Long-tail keywords are a beacon in the digital landscape, helping guide highly qualified audiences to your website. While your core keywords are likely short and sweet — think “financial planning” and “home furnishings” — long-tail SEO is about using more precise search terms to reach users with specific search intent.
Follow along as we explain what long-tail keywords are, how they work within your SEO strategy, and the best ways to find these valuable search terms. We’ll also share tips on optimizing your content to reach these motivated audiences.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
A long-tail keyword is a phrase used to narrow down an online search and uncover specific information. SEO specialists love using these keywords to tailor content for relevant audiences.
For example, “car repair” is a broad, short-tail keyword that’s going to be targeted by most of the mechanics in your area. However, “affordable brake pad replacement” is a high-intent keyword that will reach customers searching for this particular service.
Long-tail keywords usually consist of three or more words. Because they’re used by a specific customer segment, they have lower monthly search volumes. On the plus side, they’re usually less competitive and can be more realistic to rank for, adding important depth to your SEO strategy.
Examples of Long-Tail Keywords
Let’s compare short and long-tail keywords from different industries as examples.
Someone looking for a realtor may start with a head term such as “real estate agent.” This generic phrase has a high search volume, but it’s challenging to crack the top spots for it on Google, especially if you’re just starting out.
Long-tail SEO focuses on a specialized market segment, improving visibility among these clients. A realtor might try to carve out online visibility with long-tail search terms such as:
- Real estate agent for luxury condos
- Gated communities in Austin
- Best realtor for land assembly
In the below SaaS keyword examples, customers use short-tail keywords to begin exploring a topic. As they learn more and narrow down their needs, they turn to long-tail search.
- Short-tail keyword: Email marketing software
- Long-tail keywords: Email marketing apps for Shopify, affordable email marketing tool for startups
Customer relationship management
- Short-tail keyword: CRM solutions
- Long-tail keywords: important features in a CRM tool, how much does CRM cost for small business
Social media management
- Short-tail keyword: social media management platform
- Long-tail keywords: automated social media management tool, social media management for multiple accounts
Consumer needs and preferences are so wide-ranging in the lifestyle sector that long-tailed keywords are essential to align content to audience interests. Take a look at the short and long-tail examples below.
Health and Wellness
- Short-tail keywords: fitness tips, healthy living
- Long-tail keywords: how to train for a marathon, do I need probiotics
- Short-tail keywords: home decor, interior design
- Long-tail keywords: hosting dinner in a small space, how big should an area rug be
- Short-tail keywords: family vacations, road trips
- Long-tail keywords: all-inclusive adult-only resorts in Maui, tips for solo female travelers
The Magic of Long-Tail Keywords for SEO
Finding long-tail keywords is time-intensive, but it pays off in many ways. Compared to their broad, short-tail counterparts, long-tail keywords:
- Have less competition. As keywords get more specific, fewer websites target them. You can gain an edge over other businesses in your niche by going after these audiences.
- Are easier to rank for. With fewer websites targeting long-tail keywords, they may be less entrenched in the top spots. It likely takes fewer backlinks to slip into the top spots in the SERPs compared to more generic search terms.
- Deliver more targeted traffic. Broad terms can send massive amounts of organic traffic to your site, but not all of it may be relevant. Long-tail keywords help you tap into a niche to connect with better-quality prospects.
- Have high conversion rates. Long-tail keywords often include specific product features and are used by consumers further in the buyer journey — consider the term “berry flavor chewable vitamin C” compared to “health food store,” for example. A person searching for a precisely defined product is probably ready to choose a brand or somewhere to purchase.
- Improve visibility. We recommend a mix of short and long-tail keywords for a more robust search presence. By all means, work on ranking for difficult short-tail keywords over the long term, but go after long-tail keywords to build more immediate visibility.
- Cost less for PPC ads. Often, long-tail keywords have a lower cost-per-click because there’s less competition. And because you’re appealing to a specific audience, you’ll usually get a better click-through rate.
How To Find Long-Tail Keywords
Below are some long-tail keyword research tips to help improve your audience targeting. As you sift through possible search terms, make sure they’re relevant to your customers and goals before adding them to your SEO or PPC strategy.
Use Keyword Research Tools
Third-party keyword research tools generate hundreds of suggestions with just a few clicks.
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
Ahrefs Keywords Explorer recommends keywords based on the search terms you input. Pick a phrase related to your products, services, or business category to get started. You can filter results by monthly search volume or traffic potential to find keywords that are easier to rank for yet deliver reasonable traffic.
To use Keywords Explorer:
- Enter your selected terms into the search box.
- Select “Matching terms” from the left-hand menu.
- At the top of the Matching Terms report, set your desired filters.
- Toggle to “Questions” if you’re interested in search terms in a question format or “phrase match” to find long-tail keywords that are similar to your seed term.
Semrush Keyword Magic Tool is also a good launching point for long-tail keyword research. Simply enter a topic and hit search to retrieve related keyword ideas.
You can narrow your search with a variety of filters: search volume, keyword difficulty, search intent, word count, and keyword questions. To help you decide whether it’s worthwhile to target a specific keyword, click on the keyword for a detailed look at metrics related to a search phrase.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is free with a Google Ads account. To access the tool, switch your account to Expert Mode. Start with search phrases related to your business with the following steps:
- Click “Discover new keywords.”
- Enter keywords. Separate multiple keywords with a comma and a space.
- Enter your domain to exclude keywords that may not be relevant to your business.
- Click “Get results.”
You can also use Keyword Planner as part of a competitive keyword analysis. To tap into long-tail suggestions based on a competitor’s website:
- Click “Discover new keywords” and toggle to “Start with a website.”
- Enter a URL.
- Click “Get results.”
Find Content Gaps
When your competitors are targeting relevant keywords that you’re not, you may be losing out on important opportunities. Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool helps pinpoint keywords you’re missing so you can add relevant topics to your site and pull in new audiences.
To run a Content Gap report:
- Enter your URL into Site Explorer
- Select “Content Gap” from the left-hand menu.
- Enter up to 10 domains to analyze.
- Click “Show keywords.”
You can narrow the results to see keywords that several or all of your competitors rank for. This can help you discover terms important to your industry that should be part of your long-tail SEO strategy.
Look on Google Search and People Also Ask
Looking for free tools to help you find long-tail keywords? Why not go right to the source?
Google Search offers suggestions during the search process to help users drill down to the information they want.
The first place to find these suggestions is by entering a keyword in the search bar. For example, typing the phrase “iron supplement” generates a drop-down box with autocomplete suggestions such as “iron supplement side effects” and “iron supplement dosage.” These suggestions are based on actual searches, search trends, your location, and your past searches.
People Also Ask
On the search results page, scroll to the People Also Ask section. For our iron supplement example, we found suggestions such as “Is it ok to take an iron supplement every day?” and “How do I know if my iron is low?” Google also provided a list of related searches highlighted with a magnifying glass icon. These included “best iron supplement for anemia” and “iron supplements benefits.” This is a quick way to dig up some potential long-tail question keywords.
At the bottom of the SERP, Google provides querents with a “related searches” feature to help them modify their search and find what they’re looking for. These are generally long-tail keywords and are perfect for targeting.
Follow Forums in Your Field
For a grassroots approach to long-tail keywords SEO, see what your customers are saying online on forums such as Reddit and Quora. You’ll get real-time insight into user opinions and questions on related topics, products, and brands. More importantly, you’ll see the language they use when describing a problem or looking for information. Use these insights with a keyword research tool to find potential long-tail keywords and content ideas.
Check Out Google Trends
Google Trends gives you a sense of the popularity of keywords over time and in different regions. It’s also useful for finding related topics and queries that people are currently searching for. For example, when we plugged in “iron supplements,” Google Trends revealed that others were searching “iron supplements for babies” and “low iron symptoms.”
How To Implement Long-Tail Keywords
With your long-tail keywords in hand, the next step is to develop exceptional content for each search phrase. Remember, you’re targeting a niche audience that knows what they’re looking for, so it’s crucial to answer the specific question behind the keyword. Choose a format that makes sense for each search term, whether it’s a landing page, blog post, FAQ page, or tutorial.
Create SEO-Optimized Content Around Your Keywords
Follow SEO best practices to help your high-quality content rank. I’ll use a real-life example here. To target people who want “shoes for standing on concrete” all day, Road Runner Sports created a product round-up with recommendations. Here are some ways they optimized the page:
- Incorporated the keyword into the URL: roadrunnersports.com/blog/best-shoes-for-standing-on-concrete
- Created a concise page title: Best Shoes for Standing on Concrete | Road Runner Sports
- Optimized the h1 header: Best Shoes for Standing on Concrete
- Included variations in the H2 headers: “Shoes for Walking on Concrete,” “Shoes for Working on Concrete,” “Shoes for Standing on Concrete”
Place Keywords Strategically
You may be tempted to cram keywords into your content with the hopes of ranking better, but there are no shortcuts. Write for the people reading your content rather than search engines, which means avoiding awkward sentence construction just to force in the keywords or annoying repetition.
A few purposefully placed keywords in a well-written page of content is usually enough to help Google understand your piece. We like to use keywords in the page title, introduction, header, and, naturally, one or two more times in the content.
Think About Search Intent
Search intent refers to the reason someone uses a keyword and the type of information they hope to find. Consider the reason behind a search so you can align your content with user expectations. A quick survey of the content on the first page of the SERPs will give you a sense of what Google perceives as search intent. Use this information to guide the content you create.
Create Topic Clusters
Topic clusters are a way of organizing your content into thematic groups to demonstrate your expertise in a particular subject. This helps boost your website’s authority and can lead to better search performance.
With this approach, you have a pillar page with a core keyword that anchors the cluster. This general pillar branches out to detailed content pages targeting a distinct long-tail keyword. These pages provide valuable, in-depth insight on the topic — just what your specialized audience is looking for!
The pages in a cluster should be interlinked to show Google your topical relevance and help users navigate to related pages that might be of interest.
Start Uncovering Powerful Long-Tail Keywords Now
Long-tail keywords can take your SEO strategy to the next level. Victorious offers a range of keyword research services to identify the right ones for your business. Contact us for a free consultation and learn how to attract high-quality traffic that’s more likely to convert.