Why Are Long Tail Keywords So Important?

Written by Devin Sizemore

February 28, 2012

What are Long Tail Keywords?

So, what’s the big deal with “Long Tail” keywords anyway?

You may have heard about long tail keywords before, but never really grasped what that meant (I know I didn’t for a long time).

Essentially Long Tail keywords are those terms that only get a small volume of search traffic, but in aggregate can add up to a HUGE amount.
If you look at this image it might help visualize what Long Tail Keywords are:

You will see that the “tail” of the curve is where the lower search volume keywords reside. Even though these keywords get a lower amount of search traffic, they have the advantage of also being very low competition

So, to rank for these “long tail” keywords is MUCH easier than trying to rank for a large “head” term.

But if its such low volume, why would you want to rank for it?

Well, Chris Anderson who wrote, “The Long Tail” for Wired Magazine back in 2006 essentially said that the future is not in the megahits (think 1 big keyword) but in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end (think lots of little long tail keywords).

In fact, it has been shown time and time again that the millions of small long tail keywords actually get MUCH more search traffic overall than the few big keywords at the top!

So, these small little keywords actually provide a couple of distinct advantages over trying to rank for 1 big search term.

First, they are much less-competitive.

Second, they actually get more search traffic in aggregate.

So, instead of spending years trying to target and rank for 1 big search term for your website, the smarter strategy is to find several “long tail” keywords that are very easy to rank for.

Find the right combination of keywords, and you will have just as much traffic flowing to your website as you would have had with 1 large keyword.

This is why doing keyword research is so vitally important to your online business. If you choose keywords that are too difficult, you will never rank because the competition is just too fierce in Google and other search engines.

But if you do your keyword research properly up front and choose to provide content around those terms, then you can find your website ranking much quicker and easier for the long tail phrases.

The Benefits of Long Tail Keywords

Most don’t realize it, but long tail keywords are the ultimate secret weapon for maximizing your return on investment. You can rank higher and quicker in the search engine results pages just by focusing in on a set of long tail keywords. Some kinds of long tail keywords also convert better than regular keywords, because they’re much more specific and focused than short tail keywords.

  • Benefit #1: Lower Competition

In the internet marketing space, many ‘SEO Gurus’ exaggerate the importance of keyword volume and downplay the difficulty of ranking for high volume search terms. By using keywords that are super-relevant to your niche and with less competition, you’ll rank faster and stick on the top of the SERPs for longer by targeting the long tail.

  • Benefit #2: Higher Click Through & Conversion Rates

Would you rather have 100 people walk into your store and have 10 people actually purchase something, or would you rather have 1000 people walk into your store but only have 5 people actually buy something?

Honing in on the right long tail keywords may lead to only a small increase in traffic, but the conversion rates on that traffic should be higher than if you targeted a higher volume search term. Here’s an example:

If a user is searching for “life jacket” – he could be looking for information about life jackets, or he could be doing research on what life jacket is the best, or he could be looking for a place to sell his used life jackets – the user intent is unclear.

On the other hand, if a user is searching for “best children’s life jacket for sailing” – his user intent is very clear. It’d probably be exponentially easier for you to rank for a long tail term like this, and while your visitors would only grow by a little, the conversion rates on this long tail keyword would be much better than for the term “life jacket”.

That’s not to say that it’s worse to rank for “life jacket” – the lower conversion rate would probably be more than offset by the sheer traffic advantage of this short tail keyword. However, when you take into account the fact that it would take much more time, money, and effort to rank for the short tail keyword, it probably makes sense to focus on the long tail first.

Embracing Long Tail Marketing

With all types of keywords it all boils down to one simple marketing concept:

“Low volume traffic that converts is more effective than high volume traffic does not convert”

Think about it. You can have all the traffic in the world but, if you are not converting that traffic into sales, you’re not really making any money. Having millions of visitors sounds cool, but they are meaningless if visitors aren’t converting. It is very possible for sites with a few thousand visitors to financially outperform high traffic sites because their visitors convert.

Get Results with a Long Tail Strategy & Plan

  1. Research: Every solid marketing campaign begins with in-depth long tail keyword research that reflects the purpose of your site. You will want to use general keywords and then narrow down more specific long tail keywords.
  2. Competitive Analysis: Analyzing and understanding what is the long tail keyword benefits lays to foundation to developing a successful marketing strategy. Taking the effort and time to identify the least competitive keywords for your niche will give you a headstart on ranking well in the search engines.
  3. Quality Content: Having quality long tail content gives you the opportunity to optimize your website and drive traffic to it. Continuously maintaining a high standard for the content on your site will also improve the chances of ranking in Google and driving business to your website. While keywords are important, make sure you are writing for the audience and not the search engines. While it is important to include keywords in your articles, it is important to not overdo it.

Using a Long Tail Keyword Tool & Finding Long Tail Keyword Phrases

Many people will jump right into Google’s keyword tool conduct a long tail search for the perfect keywords. This is a flawed system because they give the same keywords to everyone. Using Google’s keyword planner is a good first step, but there are other places where you can try and find long tail keywords and phrases.

  • Search Tool #1: Google’s “Searches Related To…

One great way to find keywords that will work for you is to go to the bottom of the search results page and look for the “searches related to,” section. This section can be an ideal goldmine to find keywords that are closely related to your main keyword and due to their dynamic nature, you will find less competitive long tail keywords.

  • Search Tool #2: UberSuggest

UberSuggest has an excellent tool available on its homepage that generates a lot of great keyword suggestions. It is free and simple to use. It is also effective. Here you can find thousands of relevant keywords that will benefit your site. The best thing about UberSuggest is that it caters to those who are beginners for long tail SEO and allows you to find excellent long-tailed keywords.

  • Search Tool #3: What is Trending on Twitter Today

It might seem like only teenagers and celebrities post on twitter, but the truth is millions, maybe even billions of people use Twitter. Many business executives use twitter to promote their ideas and even the President has an official twitter account. It is hard to ignore the benefits of using twitter to find long tail keyword phrases that will draw in traffic.

  • Search Tool #4: Google Trends

Google trends is a great way to find long tail keywords that aren’t competitive now in niches that are growing rapidly. A good example of this is the drone market – a few years ago, long tail keywords in the drone niche would have had virtually no search traffic, but as the niche in general as grown, the long tail keywords all get a lift and entirely new search phrases start popping up as well.

Long Tail Keyword Examples

Using a long tail keyword research tool can lead you to some great keywords. For instance, if your general keyword is “women’s health,” it can be further refined into, “women’s health questions.” From there you can dig even deeper and find great long tail keywords such as, “women’s health questions over 50,” “women’s health questions to ask your doctor,” and “pregnancy issues in first trimester.” Then, you can determine if these long tail keywords are worth being pursued or not.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or seasoned internet marketer, the importance of long tail keywords is undeniable. Long tail keywords have less competition, rank easier, and convert usually convert better. Writing content based on your long tail keywords with your niche market in mind is what will drive your success.

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  1. Takeia Redden

    Hi Spencer, i think. This whole keywords search is a great thing. Im trying to develop a online shopping boutique but im haveing the hardest time coming up with keywords. Do u think u can help me out???
    Please in Thank you

    • Spencer

      Go ahead and file a support ticket and we’ll see what we can do. longtailpro.com/support.

      • Aaron Perkins

        Spencer! Hey, you’re the reason I quit my job and decided to focus my full attention on web development and I can’t thank you enough!

        • Spencer

          That’s great to hear Aaron! I hope your business does well!

      • Victor

        Spencer, it’s “your business” not “you’re business”.

        • Team LTP

          Nice catch Victor 🙂

  2. Zierra

    I think it’s also important to note how targeted those keywords are going to be. You’re much more likely to convert for, “p90x beach body workout” than, “workout videos.”
    Another great reason to target long tail keywords 🙂

  3. Angela

    What constitutes low traffic in your experience and opinion? What is a good range worth going for?


    • Spencer

      1,000 Exact match searches if its your primary keyword or more. For secondary articles, the search volume can be much less, like under 200 per month. Depends on the quantity of articles that you plan to put on your site.

      • Angela

        I see, awesome, thanks Spencer! That really helps me a lot.


    I am actually doing a trial run of Longtail Pro and I must say I am very impressed thus far. This article actually was very enlightening as I had been trying really hard to rank for higher competition keywords as opposed to doing the research and combining smaller long tail keywords. Looking forward to seeing some better results.

  5. Cali

    Hi Spencer,

    I downloaded the 10 days trial version but, it is not working for me. How do I install it? The file’s name is in .air format and I do not see a .exe format for me to set it up. I am running on Windows 8..

    Thank you.

    • Spencer

      You need to have adobe air installed first. You can get it free here: http://get.adobe.com/air/. If you are still having issues, please contact support at longtailpro.com/support

  6. Rahul

    Hi Spencer !

    The visual is awesome. It has clarified how long tail keywords can be very beneficial in aggregate. Keyword research is very crucial for success of almost any online media. Have just started using Long Tail Pro, quite excited after first day of using it. Got a handful of ideas and keywords.

    Will highly recommend it to everyone. I’m also looking to write a review on my blog very soon depending upon my personal experience.

    Thanks !

  7. Shekhar

    Hi Spencer

    A well informed Graphic .

    Lot of Buzz in the market about, LTP , I am starting the Trial period, Hope to get the best out of the same in next 9 or 10 days left in my account.

    Keep the great work going.

    Take CAre

  8. Will

    The paragraph below the graph has the end of its last sentence cut off.

    Also, I’m a freelance writer and copywriter in case you’d like anyone to read over these blog posts. Click my name for more info.

    Also, this is the 2nd day of my trial version. I love it so far. Seriously considering buying platinum.

  9. CY

    Hi, im currently planning to run an online business locally , please tell me what should i do so that my online store can be easily approach to targetted ppl 🙂
    Hope to hear from you soon, thanks !

  10. Girish

    Downloaded the free trial yesterday. Looking good so far from what I can see.
    Thanks a lot!

    • Ankit

      Hi Spencer,
      I am totally appreciate with that long tail keyword is beneficial and it is the key to get success in Blogging. I am also planning to start long keyword blog

    • Ankit

      Hi Spencer,
      I am totally appreciate with that long tail keyword is beneficial and it is the key to get success in Blogging. I am also planning to start long keyword blog.

      Thanks for Sharing

  11. Kim

    Thanks Spencer, great article. Is there any difference in how long time it will take to rank on Google if you primarly focus on LTK’s and not on high volume KW’s? Or is it like you need to be found for your competitive KW and the LTK will be found over time? Currently testing Longtailpro.

  12. Silviya Howe

    I am very impressed thus far, 2nd day of my trial version. I love it so far. Seriously considering buying platinum. It will help me ranking well my camping website

    • Spencer

      Thank you Silviya. Camping and outdoor sites in general are great niches to be in.

  13. Mitch Stevens

    Hi Spencer, I just bought your product. Great resource!
    In this article your point is that utilizing many long tail keywords will bolster the aggregate as far as SEO is concerned. Does this mean I would require a blog post for every LTK? Or some posts and include LTK’s in my on page SEO or secondary keywords on the post?
    Please clarify. Thanks.

    • Jake

      Hi Mitch, it’s Jake from LTP here. Targeting more than one keyword with a post makes a lot of sense sometimes. You can do this by having a ‘secondary’ keyword (maybe one with very low search volume) as a subheader in your article, which is maybe focused primarily on a related keyword. We have many articles that rank well for multiple keywords by taking this approach.

  14. Gabriele Tassara

    Hi Spencer,
    Amazing stuff here! I’m testing Longtailpro and i’m amazed about how much time i’m saving in keyword analysis, plus i’m targeting that 70% of traffic which i can really rank for! May i ask you some best practice for long tail targeting for b2b niches? I just took a new customer which has developed an email marketing software that is pretty cool, but it’s also expensive. Out there you can find tons of great email marketing platforms (such as mailchimp). How could i find long tail keywords for a more b2b high price target?

    Many thanks

  15. Sanez

    great article


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