What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are search queries that consist of 3-5 words and tend to be more specific to the user’s search intent.
They are usually much easier to rank for than more general keywords like “head keywords” or “head terms.”
If your site is new, or you are not highly ranked right now, it can take years of hard work and continuous improvement to rank for highly competitive head terms like “coffee” or “marketing.”
Targeting your audience using long-tail keywords can position your content faster than a head term. Even if the long-tail keyword search volume isn’t as high as the head term, if you place your website on multiple first pages of SERPs across many long-tail keyword variations, you could still bring in a lot of traffic.
Why Long-Tail Keywords Are Key for Boosting Traffic and Conversions
By targeting long-tail keywords instead of head keywords, you are more likely to attract visitors interested in your site, product, or service. Here’s why:
Easier to Rank
There is a ton of competition and results for common head keywords since they are broader. At times, a head term can have billions of results. But for a long-tail keyword that is more focused, there may be millions of results. For instance, the term “sushi” generates 876 million search results, whereas “vegan sushi restaurant Chicago” generates only 7.4 million search results. Lower search results mean less competition, making it easier for your content to rank.
Targets The Audience Better
A user’s search query can help us determine search intent, whether it is navigational, commercial, transactional, or informational. Since long-tail keywords tend to be more specific and less competitive, someone who searches for a long-tail keyword is probably ready to make a purchase or commitment.
Someone who searches for a general keyword, on the other hand, might just be doing preliminary keyword research or weighing all their options. But chances are, they already know what they want, now they need to find it. Of the two users, the second is the one you want on your site, and search intent can help you determine how your long-tail keyword will target the user.
Less Expensive Advertising
If you use Google Ads, long-tail keywords will also help you get more bang for your advertising buck. Competitive keywords tend to have a high cost per click. Still, keywords with a lower search volume or competition are cheaper and more targeted, thus giving you a higher probability of conversion. In short, less competitive terms mean less ad spend and better ROI
Know Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
To find keywords that pay off for you, start by thinking about your business. Ask yourself these questions:
- What makes your product or service uniquely desirable or useful?
- What kind of people need what you are offering?
- Why should they choose you over your competitors?
Keep these unique benefits in mind when choosing your long-tail keywords. Ideally, your keywords should highlight what you do best and why you are different from the competition.
These factors will help you reach users who need what you are selling. Remember, the more unique the search query, the fewer viewers. However, it’s the conversions that matter.
Determine What Your Target Audience Needs and Wants
Your potential customers have needs and wants — your job is to figure out those needs and wants before moving forward.
- What questions do they need to answer?
- What pain points do people have?
- What solutions do people need that you can provide?
- What things do people consider before they invest in what you offer?
Your sales team can often answer these questions for you. Anyone within your organization who deals with customers or clients has insights you can use. Create a list of answers to these questions before moving on to the most crucial step: keyword research.
Do Keyword Research
So you know your USP, your customers, and their needs and wants.
Next, you have to research and make sure that the words you would use to reach new customers are the exact words they would use in a query.
Keyword research can help you discover related words you haven’t considered. It can also help discover keyword variations your competitors use.
Keep User Intent in Mind
After making a list of long-tail keywords to use, review them again. Consider why people search for those terms.
- What are they hoping to find?
- What stage of the buying process are they in?
When you use your keyword on your site, ensure your content provides those users’ information.
Whatever you do, don’t use long-tail keywords that aren’t a good fit, even if you think they will be easy to rank for. For instance, don’t write a blog post that matches a search query for “make iced coffee at home” and then create content that talks only about your coffee product.
Visitors will be annoyed if your site or product doesn’t address their needs or answer their questions when they get to your site. This is where understanding search intent can come in handy.