Your website is all set to conquer the web, but there might be a missing element.
You did all the essential on-site SEO tweaking, and created the best off-site and link-building plan to be continued through a prolonged phase. But what comes after? Is that all you had to do to reap the full SEO benefits? Or is there more you can do?
The answer is a resounding yes. What if I told you that there is a way to double the benefit of every keyword on your website? All you need to do is add long-tail keywords.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are extended phrases of your main keywords – usually 3 or 4 words that are more specific to the service or product that you are offering. These are normally less competitive than your main keyword. You’ll find that users search less for these phrases, but that they mostly convert much better.
Why is that? Because it’s a more specific term, the user generally knows exactly what it is that they are looking for, so they are much closer to completing a sale.
Adding a tail makes a simple primary or secondary keyword the perfect modified tertiary or long-tail keyword, which is very beneficial for your keyword rankings and local SEO.
Every demographic requirement and in-depth search phrase of users can be targeted when you add long-tail keywords. However, finding out which long-tail keywords will work for you can be a daunting task. This process will not only rely on automated keyword research programs, but also your understanding of the product / service and customer requirements.
This will take you through a journey of identifying many elusive long-tail keywords and terms that bring users closer to your site.
Examples of Long-Tail Keywords
As mentioned earlier, these phrases usually contain 3 or 4 words (though you can get excellent results with as many as 4 to 8 words). It’s all about understanding what a regular user would type as a search query in Google, or other search engines.
Let’s look at a main keyword, for example “shoes”. This is a very broad term – we don’t know anything about which kinds of shoes a user is looking for, or how far down he or she is in the customer journey (simple research, ready to purchase, etc).
A more detailed search would be “men’s shoes”. Now we start to identify more about what our user is looking for.
Not all users will search for shoes by only using one or two words. Some might add more adjectives, for example “men’s brown leather shoes”. Consider that a user might want to go to a physical location close to where they live or work. Now you can target phrases like “men’s brown leather shoes London”.
There can be endless variations to this example. But the bottom line is that a search has to be detailed to give you that exact return. And when you understand this concept, you can grab those elusive long-tail keywords more easily, and start implementing them on your site.
Tools to find Long-tail keywords
1. “Searches related to” section
Did you ever notice the section at the bottom of a typical Google search results page? Here you will find the “searches related to” section. These are terms closely linked to your original search, which can be used to create long-tail keyword phrases.
To browse for more variations within that selected keyword, you can do the following:
- Type in a selected keyword phrase from the related searches into the main Google search box, then click enter.
- From here you will have another search results page, and at the bottom you will find a new list of suggested related search phrases.
- Feel free to experiment with variations to your selected keywords. You may try this same technique in a loop to get more related keywords, until you make a list of all long-tail keywords which you think have potential.
- Finally check their search volume and competition by using a good keyword research tool, and decide how many of them you will use.
2. Where people ask questions
A good technique to find organic results is by browsing through websites where users ask questions. Good examples are forums and discussion boards, or question / answer sites like Quora – any sites where people interact with each other, and answers can be found to specific queries. You will have to find your keyword suggestions in related discussion board sites in the same and related niche.
To do this, find a relevant website, and go to the related subsection. From there you will definitely find some threads where the topic name itself could be a suitable keyword. You can also get long-tail-keywords in queries raised by users of the forum / discussion board.
This method can fetch you many natural keywords. People looking for answers in forums also search for them in the same way within search engines. Therefore, using these search phrases will help you implement natural and popular long-tail keywords.
3. Keyword research tools
There are many good keyword research tools, from which you can source excellent long-tail keywords. The most popular of these is Google’s own Keyword Planner. Like a large number of other Google tools, it’s also free to use.
The only downside of using tools like these, is that although you get a lot of keyword variations, these suggestions can be found by other users – it may not be unique for you.
But there is one formula which can help you design some unique long-tail keywords, which we’ll explain next in point 4. But first, you’ll need to generate a batch of long-tail keyword suggestions from keyword research tools.
4. Permutation and Combination
Permutation and Combination – this might sound familiar when you think of your arithmetic lessons from school days, right? Well the techniques you learned back then, can be put into use with your keywords.
Permutation and combination was a math lesson, which taught you how to find out the maximum and minimum number of possible variations of a list of items. This concept can be applied to keywords.
For this, you need your list of keywords. Then, you will have to churn those keywords in a mental mixer to create unique combinations. You simply need to change the position of words. For example:
Take “Men’s formal shoes in black original leather”, and you will find many variations in your mixer. And don’t worry too much if all your phrases are not grammatically correct. Users searching in haste rarely worry about grammar, they simply list the most important words to get the most accurate result. Hence, find the stress points in your key phrases first. Formal, black, and leather are the stress points, so we would be looking at creating the following phrases:
- “formal shoes black leather men”
- “leather black shoes formal men”
- “black leather shoes men formal”
- “black leather formal shoes men”
Casually while explaining this example, I already have 4 variations!
We could still list many more. And the great thing about these different phrases, is that they are using different stress points while still keeping the same meaning. Potentially this can give you a lot of low-competition keywords.
5. Google Correlate
Not many people know about this tool. Which is a pity, because its use for long-tail keyword search is absolutely valuable.
Place any keyword in the search box, and you will get a return of all suggested keywords which people look for while searching for your entered keyword.
6. Google Trends
Now that you have a list of keyword variation phrases, you must now find out which ones are relevant, and also have a growing demand. If a phrase is declining in popularity, you should consider removing it.
There is a difference in having low search volume, and a lowering search volume. A keyword which always has been in a low search volume may still be of use as some people always look for it.
But when a keyword has a diminishing or lowering search volume over time, it suggests that its popularity is also diminishing. And Google Trends is the perfect tool to tell you about these search trends as it will show you the demand or searches for the keyword over a period of time.
For example, let’s look at the performance of the term “digital marketing” (blue) vs “internet marketing” (red).
Internet marketing used to be above “digital marketing” a few years ago, but as you can see “digital marketing” has now become the more popular term.
7. Google Autocomplete
At least 2 trillion searches are made on Google each year. It knows what people are searching for, and which terms are often used in conjunction. All this data is what you’ll find in Google Autocomplete.
Autocomplete is a handy feature of the standard Google Search bar, where it will suggest relevant terms while you are typing in the word(s) you want to search for.
Understanding the benefits of using long-tail keywords
A long-tail keyword is the best way to get real targeted visitors. Specifications about a product or service tell what exactly the user is looking for, and if you promote your pages with these phrases, you can get raise your visibility significantly on Google search result pages.
Moreover, visitors coming to your page through such long-tail keyword based searches will be satisfied because they are getting the right results, which makes the page more credible in their eyes, and increases user satisfaction.
As usual competition for ranking with long-tail keywords will always be less than that you face with primary ones, so implementing this into your SEO strategy can easily give you user traffic.