer websites competing for them. Here are seven benefits of optimising for longtail keywords in your SEO campaign to further highlight why this strategy is so effective.
Reduced Competition: We have already mentioned this, but it is worth emphasising again. Whilst the bulk of your competition is battling wearily, trying to rank for the small number of high-traffic shorttail keywords, you have open season on the longtail keywords you are targeting and most likely achieving more page-one search rankings than any of them.
Better Conversion Rates: If someone searches for “summer dress”, the results can have websites with every summer dress imaginable. The chances of them having the exact sort of summer dress being sought after are very low. However, if the search is “floral pattern summer dress size 10”, and you have a page optimised for the longtail keyword “floral pattern summer dress size 10”, the chances of a sale increase massively.
Improved User Experience: Google wants every user that searches on it to have the best experience possible when they click through to a website. You can provide that great experience because when someone types in a longtail search, the page they land on has content and information provided by you that matches exactly what they were searching for.
Lower Marketing Costs: An SEO agency is what you will normally need if you want to rank for highly competitive shorttail keywords. Not only will that take time and resources, but it will also cost the necessary fees. If you only target longtail keywords, the cost should be less as the amount of work required to rank for them is also less.
Enhanced Revenue: By targeting and ranking for several longtail keywords, you will have organic traffic coming to your website in greater numbers. By having more traffic, which then becomes leads or prospects, and as they go through your sales funnel, they ultimately become paying customers, which should invariably increase your business’s revenue.
Increased Website Authority: A website with high authority is an asset because Google will rank an authority website higher than others. By ranking for increasing numbers of longtail keywords and providing the user experience that follows, your website’s authority will continually increase in the eyes of both Google and those who find your website via searches.
More Voice Search Traffic: The greater use of mobile and voice-activated applications means increasing numbers of online searches are spoken rather than written. Your targeting of longtail keywords allows you to take advantage of voice search traffic, including ranking for variations of search terms spoken using conversational language or local dialects.