Should You Optimise for Long Tail Keywords?

Should You Optimise for Long Tail Keywords?

What do we mean by “long-tail?”

Before we get too ahead of ourselves, we need to define what we’re talking about. At a high level, search keywords will fit into three core categories:
● “Head Terms” – These are the most popular and highly competitive terms. They cover broad categories like “shoes” or “marketing”.
● Mid-Tier or “Torso” – Basically what it sounds like: slightly longer keywords that drive mid-level traffic volume with roughly mid-level keyword competition. “running shoes” or “content marketing help” are good examples.
● “Long-tail” – These “keywords” or “queries” are longer and much less popular from a monthly search volume standpoint. “Where can I find the best running shoes?”or “Are there good agencies in my town to help with content marketing?” are how these would sound.

If the long-tail searches are less popular, why would they be valuable? Let’s take a look at a few search statistics.
● 56 percent of buyers who search use queries of three or more words, while only 7 percent use one word or an acronym.
● 20-25 percent of all Google search queries are unique.
● What Google describes as long-tail advertisers make up half their revenue.
● Searchers are using longer queries more frequently.

They way in which consumers are interacting with search engines is drastically changing. As we get more comfortable with voice search and confident in search engine results, searchers are treating the machines more like a friend than a computer. We interact conversationally and expect the algorithms to respond like we do, rather than changing our speech patterns to sound like a robot.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are a lot of different keyword tools out there. Google even offers one of their own. With all of these tools, everyone is going to try to capture the big, obvious keywords. This creates an intense competition for the top spots, which many companies don’t have the capital or internal resources to fight for.

On the other hand, more specific, long-tail queries will have significantly less competition and will open the door for smaller organizations to capture their share of web traffic that’s further into buying funnel, so they can stay competitive. If you want to convert customers who are ready to buy, your website needs to rank for long-term queries.

Long-tail keywords already drive most of your organic traffic!

I’m not sure when you last went through your Google Analytics, but for most sites, the organic traffic you are currently capturing is already coming from long-tail searches. The search terms that are getting impressions and generating clicks (and eventually sales) are mostly long-tail keywords. The problem for most organizations is that they ignore this fact and get distracted by the shorter head terms with all those coveted “monthly searches”. It’s easy to ignore long-tail terms, but you need to optimize what is already proving to be successful. Stop ignoring the answers when they are right in front of your face.

Google itself seems to be dropping everyone hints within their own Keyword Planner by giving related searches in the form of long-tail queries.

It is important however, to not rely solely on Google when it comes to developing your long-tail keyword strategy.

There are other tools out there like KWFinder, where you can get even more detailed information on long-tail keywords related to your company’s vertical/niche. Wordtracker is another free tool that can provide thousands of long-tail keyword suggestions.

These tools are also a great place to scout out the competition and get in-depth analyses on how they are ranking for certain terms and what strategies to employ in order to out-rank them.

Content Creation to Rank for Long-tail Keywords

How to create and optimise the content of your website to capture traffic?

  1. Optimize your URLs for long-tail terms.

  2. Include variations of your long-tail term in the page’s sub-headlines (h2s and h3s).

  3. Create verbose and meaningful content.

When optimizing for long-tail search queries, you will want to create longer documents. Your blog posts should average around one thousand words, depending on the topic of course. The more detail, the better, according to Google.

Having longer form content on your site ensures that you are set up to not only rank for the search you’re intending, but all the different variations consumers can make on that term while searching. Remember, 20-25 percent of the queries Google sees are unique. People want the same thing, but we all speak to our search engines a little differently. You need to make sure your content is optimised to capture as many of those consumers as possible.

Again, it’s important to point out that the people who do find your content through these long-tail queries will be fewer and farther between than if they came through a major head term or mid-tier search term, but the traffic you do draw will be better: more focused, more committed, and much more likely to convert.

The way we search is changing. The short one-and-two-word keywords are going to start dropping in value soon because people do not use search engines the way they did even 2 or 3 years ago. As our comfort levels rise and voice search continues to grow, long-tail search queries will become more and more valuable. Make sure you are creating content to capture this traffic to find long term success for your business.

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Should You Optimize for Long-tail Search Queries?
These tools are also a great place to scout out the competition and get in-depth analyses on how they are ranking for certain terms and what strategies to employ in order to out-rank them.