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About 70% of all searches are done using long-tail keywords. This powerful statistic shows how important they are for SEO. It is for this very reason that you must focus on these keywords in your SEO strategy.
Image via Moz
If you don’t use them, you’d be missing out on a lot of organic traffic. With Google’s changing algorithms, you need to stay at the top of your game. While shorter keywords usually have higher search volumes, long-tail keywords are very specific. The impact of these keywords is too big to be ignored.
Let’s take a look at why you should focus on long-tail keywords.
1. Less Competition
Short keywords usually have extremely high competition. It is very difficult to rank for those keywords. On the contrary, long-tail keywords come with significantly less competition. For this reason, you need not push too hard to get your website high up in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Image via Smart Insights
Additionally, they are highly relevant and help your target audience find exactly what they are looking for. This can result in better conversion rates as well. This means that you can rank for the keywords your audience is searching for without facing too much competition.
2. They Provide Context
Google often updates their algorithms. With each algorithm update, they try hard to remove weak and dying results from the SERPs. The 2017 Hummingbird update proved that Google wants to focus on contextual searches.
This update changed their search algorithms in a way that exact phrase matching improved. Additionally, it even deepened the understanding of the context of a website’s content. This means that Google is focusing on long-tail keywords so that their search results can be strengthened.
3. Better Conversion Rates
According to Drip, the average conversion rate for long-tail keywords is 2.5X of head keywords. This proves how effective they are in getting you conversions.
By adding these keywords, you’ll be able to strengthen your CRO funnel. This can be done through the organic search traffic that they generate. While you can definitely use PPC campaigns for each of these keywords, it’ll cost you a lot. Instead, you can research long-tail keywords and write blog posts that are related to them.
Slowly, you’ll be able to start ranking higher for those keywords through your SEO efforts. In the meantime, you can of course, kickstart some PPC campaigns to increase your traffic.
4. People Search Using Long-Tail Keywords
Google’s target is to present users with the exact information they are looking for in their searches. People may not look for single keywords such as “SEO.” Instead, they are likely to search using more specific strings such as “what are the main elements of SEO?” This is why it is important that you target the keywords that your audience uses.
Additionally, one of the most important SEO trends for 2018 was mobile search optimization. Google even raised the character limits of page titles for mobile devices. This means that you can have an extra word in the title of your content. This makes long-tail keywords even more important.
5. They Help You Rank For Shorter Keywords
As discussed earlier, it is difficult to rank for single and short keywords. This is the reason why long-tail keywords are more favorable. However, they can even help you rank for these shorter keywords.
To rank well in search engines, you need to create loads of pages with relevant and useful content. Long-tail keywords can not only help your content rank for these keywords but also for shorter keywords in some cases. This can be seen by observing the SEMrush report of popular sites such as HuffPost.
While they do rank at the top for many short keywords, there are millions of them which are ranked lower. These are the long-tail keywords that have lower volume but push the shorter keywords up in the rankings.
Image via SEMrush
6. They Help You Optimize For Semantic Search
When you’re planning to optimize your content for semantic searches, long-tail keywords can come in handy. About 55% of millennials use voice searches on a daily basis. We also communicate with bots on a regular basis. In all of these searches, people use long-tail keywords instead of short ones.
For instance, a voice search for nearby restaurants is usually something like, “What are the best restaurants nearby?”
This is completely revolutionizing searches, especially with the launch of smart speakers such as Amazon Echo. The smart speaker market was expected to reach 30 million people by 2017. This number is only increasing quickly.
These voice assistants are being used to search for numerous things – from music to news. People even use them to control their smart home devices.
Image via Marketing Land
You need to try to predict the intent of users behind the questions that they ask. This can help you generate answers for them through your business and services. Long-tail keywords come in handy in training voice assistants to give your information to users. As the use of voice search increases, so will the importance of these keywords.
7. They Optimize Your Blog Strategy
Having a blog is one of the best ways to rank higher up in the SERPs. For any content marketing strategy, blogs work extremely well. Using long-tail keywords in your blog posts further improves your content marketing effectiveness.
Search engines look at keywords in the title, the URL, the body, as well as the meta tags. To effectively use keywords, you need to put them in the title tag, body text, as well as the URL. You need to keep in mind that they need to be used in the correct context here.
You should also add them to the alt text in images and the headers. This will help you optimize your website for searches. Simply writing a few blogs about a particular topic won’t help in this case. You’ll need to find some long-tail keywords that are relevant to the topic and write articles based on those.
When you search for such long-tail keywords in Google Keyword Planner, you’ll be shown other relevant keywords too. These keywords will give you more ideas for blog posts and help you come up with more articles. This way, you’ll be able to create lots of content around the topic with multiple long-tail keywords.
You can implement the same methods for your influencer marketing, content marketing, and more. This way, you’ll be able to improve your blog posts by using long-tail keywords and increase your traffic too. In fact, according to HubSpot, if you blog over 20 times a month, you’ll be able to generate more traffic.
Image via HubSpot
Not only do long-tail keywords help you rank higher but they even help you come up with unique content. Writing good content around them will provide value to your readers.
8. They Build a Strong Conversion Funnel
Traffic and lead generation are major challenges that companies face today. In fact, about 65% of companies are worried about these challenges according to HubSpot. The reason for this is simple. Their content marketing isn’t attached to a well-developed conversion funnel.
The conversion funnel consists of seven steps right from making the initial contact to closing the deal. If you have a blog post that incorporates the use of long-tail keywords, you can sail through the first 5 steps.
Image via FitSmallBusiness
Every customer enters at a different stage in the conversion funnel. It is up to you to get them to the negotiation stage and then close the deal. For this, you need to build customer trust. To do that, you need to provide as much information as you can to them.
This is the reason why blogging is considered a better form of marketing than paid search for customer acquisition. The reason is simple; the more pages you create, the more keywords you’ll start ranking for. This, in turn, builds a larger funnel for you, which gets you more customers.
The negotiation and closing stages are fairly easy to optimize. Once you have optimized them, you need to keep coming up with new pages continuously. This will help you reach as many consumers as possible at every step of the process.
9. Provide More Value
According to a study by Smart Insights, the highest-rated digital marketing technique of 2017 was content marketing. Long-tail keywords definitely help you rank better and help with both your SEO and CRO. However, they also ensure that your content provides real value to readers.
Image via Smart Insights
This is exactly what search engines are looking for too; websites that offer value to their readers. Through long-tail keyword research, you can come up with new topics. These will further help you strengthen your marketing efforts.
Media, personalization, and apps are extremely important. However, you need to build pages that are powerful enough to support them.
Content marketing is a great way to do this. It helps you give users exactly what they want and this is exactly what provides them value. You can accomplish this with the use of long-tail keywords.
10. Help to Integrate Structured Data
Structured data is one of the most important things you need to focus on to rank higher in the SERPs. You can check out the schema on your website using a special Structured Data Tool from Google.
When you add structured data to your long-tail keywords, search engines can provide rich results. These results show a lot more information than the regular search listings. But the added advantage is that it doesn’t matter where you’re ranking on the first page. The structured data takes your information right to the top of all the search results.
Image via Google
For instance, Martha Stewart uses structured data to stay at the top of the search results with rich snippets.
This makes it even more effective than a PPC or even an SEO campaign. This is a new way to search on Google and you must adopt it too.
11. They Bring in Most of Your Organic Traffic
This is perhaps the most obvious point but it also shows how important long-tail keywords are for you. To get a closer look, go through your Google Analytics reports. When you look through the queries, you’ll find that most of the traffic that comes to you is through long-tail keywords.
These are the terms you’re getting impressions for and they are the ones generating the clicks. If you have an ecommerce website, they will even help you generate sales. The deeper you dig into keyword research, the more you’ll find that long-tail keywords are fueling your traffic.
To find long-tail keywords, you can use tools such as KWFinder. Just as is the case with the Google Keyword Planner, you’ll get loads of similar keywords. You can even see the difficulty level of ranking for those keywords along with your competition. These will not only help you come up with more article ideas but also help you choose what to write about.
Image via KWFinder
If you want a free keyword research tool, you can choose Wordtracker. It can give you loads of suggestions of long-tail keywords. Just like KWFinder, it also gives you an idea of who your competitors are. This helps you conduct an in-depth analysis of how to rank for each of the keywords.
Image via Wordtracker
Now that you have an idea of the power of long-tail keywords, it’s time to start implementing them. While they are definitely effective, you need to create and publish quality content on your website too. This will help you provide real value to your customers that will make them want to stay on your website.
Developing your strategies in accordance with the latest changes in SEO also helps. Being voice search-ready is a great way to rank higher using long-tail keywords. Regardless of what your goals are, long-tail keywords are the most effective way to rank higher in Google.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.