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The Effectiveness of Long-Tail Keywords In The World of SEO

March 11, 2020 |By Seth Barrick | Marketing Strategy

The Problem With Ranking For Keywords

Search engine optimization is a major channel of digital marketing that has become extremely popular in recent years. Why is this? Well, this is because it’s essentially free, at the expense of time. Not only does the free aspect attract many businesses to use SEO as a marketing strategy, but it also provides long-term results. If you have any experience with pay-per-click ads, then you know that ranking results only last as long as the money is there to produce clicks.

Fortunately there are many aspects of SEO that determine how a business ranks on search engines such as site speed, meta-descriptions, backlinks, etc. However, the main strategy we’re going to discuss today has to do with ranking for specific keywords. The biggest challenge that has to do with ranking for keywords surrounds search volume. 


Many businesses are trying to rank for keywords that have a lot of search volume. Although search volume is a good sign that your keywords are being actively sought out, it also means that your content has to compete with the giants of your industry. Unfortunately there is just no way a privately owned pharmacist can compete with a nationwide company like Walgreens.


Why The Problem Occurs

This problem occurs because everyone is thinking the exact same way. Everybody is trying to rank for the same types of keywords, that provide high search volumes. People think if they don’t rank for keywords that have high search volume, they won’t get any business.

In all reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Associating high search volume with lots of leads is where most businesses are missing out. There are many ways to rank for keywords with lower search volume and still get lots of business.

In fact, a Neil Patel article provides results showing seven businesses that are thriving from ranking for keywords with lower search volume. In short, when it comes to search marketing, it’s not about the numbers it’s about the quality of those numbers.


The Solution Is Long-Tail Keywords

There are billions of unique keywords being searched for on the internet every single year. Unfortunately the ones with the most potential aren’t even being glanced at. This is where you can improve of your SEO strategy and increase traffic by ten fold. Using a few long-tail keywords can improve your SEO results tremendously.


Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Keywords

There are a few key things that distinguish differences between long-tail and short-tail keywords. Nevertheless, these differences all have their individual pros and cons. Today we’re going to look at just a few of these differences.


Number of Words

The main difference between the two types of keywords is just how it sounds. Long-tail keywords range anywhere from 3-5+ words. Short-tail keywords range from 1-2 words. Short-tail keywords are typically more generic and don’t covert as well. 


Level of Competition

The hardest thing about ranking for keywords on search engines is the competition you have to battle against. We mentioned earlier having to compete with the giants of an industry. Short-tail keywords typically have a lot more competition that long-tail keywords because they are so generic. You might want to avoid these types of keywords until the timing is right and you have a good foundation. 


Search Intent

Search intent is so important when it comes to obtaining qualified leads for your business. Ranking for short-tail keywords like “copier” don’t provide much insight about what the user is looking for. Therefore it’s good to rank for long-tail keywords like “how to fix broken toner tray on xerox copier,” which provides much more detail.


Click Through Rates

People don’t use search engines like they use social media. On search engines people already know what they are looking for. This is where the effectiveness of long-tail keywords can come to play. If your ranking for very specific keywords, you can be sure that the people who see your content will be more likely to consume your content. This is will therefore improve your click through rates and rank you higher on the search engine.


The Effectiveness of Long-Tail Keywords

Put simply, long-tail keywords are extremely specific search query’s that a user submits to get a certain answer. The longer a keyword or keyphrase, the more relevant the results will be. This also means that the competition will be smaller as well.

The effectiveness of long-tail keywords is not something to take lightly. Did you know that if a search result isn’t what a user is looking for, they are more likely to retype their query into the search bar than go to the next page? More than likely, when the user submits their second search, it will be a long-tail keyword. This is where you want your business results to appear because you want to be the answer that people are looking for.



How to Find The Right Keywords

The best way to find keywords is to think like your target market. First, you have to envision the problem that they are having. When you try to understand the problems that exist within your market, you can create better solutions. A great keyword strategy is to rank for long-tail keywords that represent a problem for your prospects. Then within the content of your website, solve that problem by providing a unique solution.

Tools To Use With Keyword Research

There are lots of great tools on the internet that you can use to improve your keyword research. Here are just a few tools that have free versions. Each of these tools has their own benefits and when used together can give you great insight as to which keywords will be best for your business to rank for.

Keyword Planner

There are many tools that can help you perform better keyword research. Google provides a great tool that I would highly suggest using. The keyword planner provides a complete analytical report of all types of keywords that are being searched for on Google. Keep in mind that not all keywords you submit in the keyword planner are going to show search results. Some keywords have volumes too low to track. Another great benefit to the keyword planner is you can find suggestions for keywords that are related to your initial keyword.


1. Click on “Discover New Keyword”

2. Enter a Keyword

3. See All Related Keywords

Comptetive Analysis

Another great strategy for keyword research is to analyze your competitors. SpyFu is another great tool that allows you to analyze the keyword strategies of other business like yours. This can be useful to find keywords that you want to rank for. It can also help you know which keywords to stay away from.


The Search Bar

When all else fails, the search bar is the oldest and most reliable way to find out what keywords you can rank for. Search engines are great at organizing keywords with their algorithm software. Be the user and look for an answer to your problem by using the search bar. The results will show the keywords in bold within the meta-descriptions.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords everywhere is another search engine tool that allows you to see other keywords that are being searched similar to the query you submit. It’s a Google Chrome extension and is free to use. It’s a great tool for understanding the nature of the users search and what sort of problems they are looking to solve. It’s very simple to use which is another great benefit to the tool. When you submit a query into the search engine it will show a list of results similar to your query that were searched for as well. The results appear in the right hand side of the browser.


Question & Answer Websites

One of the most effective long-tail keyword strategies that I have used is done through the use of question & answer websites. On these types of websites people post questions to problems they are having. These questions pose great ideas for long-tail keywords that you can rank for. You can also go back to the question after you have written content and drop a link with a detailed description to help that person out. Who knows, they may share your link, which will also help you rank for more competitive keywords.


Let’s Recap!

Today we have gone over the effectiveness of long-tail keywords and how you can better your rankings within search engines. Keep in mind that ranking in search engines doesn’t just depend on one thing. In fact there are hundreds out things that can help your ranking. But most importantly the types of keywords you choose to rank for can make all the difference. Now go and start working on your keyword research strategy so you can improve your website traffic!


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