What are they?
Long-tail keywords are more specific search queries that usually meet three characteristics:
- They bring in less traffic than the more general searches that are related to them.
- Are less competitive
- Convert a lot higher
- Consist of at least 3 words or more
Due to the specificity of long-tail keywords, the search volume is much lower. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as you’ll find out in the next section. The specificity is also helpful, because it can mean that larger companies that usually rank for the more competitive and broader search terms, may not rank for the specific niche ones. For example, below I’ve used the search phrase ‘Camera’ this is really broad and as a result, Argos, Currys and Jessops have secured the top spots for the search term.
But if I make a more long-tail search on the Sony Camera above. Look what appears:
Search term: “Is the Sony Cybershot Camera Good?”
These websites are much easier to compete against than Curry’s, Argos and Jessops.
Why are they valuable?
The top spot in google receives about 30-38% of the search phrases’ traffic. This is a very large portion and can sometimes be evening higher when combined with higher local pack rankings, position 0 and PPC Campaigns, but in any case, this still leaves a large portion up for grabs in the other spots.
Although individually long-tail keywords bring in less search traffic, collectively, they actually collectively bring in around 70% of a topic’s search traffic. Long-tail keywords should be leveraged by any business, but especially small start-up businesses. The lower competition allows smaller websites with less SEO equity to rank higher and gain some of the traffic. From there, it is down to the conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to convert the user into a customer.
Why do they convert higher?
Because of the specificity of a long-tail keyword, the user will tend to have an idea of what they’re looking for. Usually this means that the user is in an ‘action’ frame of mind leading to them taking action when finding an applicable service or product to their specific search. Below, is a graph showing how the specificity of a search can affect traffic and conversion likeliness.
The graph shape is generally ubiquitous amongst all long-tail keyword search trends. This shape is what gives long-tail keywords their name. From this example, you should be able to see why the more specific search terms are more likely to convert.
How to find long-tail keywords
There’s numerous ways to find long-tail keywords. I recommend trying all of them and building a list for you to shape your content around. Ideally, you’ll want to categorise each of the search phrases into topics and then structure your content around this. This is because you will want one blog to rank for close variants of the long-tail search phrase, until you’ve covered all of them.
I’ll list my preferred methods below:
Ubersuggest – https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/
One of my favourite tools to find new keywords! I would start by using the phrase that you would like to rank for. These don’t have to necessarily be the long-tail keywords themselves, but just one related to your industry that you feel your target customers would be using to find a service/product like you.
You should find that Ubersuggest displays related search phrases to your keyword(s), along with a bunch of traffic data. This can be exported into a spreadsheet for you to pick out your chosen search phrases.
Note: Long-tail keywords are usually at least 3 words or more. If you use the forumla =LEN(A2) then you can display the amount of characters a certain cell will contain. Once done, apply a filter on the column to filter out anything less than 2 words long. This should expedite the process of finding your desired long-tail keywords. Also, remember to change the (A2) part of the formula for your desired cell.
Google Ads – Keyword Planner
The Google Ads keyword planner was made targeting PPC campaigns, but it pulls the search suggestions form its generic searches so is still relevant. As with Ubersuggest you can simply input your desired keyword (or phrase) and Google will suggest a whole bunch of search phrases that may be worth targeting.
In this example I have used ‘Freelance Illustrator’
Using the same rule as mentioned in the previous note under the ‘Ubersuggest’ tool. I would recommend targeting the search phrases with more than 3 words.
These can also be exported into a spreadsheet, so feel free to combine them with the ‘Ubersuggest’ results.
Using Google Search
There are two ways Google search can be used to find long-tail keywords.
As you can see, Google offers suggestions to help you specify your search intention. These suggestions are based on other users similar searches, therefore meaning they are long-tail and have a decent amount of traffic that can be targetable.
Simiarly, you can use the related results at the bottom of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), such as in the below image.
Another nifty little trick is to see what your target audience are talking about in forums. You may already know of some topic related forums, so check them out. If not, try using a search modifier on Google to find some.
To find the forums use a modifier which contains speech marks on your target keywords, combine this with the ‘AND’ modifier. So you should get something like this “Freelance illustrator” AND “Forum”
Here’s the results:
And there you have it! A bunch of forums for you to find some new long-tail keywords in!
Mine your Analytics
Google’s new Search Console (and the old one) displays the search phrases used to trigger impressions on your website. Sometimes these results can show a whole bunch of long-tail keywords as well as their search volume. The best part is that because the search console only shows your impressions, you’re already being seen for these searches. From there, all you’ll have to do is optimise your CTR and strengthen your position to rank for these long-tail keywords.
Steal from your competitor
Take a look at what your competitor is writing about. In order to rank your content higher you’ll need to put together a good https://harryh.co.uk/link-building-strategies/link building strategy, but that’s a separate topic. You’ll also need to ensure that your content is lengthier and better. A good way to grade this is to copy the content from your competitors article and run it through this tool: https://wordcounter.net/. This will tell you the keyword density used, and the length giving you a benchmark to achieve in your writing style.
This website is awesome for giving suggestions on your search phrases. Simple type the broad version of your chosen search phrase and Answer the public will feed a whole bunch of categorised suggestions, of which look like this:
This is a totally free tool (although it doesn’t give search volume insight on the free version) that is great for giving some additional suggestions for search phrases to target.
Determining which search phrases are high converters
Almost all Google searches fall into three main categories.
Do – The user wants to make an action on the website they find. Such as buying, or booking something.
Know – This is the user trying to discover something, such as an answer to their question. Usually these are low converters, but can still be valuable to start building a relationship with your audience.
Go – A navigational query. Not to be confused with somebody asking for directions (that falls under the know category). These navigational queries are to find websites that the user wants to go to. Such as typing ‘Facebook’ in Google with the intention of visiting Facebook.
As a digital marketer (Or a business owner trying to learn more about their digital marketing) it is your job to leverage each of these search queries to benefit you the best. Many long-tail keyword targeted blogs are created in such a way that they’re used to either increase brand awareness by targeting the ‘Know’ queries or to increase conversions by targeting the ‘Do’ queries. Using the example used in the beginning regarding the Sony Camera. The long-tail search phrase used ‘Is the Sony Cybershot Camera good?’ is a know query. What is useful about this search phrase and can be the case with many know queries is that it has a strong of placing the searcher into the ‘Do’ category. As anyone wondering if the Sony Cybershot camera is any good, will probably be looking to buy shortly after. I’d expect their next search to be a ‘Do’ query. The ideal customer journey in this scenario would be as follows:
User makes the long-tail search “Is the Sony Cybershot Camera good?” > Reads your article > Makes a new search “Sony Cybershot Camera for sale” > Recognises your website from before > Places an order through you as result.
An alternate scenario would be that your article they come across through the search term “ “Is the Sony Cybershot Camera good?” has an affiliate marketing link to a company like amazon, where the user then goes to place an order giving you a commission kick back.
In any scenario, the point is, if you can bring in enough visitors through your long-tail keyword / content marketing strategy then you should be able to squeeze out a few additional orders / enquiries each month. Depending on your CRO of course!
Now you know how to find long-tail keywords you’re going to need to know how to make articles that will rank for them. As I mentioned before, the competition is lower so ranking for them will be easier and can potentially pay off providing you rank for enough of them!
Firstly, you’ll want a strong link building strategy, to ensure that your website has enough SEO equity to rank above your competitors.
Secondly, ensure that the content you’re writing is in abundance, easy to read, with plenty of keywords. Google will rank your pages only if it can see value in them for the users.