If you know a little bit about SEO, you’ve probably heard about short and long tail keywords. For many business owners, the concept of long tail keywords is off-putting or confusing. But long tail keywords can help your business get found in search engines. This post will explain the definition of long tail keywords, provide examples, and explain how your business can use them.
Long tail keywords are keywords which are longer and more specific than standard ones. They are known as “point of sale” keywords, because a customer is more likely to use them the closer they are to purchasing. If someone is shopping for a new rug, for example, they will initially start their search out with keywords such as “buy rugs,” or “online rug shop”.
As the customer conducts more research, and narrows down the type of rug they want to buy, their keywords become more specific and long tail. For example, instead of searching for “online rug shop” a customer might Google the keywords “black diamond patterned rug,” or “green recycled jute rug.” If you are a company that sells rugs, your pages will likely never see the light of day in an organic engine search of “rugs,” or “buy rugs.” But if your pages feature more specific, long tail keywords, you’ll end up attracting consumers looking for exactly your product.
In other words, when used effectively, long tail keywords are an excellent marketing tool, bringing in more targeted, highly-valuable customers to your business. Though you will draw less traffic with long tail search terms than you would with short tail keywords, the traffic you do get will be of far superior quality.
What is a long tail keyword, literally speaking, and why is it called “long tail”? The “long tail” part of “long tail keyword” comes from a visual representation of the shape of the distribution graph when it comes to page views.
If you were to graph of keyword popularity across the web, you would get something similar to the below graph. The high part of the graph represents common keywords (such as “rugs” or “buy rugs”). But though this high part of the graph may appear the most efficient, it only accounts for a small percentage of all searches, approximately 10 to 15 percent. The other 75 percent of page views are the result of long-tail keyword phrases. The tail is in fact the most valuable part of this graph because you will continue to get traffic over time.
Key to the successful use of long-tailed keywords is finding the right keywords. Long tail search terms are rife with competition. It is essential that you conduct a thorough and informed long tail search for words that meet your unique needs.
How does one conduct a long tail search? Thankfully, the process is free, and will only cost you effort. A long tail keyword search can be conducted through the Google Adwords, which is Google’s new version of the old keyword research tool. Another way to find long tail keywords is by checking your search queries. For more information, check out this step by step guide to long tail keyword search methods.
Once you have conducted your research and have a list of relevant long tail keyword phrases, you need to generate content with them, or incorporate them into your current content. While optimizing, or incorporating new keywords into existing content, is a perfectly legitimate method of getting website traffic, it’s important to also generate new content. New content means more pages are available to be found. More pages = more traffic.
When generating new content around a keyword, make sure that the content is relevant to the keyword. Never try to sneakily slip in unrelated keywords into an article or blog post. This considered a “black hat” SEO technique and can get you into trouble. Also avoid “keyword stuffing”—using a certain keyword or phrase too many times. Keyword stuffing will not only annoy your readers who feel like they’re being spammed, but may also get your website flagged and penalized by Google.
So what’s the ideal keyword density? Unfortunately, there is no magic percentage. Most experts recommend somewhere between 2-4% or 3-5%. But not everyone agrees. What everyone does agree on is the importance of using keywords as naturally as possible. What does that mean? It means your article should flow well, and read easily. Your keywords should be frequent enough to be picked up by search engines, but should be barely noticeable to the common reader.
Keyword density is the number of times you use a keyword in a given piece of content. How do you calculate the keyword density? Most people use a variation of formulas, the most common of which is the following: (Number of Keywords/ Total number of keywords) *100
Alternatively, you can simply copy and paste your article into a keyword counter website, such as Live Keyword Analysis to calculate the density.
Long tail keywords are typically two to five words long. Most fall somewhere in the three to four word range. It is key to remember that many long tail keywords are not necessarily grammatically or syntactically correct. This is because syntax, grammar, and “flow” is not as important to search engines as it is to content. Just consider what you would type into Google if you were looking for, say, a decently-priced plumber in your area. You might type something like “plumber Scottsdale Arizona” or “cheapest plumbers Scottsdale.”
Neither of these key phrases make perfect grammatical sense. Yet, they serve their purpose. You’ll have to find creative ways to slightly modify such key phrases so that they fit snugly into your content.
If you need more content advice, ThriveHive has you covered. Whether you’re looking for things to blog about or need some tips and techniques to overcome writer’s block, we have the expert tips to help you get the ball rolling. Remember: starting is always the hardest. Once you start regularly writing and researching long tail keywords, you’ll find the whole process will begin to come naturally to you, and you’ll see those page hits flow in!