How to find long tail keywords
Keywords have long been an integral part of SEO strategies, but did you know that you could actually be producing more valuable results by targeting long tail keywords? Over the last couple of years, people’s keyword searches have shifted towards being more long tail in nature. One of the main reasons for this being that natural language search is becoming more widely used with more and more people now using the voice command functions on their mobile phones to speak their searches.
Whilst optimising your website with long tail keywords can be incredibly beneficial, identifying the right long tail keywords can be a difficult task. Here we will explain what long tail keywords are, how they can benefit your SEO strategy and how to go about finding the right long tail keywords to target.
What are long tail keywords?
Before we get into why long tail keywords are so important, let’s first identify what exactly a long tail keyword is. Basically it is classed as anything that is over three words in length. So whilst ‘web design’ would be classed as a short keyword search, ‘responsive web design for retail site’ would be classed as a long tail keyword search.
Long tail keyword searches usually have a much lower search volume than traditional keywords, however don’t let this fool you into thinking they cannot produce great results. As we have explained below, long tail keywords may be just what you need to give your organic SEO strategy and PPC campaigns a long-term boost.
Targeting long tail keywords can help you to improve your conversion rates.
Benefits of long tail keywords
One of the main benefits of long tail keyword searches is that they are more specific than generic keyword searches. Using them will allow you to tailor your PPC ads to better match searchers’ needs. Targeting long tail keywords is likely to increase the quality score of your PPC ads, resulting in a higher click through rate and less wastage of money spent through irrelevant searches.
Targeting searchers who are ready to buy
People making long tail keyword searches are more often than not further along in the buying process. They are usually more willing and ready to make a purchase than those carrying out generic searches, so by targeting long tail keywords you will ultimately see an increase in your conversion rates.
Lower cost per acquisition
It is also worth keeping in mind that long tail keywords have less competition than generic keywords, resulting in a lower cost per click. Put this together with the fact that long tail keywords have a higher click through rate and conversion rates and you will see that they have a lower cost per acquisition, making them extremely profitable.
Watch the video below to find out how the SEO landscape has changed and why long tail keywords are now an integral part of businesses’ search engine optimisation strategies.
Tools for finding relevant long tail keywords
If you are ready to start finding long tail keywords for your website, you will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of free and paid professional tools to give you a helping hand. These include:
Google Keyword Tool
WordStream Keyword Tool
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Trends is great for determining the most popular searches. Simply type in your target keywords, click the magnifying glass and it will show you the popularity of related searches over the years.
Soovle.com is an interesting example that pulls in data from a selection of sources.
Although Google Analytics will not provide all of the keyword searches used by people to find your website, the ones they do provide may prove to be valuable long tail keywords.
If you want to find out what keywords users are already using to get to your website, we recommend checking out your Google Analytics reports. Go to Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic and you will see a list of the keywords people have used to land on your website. If there are some long tail keywords in their that you don’t have pages of content for on your website, you may want to consider creating them to increase your traffic and conversion rates.
The Google Keyword Tool will help you to come up with variations on your long tail keywords and also provides information on their average monthly searches and estimates their cost per click.
Webmasters that are currently running Google Adwords PPC campaigns should use their Search Query Report data to identify potentially profitable long tail keywords. The report will show you which queries drove people to click on your PPC ads. Rather than just showing you which keywords drove the most traffic, the report will be able to tell you which keywords generated the most conversions. High converting long tail keywords are most definitely worth targeting.
The suggestions that Google provides when you make a search query may help you come up with a number of potential long tail keywords to target.
Head on over to Google and start typing and you will see that a drop down box appears with auto-suggestions. These auto-suggestions are great for using to get a good idea of the popular long tail keyword searches that users actually make. Of course you won’t want to use them all, but there’s bound to be some hidden gems in there that you haven’t thought of yourself.
Google Related Searches
We also recommend typing your keywords into Google and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under the last organic result you will find a list of related searches. Again, these can be used to give you an idea of the popular long tail keyword searches people are making. You may even find that Google has suggested searches in relation to your geographical location. These long tail keywords may be great for driving local customers through to your website.
Use the related searches that Google suggests to find potential long tail keywords for you to target in your SEO campaign.
The more keyword tools you use to do your research, the more long tail keywords you are likely to find. Do your best to find keywords that your competition hasn’t even thought of, as this will help you to steal some of their traffic!
Analyse your competitors’ keywords
Part of your long tail keyword research should involve finding out what keywords your competitors are using. Doing this will make your job of identifying long tail keywords for your SEO strategy much easier. The best way to find out the keywords they are optimising is to check out their meta tags (view their page source codes) and use keyword density checking tools to scan their website and blog content. You can also see what keywords they are using in their page titles and snippets, as these are likely to be long tail.
View comment threads and forums
Many webmasters overlook the potential of comment threads and forums for finding long tail keywords, but often you will find these are the places where people leave queries that you could answer within your content. More often than not the questions they ask will be questions that people type into Google.
Take a look at relevant comment threads and forums and find out what people are asking in relation to your area of expertise. You can then go onto use these questions as long tail keyword searches and answer them within your content to drive traffic levels and conversions.
What to do when you have identified relevant long tail keywords
When you have come up with a list of potential long tail keywords for your website, head over to Google’s Keyword Tool. There you will be able to type in your keywords and find sets of related keywords and variations for you to include in your content. The keyword tool will also share data on the long tail keywords, such as their search volume, competition and average cost per click, all of which will prove valuable in determining how profitable a particular long tail keyword is likely to be.
It is worth keeping in mind that it is much more difficult to go by the numbers for long tail keywords than it is for generic or short keywords. Often you will find they have little to no search volume according to keyword tools. However, you shouldn’t let this put you off using them. Whilst long tail keyword research can be a bit of a guessing game, your efforts will pay off in the form of increased traffic and conversion rates.
The best way to go about it is to trust your instincts by creating interesting and relevant content featuring long tail keywords that address the potential queries and concerns your target audience may have.
For more information on how to use the Google Keyword Tool to evaluate long tail keywords, check out the quick video guide below.
Implementing long tail keywords in your website content
Once you have found long tail keywords to target, you will need to implement them into your website content and PPC ads as naturally as possible. Long tail keywords can be used in page content, blog articles, meta descriptions and titles. You can find out more information on meta descriptions best practices here.
It is important not to over-stuff your website content with long tail keywords, as this will make your pages look like spam to both search engines and users and may have a negative effect on your search results rankings rather than a positive one.
Keep in mind that long tail keywords will often be grammatically incorrect, so you may not be able to use all of them in your content as they are. Instead you will have to find ways to modify the long tail keywords so that they are grammatically correct, whilst still keeping them as much intact as you possibly can.
If you need a little guidance on how to incorporate long tail keywords into your website content, we suggest checking out how other websites do it. Great examples of well-optimised long tail keywords can usually be found on Wikipedia pages. You will often find that Wiki page creators have used long tail keywords as their category headers and section titles.
Is it worth using long tail keywords ?
Many people fail to see the benefit of pursuing long tail keywords as they usually have a much lower search volume than shorter and more generic terms. However by doing this, they miss out on the chance to develop a better and more profitable long term SEO strategy for their business website.
Using long tail keywords in your SEO strategy will not only help you to rank higher in searches, thus driving more traffic through to your website, but it will also help you to increase your website conversion rates. As we mentioned before, those typing in specific long tail keywords into search engines like Google tend to have a better idea of the product or service they are after and are therefore more likely to convert into a paying customer.
As with other SEO methods like link building (find out how to link build here) you cannot expect to see results from optimising your site with long tail keywords over night. Using long tail keywords to drive traffic and improve conversion rates is a long-term commitment that should be treated as an investment.
With enough time, effort and consistency, your long tail keyword research strategy will pay off and produce profitable results for your business that far exceed those produced by the generic keywords you used in the past.