What are long-tail keywords, and how can you use them to rank more highly in Google?
Long-tail keywords can help you rank more highly in search engines, either when keywords in your sector or niche are really competitive, or when you are looking to improve your conversion rates. Long tail keywords work because they help you to attract visitors with a very specific search intent.
What are long-tail keywords?
If you typed the word “Car” into Google, what search results would you expect?
You could be looking to buy a car, rent a car, locate a vintage toy car, join a car club, research a super-car etc etc etc – search engines don’t know what you want either. Generic phrases like this with high volume of searches and low intent are known as a “head theme”, and are usually very difficult to rank for.
However, if you type in “Vintage Dinky Car for sale”, Google knows more clearly what you are looking for, and will suggest sites that sell vintage Dinky Cars. “Vintage Dinky Car for sale” is an example of a long-tail keyword. These phrases are more specific, so attract lower volume and are easier to rank for.
What’s the advantage of ranking for low volume keywords?
You might be thinking “what’s the point of ranking for a search term that attracts low search volume?”
The answer is in the intent.
If you sell vintage Dinky cars, there may only be 30 people a month using “Vintage Dinky cars for sale” in the Google search bar, BUT the term is easy to rank highly for AND you can pretty much guarantee that all of them want to buy what you sell. Your opportunity to convert the sale is therefore much higher.
How to use long-tail keywords on your website
When you blog or post on social media, you have a regular opportunity to introduce new, and re-enforce existing long tail keywords. If you sell wedding dresses, for example, you can use long-tail keywords like “50s style wedding dresses”, “Wedding dresses for curvy brides” or “The most popular wedding dress accessories” across a variety of blogs and posts.
There are 2 types of long-tails – Supporting and Topical.
Supporting long-tail keywords add more definition to the head keyword. For example “50s style wedding dresses” is seeking a particular shape and styling of a wedding dress.
Topical long-tail keywords add differentiation to the head keyword. For example “Indian wedding dress” would take you to an Asian wedding attire site rather than a Bridal boutique.
It’s also important to know that Google’s AI is clever enough to understand long-tail phrases which are similar, so there’s no need to stress about ranking for “Wedding dresses for curvy brides” and “Curvy wedding dresses” and “Wedding dress for a curvy body shape” – Google will match these as the same search for you.
The important thing is to link the tail to the head – Google is looking for the tail words to add more detail to the head so that the searches it shows are as good a match to the searcher intent as possible.
How to identify strong long-tail keywords
Everything starts with keyword research. Once you have identified your head and mid-area phrases, you can use them to research potential long-tails.
1. Check out your search engine’s auto-suggest
2. Look at “Related searches” on your results page
3. Consider turning your keywords into questions
This is a great way to optimise your content so that it comes up under “people also ask”
Answer the public is a great site for researching question modifiers.
Also, take a look at forums such as Quora and Reddit for questions people are asking about topics such as the ones you are talking about.
4. Get descriptive
Consider your key products or services and think how people closer to being ready to purchase would be more specific about describing them.
5. Stalk your competitors
It’s always worth researching what your competitors are doing – you will find a gold-mine of ideas as to where you can leverage your messaging versus theirs.
6. Switch on your Google Search Console
Search console helps you measure your site’s traffic, and see which search terms you are being found for
The most important element of your SEO is the creation of awesome content that is engaging and helpful to your reader. Once you are clear what you want to be famous for, keywords are all about matching this ambition with phrases people commonly use in search, and phrases with high levels of intent for goods or services like yours.