Updated April 2018
There’s a lot of talk on the web about long tail keywords and their importance for good SEO practices. But, unless you know how to use long tail keywords properly and how to find them, they won’t be of much use to you.
What are long tail keywords? As the name suggests, these keywords are usually longer than a regular keyword. They’re also much more specific than the terms people generally search for. A general keyword would be “winter coat,” but a long tail keyword will look more like “best winter coats for extreme cold mens” or “best mens winter coats for extreme cold”.
Learning how to identify long tail keywords is simple. General keywords are usually two to three-word phrases which are much more competitive to rank for, while long tail keywords might have four or more words with more adjectives. Long tail keywords are more descriptive and targeted, which make them much more likely to convert as well.
General keywords usually have a much higher search volume but are much more competitive to rank for. The average KC here is “51”, which may be too hard to rank for a non-established site. With Long Tail Pro, you can target keywords within the “sweet spot” of 30 or below, which are easier for newer and non established sites to rank for.
Long tail keywords are more descriptive and usually have a low search volume, but convert better with visitors and are less competitive.
Now, let’s look at how to use long tail keywords to strengthen your SEO game.
Finding Low Competition Long Tail Keywords
Before using any long tail keywords, you need to know how to find them and what you should look for. This process can be tricky for beginners. The most important part of finding the right keywords is to search for ones that have low competition. After all, the benefit of long tail keywords is that they’re more specific than generic, shorter keywords that have been overused.
Using long tail keywords can strengthen your chances of ranking your content, but you must find ones that other websites haven’t targeted much. Imagine someone trying to search for “books for children.”
Notice the search volume is large, but the KC is high, meaning that this keyword is highly competitive.
There will be thousands of competitors because of the search. This is because it is so general that many websites that target children readers will be listed in the search engine results. It’s also very likely that this searcher will browse through the results and determine that they need to be more specific to get what they need.
So, they might try to narrow their search to find what they needs. “short books for kids” or “short children’s books”. Then, an even more specific search of “short story books for kids” to bring up the results that are needed. You’ll have a much easier time ranking for the latter term than you would for “children’s books,” thanks to low competition for that phrase.
Using long tail pro keyword software, we’re able to find low competition long tail keywords that get a decent search volume.
LongTailPro can help you determine the competitiveness of a keyword so that you can learn how to find long tail keywords that your competitors don’t typically target or don’t know how to target. The Keyword Competitiveness (KC) score considers the Page Authority (PA), page title, keywords in domain, and other important factors that can affect the competitiveness of the keywords you want to target.
The KC score that LongTailPro gives can provide you with insight into how difficult it may be for you to rank on Google’s first page for that keyword. Low competition keywords give you an edge over your competition for two main reasons:
- Your competitors aren’t likely targeting that keyword, which gives you a better chance to rank for these long tail keywords.
- You can target a more specific audience interested in your content because your long tail keywords are more specific than broad.
An additional benefit of working with LongTailPro to find your keywords is the tool will give you suggestions for low competition keywords that have your intended search volume. So if you have a keyword idea, LongTailPro can offer hundreds of variations of that keyword as well as new keywords, so you know the best keywords to target.
If you don’t have the LongTailPro tool, this can still be achieved through analyzing search results in Google, but it takes a lot longer to do and you won’t know exactly how competitive the keyword is that you are targeting.
Learn What Your Audience Wants with Long Tail Keywords
You can use all the long tail keywords you want, but if you don’t know what your audience wants to see more of, then learning how to use long tail keywords in your content won’t be of much help. So, let’s dig into this important step a bit.
A business-to-business marketing report put together by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs showed that 44% of B2B marketers aren’t sure how to determine the success of their marketing efforts, and 49% find it difficult to produce engaging content. Unfortunately, these are two of the most important factors in the success of your website and ones that you need to learn to have the edge over your competitors.
Your audience wants to read content that will pull them in and help them in some way. Otherwise, they’ll read something unimportant and easily forgettable. It’s your job to engage and interest them in a way that they’ll want to click on your link to read what you have to say while attracting new readers to your content.
The first step in doing that is to learn what your audience wants more of. What information are they looking for? What information can you provide that they don’t even know they need? That’s what you need to provide.
Here is where it comes in handy for you to know how to search for trending topics in your industry. You can find this information by spending some time researching your competitors on social media. What Facebook posts get a lot of reactions, comments, and shares? What Tweets get re-tweeted or liked the most? The most talked-about topics your industry competitors share are the ones you want to target.
There are a few online tools that can help you with this, too. BuzzSumo can help you find trending articles from other websites in your industry. Google Trends can also show you what content people are searching the most for on Google.
LongTailPro can set you on the right path, too. Use a seed keyword related to your industry. If it’s gardening, type in something like “gardening tips.” To find long tail keywords to use in place of this seed keyword, you can sort your results by their word counts, showing the longest keywords at the top.
Generally more specific keywords are better to target because they let you know the reader’s search intent. Meaning you know exactly what type of content the reader is looking for. A general keyword like “gardening tips” doesn’t let you know what types of tips a reader wants, but a more specific term like “container vegetable gardening”.
Optimize Your Articles with Long Tail Keywords
The process of using long tail keywords starts with learning how to find those with low competition and those that will pull in the perfect audience for you. But, then you have the task of learning what to do with the keywords you find so that they target that audience effectively. This step is where proper article optimization comes in.
A 2016 study by Clickstream and Backlinko showed that the more words a blog post had, the higher rank it would have in Google. Pages with closer to 2,000 words of content tend to rank higher than those with lower amounts, and the average #1 result is 1890 words. It’s no secret that long-form content is overruling short-term content on the web. Why? Simply, most people looking for information want in-depth information to help their problem, so long as it’s organized in a way that’s easily scannable and readable.
The length of your content isn’t the only piece of the puzzle, though. It’s more important than ever to have content that plays by the following rules:
- Contains at least one image
- Has optimized images with alt tags and relevant titles and descriptions
- Loads fast
- Covers the topic in-depth, offering plenty of new and helpful information
- Has a keyword density of 1% or less
- Links to 3 to 5 high-authority, relevant sources
- Has internal links to relevant content
Following these steps can help you rank your content. But, you also need to use your long tail keywords properly within your content so that you have a better chance to rank.
First, be sure to use your main keyword in your SEO title, preferably toward the beginning, in your introductory paragraph and in at least one heading within your content. Then, you can sprinkle your secondary keywords throughout your content. It’s also a good idea to use one of your keywords in your meta description.
Your optimized content can show search engines that you mean business and can show your audience that you have the best information for them based on what they’re searching. Make your content highly relevant to your long tail keywords and pack in useful information to keep your visitors there.
Putting It All Together
Long tail keywords are extremely helpful when developing content for your site, because they are much easier to rank for than general keywords. In addition, they have the added benefit of helping you cater your content more to your reader. You should be using your long tail keywords throughout your content to show that your content is relevant to your reader and so that your content can rank more easily in search engines. If you really want a systematic way to conduct your research, try out the LongTailPro tool for 7 days for free.