Long-Tail Keywords: How Тo Use Long-Tail SEO (2024)

SEO
Long-Tail Keywords: How Тo Use Long-Tail SEO (2024)
Article by Szabolcs Szecsei
Last Updated: July 08, 2024

Search engine optimization (SEO) often seems like the nuclear physics of digital marketing for business owners, not understanding how loading speed, interface design, and optimized metatags can work together to improve search engine rankings. However, even if all of that is covered, poorly optimized content can tank all your efforts.

In this article, we asked for the help of our SEO experts to shed more light on keyword research, and more specifically, long-tail SEO, to help business owners better understand the benefits of this less challenging aspect of search optimization.

What Is Long-Tail SEO?

Long-tail SEO or long-tail keyword research is a technique used by optimization experts to generate qualified organic website traffic. As the name suggests, the strategy focuses on long-tail keywords — search phrases that are at least three words or longer.

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What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords usually have a lower search volume, cost-per-click (CPC), and less competition. In addition, content optimized for long-tail keywords usually caters to more specific audiences and niche topics. In comparison, short-tail keywords usually consist of one or two words and target a broader search intent.

But where did the name "long-tail" come from? If you put both short- and long-tail keywords on a graph, long-tail keywords would look like the graph’s ’tail-end’ because of their low search volume. This makes them look like an actual tail, especially when compared to short-tail keywords with high search volume.

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Source: HeyTony

Long-Tail Keyword Examples

Let’s say that you are conducting a Google search and enter the phrase "nonprofit organizations." Chances are, different results in the SERPs will probably come up with definitions, business advice on how to start a charity organization, or how to start working with one.

Then, if you enter a phrase like "TikTok SEO," you’ll see several guides on getting started with optimization for the platform, other related blog posts, or maybe a few agencies that offer optimization for the social media channel.

Both examples are short-tail keywords. How can you turn them into long-tails? It all comes down to targeting more specific intent. Consider adding just one word to each, like "helping nonprofit organizations" and "TikTok SEO agencies," which are now long-tail keywords that include much clearer search intent, enabling Google to provide more precise results.

The Benefits of Long-Tail SEO

For starters, experts estimate that around 70% of search traffic on the internet originates from long-tail keywords. Simply put, if you are not using this strategy, you are missing out on a massive chunk of potential traffic from your target audience. Let’s see what else long-tail SEO can bring to the table.

Reach Your Audience Faster

Long-tail keywords focus on specific motivation and intent behind every query. This means that you can reach your audience faster because they are already looking for what you want to show them.

For instance, let’s take the phrase "air conditioner." This short-tail keyword can have several intentions behind it, including types of AC units, where to buy an AC unit, maintenance tips, average prices, components, and so on.

However, if you type in "types of hvac systems," you show that you have a specific goal behind your search, and the SERPs will align with the intent, showing blogs, videos, and even product pages of different AC unit types.

Long-tail keywords help align your business objectives with search intent and drive qualified traffic to your website.

Boost Conversion Rates

We’ve just talked about how long-tail keywords can direct qualified traffic, i.e., potential leads to your site. In fact, if you include long-tail keywords in your strategy and nail your users’ search intent, you increase your chances of converting visitors by 35%. You want to optimize your website for relevant search terms to rank and compete for the keywords that generate the most value for your website.

Lower Search Competition

Keywords with multiple meanings and different intents will typically have more competition, which will make it harder for websites to compete for that keyword, often trying to drive traffic without any luck.

On the other hand, long-tail keywords will have more specific search intent, lower search volume, and will be less competitive. What’s even better, you may have a few overlapping terms with your competition, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experiment with different phrase variations that they aren’t trying to rank for, enabling you to improve your placement in the SERPs.

Also, when you use only short-tail keywords, you may run the risk of competing not just with your direct competition, but other companies too. Take the word "fencing," which can mean both the sport and the railings around your home; would you really want to challenge someone with a sword as you’re trying promote your landscaping business?

Decrease Digital Marketing Costs

Jokes aside, short-tail keywords can also present a significant investment because the huge competition and the high search volume mean that many other businesses are trying to rank for the same keyword. This means you will have to invest a significant amount of time and money to rank high and keep that position.

Long-tail SEO, on the other hand, can help you lower investment costs, as your SEO agency will have to work with less competition, making the optimization and maintenance of your rankings easier. With long-tail keywords, you can invest more time (and potentially less money) in keywords with higher conversion rates, translating into a better return on investment (ROI).

Better Strategy Adaptation to User Trends

Long-tail keyword strategies can also help you adapt to newer user trends like voice search, where searchers will naturally use long-tail queries, like looking for the nearest ATM or convenience store. If you embrace a short-tail-only strategy, you will miss out on these users.

On that note, 27% of mobile users use the voice search feature on their phones, and according to data, around 80% of all local mobile searches convert.

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Implementing a Long-Tail SEO Strategy in Four Easy Steps

As mentioned above, a long-tail keyword strategy offers you a smarter focus, as you are optimizing your website for phrases that offer the most value to your website. For example, if you run an air conditioning business in Miami, you may target the following phrases:

  • AC maintenance Miami
  • Emergency AC repair Miami
  • How often should you change AC filters?
  • How often should you inspect the AC duct system?

These phrases have several user intents. The first and the second are transactional and target immediate services in Miami, while the other two are informational. As you can see, long-tail strategies don’t only focus on optimizing your breadwinner pages but enrich your entire site with fresh and valuable content too.

1. Perform Keyword Research

As a long-standing SEO best practice, you should start your strategy with keyword research. Try to identify the keywords your target audience is probably using to find the information they want. How to conduct keyword research? There are several ways to do that.

Perform Keyword Research
Source: Ahrefs
  • Keyword research tools: Platforms like BuzzSumo, Ahrefs, and KeywordTool can help you easily identify excellent long-tail keywords. For the most part, these tools will help you create a long list of keywords you can target.
  • Check out popular forums: One good way to find out what your audience wants to know is to go to the platforms they spend their time online. Facebook, Reddit, Quora, and other similar platforms may help you get a better idea to see what your consumers want to learn or are looking for. This can be a great way to brainstorm new blog topic ideas.
  • Competitor research: Having an original long-tail SEO strategy is important, but it’s never a bad idea to check out your competition too. Competitor analysis can help you understand how other companies target their customers, what keywords they use, and how they optimize their content with them. You can also check out their site design, product listings, content formats, and more.

2. Match Your Terms to Your Content

Next, you will want to match your long-tail keywords with your existing and new content. For example, if you are running an air conditioning business, the following plan can help:

  • Take your main service page and divide it into sub-pages, so every service has one.
  • Create a content calendar for regular blog posting, with articles that feature your new-found long-tail keywords.
  • If you have emergency pages, carefully optimize them so they can start ranking higher immediately.

3. Create and Optimize Content

The next step would be content optimization, which can be challenging for most businesses. Often, they may end up overusing search phrases, and start ranking lower to keyword stuffing. This is why most businesses partner with digital marketing and copywriting agencies to ensure that the optimized content will meet the standards of search engines.

These experts will also focus on the following areas:

  • Title tag optimization: This is what shows in the search results. A good title tag should include a long-tail keyword and shouldn’t be longer than 60 characters. Its aim is to grab the user’s attention, enticing them to click on your site.
  • Meta descriptions: These are also displayed in the search results, adding additional information about your page. For the best results, meta descriptions shouldn’t be longer than 160 characters, and should also have a long-tail keyword in them.
  • Content: Your page content should provide your users with answers to their search, such as how often they should change filters. Your content should also include long-tail keywords, and you need to include them in your heading and subheadings too. The content itself should be structured logically, with shorter, easy-to-read paragraphs.
  • URL: Your URL needs to be optimized to include a long-tail keyword too.
  • Images: There are several reasons why you should use video and images. They might not have any direct effect on your keyword strategy but can have a significant impact on user experience. Make sure to include compressed images and add descriptive alt text.
  • Audit: Lastly, SEO audit tools can generate reports about your strategy’s potential strengths and weaknesses. Some tools will also offer recommendations on improving the issues.

4. Conduct Tests and Reoptimize

All SEO best practices are ongoing efforts, and to make the most out of your strategy, you will always want to look for ways to improve your new or optimized content and pages. To see when it’s time to reoptimize, regularly check out the following factors:

  • Rankings: After implementing your strategy, it may take weeks or even months for your site to rank. Give your strategy time, but regularly check your position in the SERPs.
  • Traffic: Some say that traffic is a vanity metric and can be misleading, but it’s still an element that still needs to be monitored. If your visitors come from mobile, consider improving your site's development and design aspects to ensure it works correctly on phones and other devices.
  • Conversions: What will qualify for you as a conversion will depend on your goals, like generating more orders online, or getting more newsletter subscribers. If you have the right keywords and compelling copy, you should see a significant increase in your conversions.
  • Revenue: You can also measure your revenue to help assess the success of your long-tail SEO strategy. If you’ve noticed that you are generating more sales online or thanks to local searches, then your strategy is certainly paying off.

Long-Tail SEO Takeaways

Long-tail SEO enables you to hone in on user search intent more precisely. It benefits both you and your target audience, helping you generate more qualified traffic to your site, while allowing visitors to find the information they’re looking for faster.

However, SEO strategies can be complex and intricate, requiring experience and a clear understanding of the latest search engine trends. That said, to get the most out of your investment, it’s best to partner up with an SEO agency.

Long-Tail SEO FAQs

Can you use both short- and long-tail keyword strategies together?

You can use them either in conjunction or separately. However, you will have to remember that they are two different strategies. Long-tail keywords are great for more specific goals, like driving quality traffic and boosting conversions, while short-tail keywords can help you expand your reach and raise brand awareness.

Can you perform long-tail SEO alone?

Yes, you can, but experts will advise against it. Keyword research and content optimization are only two components of a very intricate SEO strategy, and if you lack the necessary experience, you may actually do more harm than good for your rankings.

The best option is to hire a seasoned SEO agency that will optimize every aspect of your site, maximizing the return on your investment.

What can you use together with long-tail SEO?

You can also use short-tail strategies to get the most out of your keywords and paid advertising to drive instant traffic to your site. Apart from that, you can also optimize your off-page SEO assets and try link building to get the most out of your optimization efforts.

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