How to Use a Long Tail Keyword Strategy to Drive More Targeted Traffic

Written by Devin Sizemore

May 15, 2018

The secret’s out: Keywords drive the success of every digital marketing strategy.

Link building, PPC campaigns, blogging — all these require a set of well-targeted keywords to be capable of profitable results.

Unfortunately, a lot of brands take it upon themselves to conduct some semblance of “keyword research” without the input of an experienced marketer. As a result, they often boot up a free tool like AdWords Keyword Planner, grab the most popular keyword ideas, and call it a day.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using a time-tested tool like the AdWords Keyword Planner. But if you know a thing or two about proper keyword research, you’ll know that going for keyword popularity alone is one of the worst things you can do.

To further understand this, we need to take a closer look at how keywords work.

Why Broad and Popular Keywords are Bad News

In search engines, keywords serve a simple yet crucial purpose: to help users find exactly what they’re looking for.

For example, if users want to learn about website design, all they need to do is type “website design” on Google and let the search engine come up with the best content that matches their query.

By manually tracking the keyword “website design” on Long Tail Pro, we can conclude that around 49,500 people search for it on a monthly basis:

Website Design keywordIf you’re a marketer, getting the word out to as many people as possible is a great goal to have, correct? Does that mean you should target the keyword “website design” since it’s used by a whopping 49,500 users a month?

That’s not the best idea.

It doesn’t matter if a keyword garners tens of thousands of searches a month. Chances are, there are already countless other brands competing for the attention of those users.

Let’s revisit the example above. In case you missed it, the keyword “website design” actually yields around 177,000,000 results. You can find this out, just by typing the keyword into Google and looking at the search results.

Website Design Search ResultClawing your way to the top? It would probably take a while to do.

Remember, broad and popular keywords may also pit you against big-name brands with very deep pockets, like Adobe’s and Forbes in the example above.

Unless you can match the resources that these brands pour into their marketing, there’s no way for you to compete with them for visibility on popular keywords – let alone outrank them in search engine results.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just sit back and let bigger companies have all the fun. What you need to do is to look for long tail keywords that lead to pockets of opportunity to rank and be visible to your target audience.

What are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords, in a nutshell, are keywords that contain three or more terms derived from broad search phrases.

“Website design,” for example, can be expanded to the long tail keyword “affordable web design services.”

You may be thinking, “If long tail keywords are longer and more specific, does that mean they’re searched less than broad and popular keywords?”

Indeed, but if you think about it, that’s actually not a bad thing. Here are three of the main reasons why:

  • Less Competition
    This one should be rather self-explanatory. Less popular means fewer competitors – thus, making it easier for you to stand out and rank highly in search engines.
  • Attract Qualified Leads
    Long tail keywords, particularly those containing commercial and question-based terms, are normally used by people who are interested in taking action. These are users who are more likely to convert into subscribers, followers, or paying customers.
  • Develop More Engaging Content
    Researching long tail keywords will give you clear, in-demand content ideas that are guaranteed to get your target audience’s attention. Starting with a broad keyword, on the other hand, will involve a lot of research and some guesswork.

Most importantly, long tail keywords are actually more aligned to how users search online. They may not get as much traffic as popular keywords individually, but collectively, they actually account for 70% of all online searches.

Long Tail Pro GraphLooking for Long Tail Keywords

As amazing as long tail keywords are in terms of benefits, not all of them are made equal.

You still need to pay attention to certain factors that affect their overall profitability, starting with the user intent behind their usage.

For example, suppose you’re a web designer who needs keywords that can help you pull in potential clients. Using Long Tail Pro, let’s generate long tail keyword suggestions for the keyword, “web design.”

In the results page, we can come across the following long tail keyword suggestions:

Low Keyword WebsiteJudging by the KC (keyword competitiveness), none of these are as competitive as website design. And some of them are location specific which allows you to target your local customers who may prefer a face to face meeting.

If you want to be more global in your approach, you can target more competitive keywords.

Here are keywords related to “website design” when you use the long tail pro filter to include keywords with the word “services”:

Website Design services Google ResultIf you’d like to go with the approach of targeting keywords that will attract prospects in your specific area and avoid sifting through all the location results, you can also use your location to create a new filter.

Website Design Los Angelos ResultAt the end of the day, it’s about finding long tail keywords used in transactional search queries. These are searches done by users when they’re just about ready for any form of online transaction – from making a purchase to signing up to a newsletter.

Key Takeaways

Let’s face it, most profitable niches nowadays are highly saturated. If you pin your hopes on popular, catch-all keywords, then it’ll be extremely difficult to get a fair slice of the market.

Long tail keywords offer a very feasible workaround. By utilizing them, they can:

  • Help you gain higher rankings in search engine results
  • Maximize your visibility to qualified leads
  • Unearth content ideas that your target audience wants
  • Help you save thousands of dollars from broad keywords that won’t lead to conversions

Don’t just read about long tail keywords – go out there and dig for them yourself. If you want, you can take advantage of Long Tail Pro’s 7-day free trial and find long tail keywords today.

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  1. Joe

    I’ve been using Long Tail Pro for about six months now and I love how quick I’m able to find low competition keywords. Thanks for sharing the additional tips.

  2. kashifer

    I am just a new guy for seo gigs and stuff. Just have been looking around for good keyword research tool to give me better understanding on how to generate more powerful keywords to boost my site ranking. Obviously i need some strong contents as well to make my audience more sticking to my site. I will be using LongTrailPro for seven days to see if it can help me generate some business airport limo service Hicksville ny for instance how can i use this keywork which is already long enough to add anything inside? any idea

  3. Alan Young

    Awesome article, I always used to think going for more broad was better. How clueless was I? I love using Long Tail Pro, it’s soo easy to use and it’s very good at finding great low competition keywords to go after. Glad I found this tool 🙂

  4. Serge

    Thank you very much for this article on the long traine.


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