If you’ve been trying to claw your way to the top of the search engines without any luck, we’ve got a solution for you that requires no technical know-how, no soliciting for backlinks, no formal SEO training, and no black hat tactics.
The trick? Use long-tail keywords as part of your SEO to boost your organic traffic while driving more high-converting traffic to your site.
Long-tail keywords can expand your reach, skyrocket your traffic, and dramatically increase your revenue. Plus, they have less competition Go Digital Brand employed this strategy and saw exponential growth over the course of a 12-month period.
What Are Long-tail Keywords?
Let’s back up for a second… What is a long-tail keyword, anyway?
We need to start by dispelling a persistent myth. Contrary to popular belief, long-tail keywords are not keywords that are longer in length. Rather, a long-tail keyword is a term that has a low search volume.
A lower volume of search traffic doesn’t mean that there’s no demand and no one is searching for those words on the Internet. The opposite is actually the case. According to a big data report from Ahrefs, over 92% of the more than 1.9 billion keywords in their database receive 10 or fewer searches per month.
This means that the overwhelming majority of keyword searches are for very unpopular keywords. In fact, despite the trillions of searches performed each year, a full 15% of them are queries never before seen.
Granted, there are still millions of keyword terms that get tons of queries like “motorcycles” and “home gym,” but those high-competition keywords are practically impossible to rank for unless you’re a major player.
Let’s illustrate this search demand with a graph, known in the industry as the search demand curve.
Those popular, simple keywords show up at the “fat head” of the search demand curve. What will really move the needle with your SEO efforts, however, is creating content and blog posts using long-tail keywords, which show at the tail end of this curve.
So, as you can see, long-tail keywords get their name because they look like long tails at the end of the search demand curve.
Another Misconception About Long-tail Keywords
What do you think gets more search volume? “Keto diet menu” or “keto diet for beginners”? You might be tempted to think that “keto diet menu” gets more search queries because it’s shorter, but “keto diet for beginners” has more than twice the search volume.
Examples like this show that just because a search query is long or short, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will get less or more search volume.
To really hammer this point home, let’s look at search volumes for a five-word keyword phrase: “bed bath and beyond coupon.”
Compare this to the single word, “widdershins,” which means a direction contrary to the sun’s course. This word gets just a few thousand searches per month.
Over the years, people have gotten savvier in their searches. They’ve learned that the more specific their query, the higher chances they’ll find what they’re looking for. As a result, longer search phrases with specific keywords are becoming increasingly popular, though they may still qualify as long-tail keywords if they’re not getting a lot of search volume.
These search terms and keyphrases can be gold because if you rank for them, then you have basically read the mind of your searcher and can win a customer or fan, increasing your site’s conversion rates.
How to Find Long-tail Keywords
Now that you know you should be using long-tail keywords as part of the SEO strategy for your company, what’s the best way to go about finding the right long-tail keyword opportunities?
Here are seven ways to find winning long-tail keywords:
1. Google Autocomplete
As you type a “head” term into the Google search bar, you’ll get a list of SEO suggestions related to that phrase that will provide you a starting point for keyword ideas.
For example, if you type “keto diet” into the browser, you’ll get a variety of ideas that might qualify as long-tail keywords.
You can even take this one step further by finding long-tail keywords that expand on your additional phrases. For example, if you type “keto diet breakfast ideas” into the search bar, you get even more inspiration.
2. Google’s “People Also Ask”
As people have begun typing entire questions into search bars, Google has begun gathering data to help you get ideas of the questions people are asking related to a search term.
3. Google’s “Searches Related To”
As you scroll to the bottom of the search results page, you’ll also see other related keyword phrases that can inspire you and give you ideas for what you might want to rank for.
4. Google Keyword Planner
There are a lot of keyword research tool options out there, but Google’s is free.
After you enter a phrase, whether it’s a seed keyword or a long-tail keyword, you’ll get a list of hundreds of related keywords to inspire you
Sort by Competition so that you can focus on the phrases with lower search volumes and low competition. Here, we can see that there’s low competition for keyword phrases like “keto at olive garden,” “keto at ihop,” and “keto at kfc.” If your website is about the keto diet, you can attract a lot of search traffic by creating a blog post series about how to eat keto at popular restaurants.
5. Answer the Public
Another powerful free SEO tool is Answer the Public. This tool will give you a wealth of inspiration for questions and long-tail keywords that people are typing into search. You could theoretically create an entire SEO plan using this tool alone.
6. Talk to Your Customers
You can try to get inside your customers’ heads and think about how they might search for your product or service, but the best way to get this information is to ask them directly. What keywords or phrases do they use when searching for your company or describing your product? You might get some insights here that you wouldn’t find otherwise.
7. Visit Online Forums and Communities
Observe online communities and industry forums to see how your target visitors talk. What pain points are they experiencing? What questions do they have? What language do they use? If you don’t know what online communities to join, start with Facebook Groups or Reddit.
How to Open the Traffic Floodgates with Long-tail Keywords
You know by now that long-tail keywords are easier to rank for than a head term with one or two keywords.
The reason for this is two-fold:
- Competition – More people are trying to rank for simple, broad keywords. Plus, these head terms can form the root of several pages, which is also referred to as a parent topic.
For example, the phrase “keto diet” shows 222,000,000 results in Google, making it highly competitive, while “keto at ihop” returns only 600,000 results. Instead of exiling yourself to “no man’s land” in Google’s rankings, it’s a better idea to focus on long-tail keywords that have a more reasonable level of competition.
- Backlinks – Google heavily weighs the number of high-quality backlinks you have pointing to your page when it decides where to place you in the search engine results page.
Again, the big guys with well-established sites and large link building budgets are going to outrank you for head terms almost every time because they’ve been able to collect hundreds, if not thousands, of backlinks for their pages.
Using the seven resources above, find your ideal term and type it into Google. Visit each of the websites that shows up on page one of the search engine. These are the top 10 results for your target keyphrases. Study that content and look for ways you can make it better. Is the information outdated? Incomplete? Not very useful?
Your goal should be to make your blog post or page for that long-tail keyword on your site better than every single piece of content that’s ranking on page one. Accomplish that, and it won’t be long before you’re claiming the top spot for those less competitive keywords.
Is It Worth Your Time?
If this strategy for ranking for long-tail keywords sounds like a lot of work, it is. At first glance, you might be wondering why you’d bother creating an entire page on your website for a search term that gets only a few dozen (if that) monthly searches in the United States.
The most compelling reason is that the people typing these search phrases into Google have a very specific need, and you can be the one to meet it.
For example, gallery walls are becoming increasingly popular in people’s homes, but there are untapped content opportunities. Let’s say you offer custom gallery wall services or provide tutorials about how to create your own gallery wall, you could potentially rank for keywords like “random photo wall” or “pink gallery wall.”
Even if each keyword phrase only gets a handful of clicks per month, you have a high chance of ranking in a top spot in the search engines, capturing website visitors that are very targeted.
Sure, you’ll have to create a lot of pages to rank for each long-tail keyword. But, look at it this way – it’s still less work than trying to compete with thousands (or millions) of websites for a high-volume but generic keyword phrase like “book.”
The Bottom Line
Other than discussing getting data from the first page of Google, we didn’t talk much about how competition plays into your keyword strategy.
If you’re wondering if your competitors are ranking for (or trying to rank) for words related to your target long-tail keywords, take a look at Keyword.com. In addition to getting search volumes for your desired phrases, you can also see if your competitors are also targeting those same or other long-tail keywords, as well what their keyword rankings are. Sign up today for a 7-day free trial.