long tail keyword

What is a Long Tail Keyword and Why You Need Them

What is a long tail keyword?

long tail keyword
Image credit: thrivehive.com

When some enters a search into the search engine they may enter just a single word such as “watches” or they may enter a longer phrase such as “big watches for men”. This longer phrase is what is known as a long tail keyword and these searches are generally far more specific and make up around 70% of all of the searches that are made online.

Why are long tail keywords important?

Most sites will aim to gain traffic for the highest volume keywords, so for instance in the above example:

Watches attracts around 135,000 searches a month

Big watches for men attracts just 210 searches a month

So if you wanted to sell watches you may think that to get a large volume of traffic you should target the keyword watches, after all it has the highest volume of traffic. The problem with this approach is that many other well established sites will also be targeting that keyword and so competition will be very high indeed. So your chances of actually being placed high in the search results is very small. So even if you target this keyword you are unlikely to see any traffic. You also have to consider what the intent of the searcher is; if they type in “watches” are they just trying to get keyword ideas for what to buy or are they actually ready to buy?

The long tail keyword however has very limited competition as few of the big sites are targeting it. So even if the search volume is small it is relatively simple and also inexpensive to rank for the keyword search results. The long tail keyword also suggests that the searcher knows precisely what they are looking for and if you provide them with a nice selection they may be at the point of making a purchase.

The more specific a long tail keyword is the more likely that they are ready to convert for any given search and the less likely that you are going to face a lot of competition to rank. So targeting many long tailed keywords is often going to be far more effective and far less time consuming and expensive than aiming for the higher volume more general terms.

Where can you find the best long tail keyword for your site

Knowing how to find keywords for your site is where the skill comes into organic SEO marketing; there are many tools out there that can help you to search out your long tailed keywords. Some are free to use and others are for more “premium” users that will spend vast sums on identifying keywords in their niche that they can target. So if you don’t know how to get keywords for SEO, one of these tools might help you out.

  • Google keyword tool: This is a free to use tool that will return hundreds of different related keywords including long tailed keywords related to your niche. However the tool will not return everything and long term users know that there are many omissions in the data. However this is great tool to start with.
  • Ubersuggest: This tool is great for finding long tail keywords as it uses the power of the Google suggest tool. So if you add in a keyword or short string of words it will then add each letter of the alphabet after it to see what suggest is going to provide. Google suggest is based on what other searchers are actually plugging into the search engine so used well this tool can supply you with many long tailed keywords that can be of value to your business.
  • WordStream keyword tool: this can provide you with keyword suggestions in much the way that the Google tool will. However you are limited in the number os searches that you can make without making a payment for the use of the tool.
  • SEMrush: this is a premium tool however it can provide you with a huge amount of information not only as to which keywords to target but also how competitive they are.

The importance of keyword tracking

Monitoring the keywords that are used to find your site through Google Analytics and Webmaster tools allows you to see how effective your use is of the different long tail keyword combinations as well as to actually spot additional long tailed keywords that the search engines send you traffic for.