Why use long tail keywords?

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What is a long tail keyword?

Long tail keywords refer to a string of specific keywords that have a less competitive search base and are more likely to put you at the top of targeted search engines and get you found.

When people are looking for something, they look on the internet, and if you want to be found you need to be at the top of their search results. Long tail keywords help to put you up there.

Today, instead of typing just one word into the search engines, more and more people are typing in strings of keywords – often posed as a question. For instance – “What is a long tail keyword?” – if you type that into your search engine, this very blog should come up on the first page of your search results.

As I mentioned above, one of the biggest benefits to writing content that is optimised for long tail keywords, is that these keywords are highly specific and not as competitive, which means that you have a much better chance of becoming number 1 for that phrase. And becoming number one means that you will get the vast majority of clicks when people search for that term.

Here is a concrete example. Say I want to create a website focused on search engine optimisation or SEO. I could write an article targeting the term “SEO”, or I could write an article targeting the term “top SEO tools.”
Targeting SEO is very tempting, because it gets over 6 million searches on Google every month. That is a lot of potential page views! But then, when I plug that term into Google, I see that there are already nearly 300 million results. That’s a pretty big group to compete with.

Then there is the phrase “top SEO tools”. This phrase isn’t very tempting at all because it only gets around 720 searches every month. But it has a much smaller competitive base and is a phrase with which I could more reasonably expect to get to the first page of results. And the number one slot gets a significant number of the page views for any given search.

How to use long tail keywords

The way to use long tail keywords successfully is to think about what the audience wants to know about your brand, and then structure your phrase around that. You need to think about the solution the customer is after, then think about the best way to pose a long tail phrase to get them there.

The secret to long tail keywords is not to expect a huge windfall from any one page. The thread of long tail keywords has to be weaved throughout all your site pages, because the more site pages you have plugging that particular thread, the greater your position in the search results will be.

When online marketers are using long tail keywords, they are searching to corner a market that might be smaller than normal, but have just as much potential as other, larger, more exposed markets. Using long tail keywords can also be less expensive when it comes to pay per click bidding, and other paid inclusion methods, as there are less people attempting to place bids on those keywords for pay per click ads on search engine results pages. Visitors use long tail keywords to narrow down what they are searching for.

Working with long tail keywords successfully means that a publisher needs to know which long tail keywords actually get hits or are searched for on the major search engines. Research is the only way to know if long tail keywords will work or not, and that if the smaller investment will still pay off at the end of the marketing campaign.

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