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Long Tail Keywords - A Summary

Written by Michael Assad on March 26, 2012

This two minute video answers three questions: What are long tail keywords, why should you care, and how can you use them.


What are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keyword searches are searches that have a lot of variety and not a lot of volume. They are usually 2 or more words that narrow a searchers focus down to a specific thing. For example, a high volume search term would be 'fishing'.  A long tail variation would be 'fishing boats for sale in toronto'.
While it may be tempting to optimize your site for the high volume words, Long tail keyword searches account for over 70% of all searches.

According to Bill Tancer from Experian Hitwise, “If search were represented by a tiny lizard and the high volume searches where its head, the long tail of that lizard would stretch for 221 miles.”


Why should I care?

Long tail keywords provide the most cost effective opportunity to drive targeted traffic to your site and translate it to ad impressions, lead generation or sales.

High volume, single-term keywords are almost impossible to rank for because they are so common on the web. It’s better to be ranked on page 1 for 100 searches than to be ranked on page 101 for 1,000,000 searches – people click on the top results.

Long tail keywords are more relevant – people are going to find what they want faster and convert at a higher percentage.  They drive targeted traffic, not volume.

They allow you to diversify – if you get squashed for one keyword because of a search algorithm change, you still have many long tail words to keep driving traffic.

Unlike tradeshows or ad buys, your content lasts forever, collecting links and building authority for your site and business.


How can I use them?

There is an excellent opportunity to drive traffic to your site by optimizing for long tail keywords. Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of work involved. 

To start with, you need to figure out which long tail keywords make sense for your site and business. Then, you need to sort the 'valuable' keywords from the rest.  Valuable keywords are ones that have a decent search volume, but not a lot of competition. This is where the work comes in.

To identify valuable keywords, try free tools like Google Keywords and Google Insights to start. They can give you a sense for what keywords could work for you.  You can dig deeper with paid tools like HubSpot and SEO moz.

Another way to identify long tail keyword opportunities is by looking at your site analytics and see what people are searching for to get to your site. Once you know what people are searching for, you can add content around those terms to draw more traffic in that area and then keep them around with additional content, offers and calls to action.

It's important to include long tail keywords in page titles, headers, alt text and page content. Your content management system should allow you to do this.


HubSpot keyword tool

Google Adwords’ Keyword Estimator

Google Insights for Search

Google Trends Keyword Demand Prediction

Microsoft AdCenter Keyword Forecasting

Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

Keyword Research Tips

Keyword Research Guide

Written by Michael Assad| March 26, 2012
Categories:  How To
Keywords:  SEO CMS SEO Trick


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