Importance of Long Tail Keywords in SEO
Keywords come in all shapes and sizes. One common way of categorising them is either as a short tail or long tail keyword. Long tail keywords are longer phrases, i.e. phrases with more words. So, “building contractor” is a short tail keyword, while “renovations building contractor in Auckland” is a long tail keyword.
As most companies focus on short tail keywords, the long tail variety presents you with a considerable business opportunity.
Many of the world’s largest and most successful websites get this – websites like The Huffington Post, Forbes, Amazon, and eBay. They all have strategies that target long tail keywords, and you should too. Here are the reasons why:
Additional Keywords You Can Rank For
If you look at any industry or niche, individual short tail keywords are the most searched for terms. This is one of the reasons why they are the main target for most SEO strategies.
However, 70 percent of searches are for long-tail keywords. So, even though individual keywords get lots of searches, the majority of web searches are long tail keywords.
Any individual short tail keyword that has a high search volume will be hard to compete for. Depending on your business, that competition could include major regional, national, or international websites that have significantly more resources available for SEO than you do.
There is much less competition for long tail keywords, though, making them easier to rank for.
Can Bring Significant Traffic to Your Website
Following on from the previous two points, long tail keywords can result in your website attracting more visitors. Here’s how:
- You create high-quality content on your website targeting long tail keywords
- The content ranks near the top of search results pages because there isn’t much competition
- You get clicks through to your website
Traffic is More Targeted
Another factor to remember is that long tail keywords are often very specific. Look at the example from the start of this article:
- Short tail keyword “building contractor” – this could mean anything, from a building contractor who specialises in major commercial projects to a building contractor who covers a different geographical location.
- Long tail keyword “renovations building contractor in Auckland” – if you’re an Auckland-based building contractor who specialises in renovations work, this is a better keyword to rank for.
In fact, it is often the case that people use long tail keywords the closer they get to making a buying decision. So, at the start of their research, a person looking for a building contractor might use the keyword “building contractor”. They will then refine their searches as they get closer to understanding what they need, using long tail keywords in the process.
Better Conversion Rates
This point follows on from the previous one, i.e. if the keywords are more targeted, you are more likely to get a higher conversion rate.
Ideal for Competitive Industries and Niches
Long tail keywords are suitable for any SEO strategy, whatever products or services you sell. That said, all the previous points combined make long tail keyword strategies particularly useful if you are in a competitive industry or niche.
This is because you may not be able to compete with the SEO budgets of the big players on the web, whether those sites are international or New Zealand-based. Instead, you have to think smarter, which means targeting long tail keywords.
Less Expensive Method of Beating Your Competition
Whether you’re in a competitive industry or not, targeting long tail keywords in your SEO strategy is much less costly than targeting short tail keywords. Therefore, if your competitors currently rank higher than you, targeting long tail keywords is an approach that is likely to deliver the best return on investment.
Easier to Optimise Content
An essential part of targeting any keyword, short tail or long tail, is optimising the content on your website in general, as well as on individual pages. This can be tricky when targeting short tail keywords, not least because you face the ever-present risk of over-optimising. Over-optimising can be worse than not optimising at all.
Long tail keywords are much easier to optimise. For example, you can identify an important long tail keyword and then write a blog on that topic, using the keyword in the headline and in other strategic locations. After a few additional steps, you will have a page of content optimised for the targeted long tail keyword.
Good for Voice Searches
Another factor to consider when looking at long tail keywords is voice search. Voice search is becoming increasingly important given the growing popularity of devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home.
When people search using one of these devices, they naturally use language that is more conversational, i.e. they use long tail keywords. Therefore, targeting long tail keywords will help increase the visibility of your website and brand on voice searches.
Improve Bounce Rate
In brief, your bounce rate is the percentage of people who visit your website from Google search and then leave soon after arriving without visiting any other pages, i.e. they hit your website and bounce off it.
While this rule doesn’t apply in all situations, a high bounce rate can be an indication to Google that people visiting your website are not getting the information they are looking for. Google doesn’t like this.
As a result, it’s often better to have a bounce rate that is as low as possible.
The content on your website targeting long tail keywords is more likely to provide users with the information they are looking for. This means they are less likely to bounce, reducing your bounce rate.
Builds Better Relationships with Visitors
Following on from the above point, providing a Google search user with a focused and specific answer to their query helps to build your brand and increase your reputation. Content optimised for long tail keywords achieves this.
Helps with Your Social Media Strategy
Finally, long tail keywords can often help with your social media strategy, albeit indirectly. The previous two points are important in understanding this, i.e. the fact that content optimised for a long tail keyword is likely to directly answer a search user’s query.
This increases the possibility the person will then share the page on their social media channels, helping your overall social media strategy.
Start Targeting Long Tail Keywords
As you can see above, there are lots of benefits to targeting long tail keywords. They should be a central part of your SEO strategy.