Marketing your business or brand is no small task in the age of the internet. Countless chess matches are being played out on search engines every second of every day as we try to rank higher in the search engine than our competitors. And ranking for common or general keywords is extremely tough if you don’t have the resources. Especially if your business is new or small. However, using and knowing how to choose long-tail keywords is key to increasing traffic and driving conversions more quickly. In this article, we will tell you how to choose long-tail keywords to use on your website.
What are long-tail keywords? Simply put, long-tail keywords are more specific keyword terms that don’t get searched as frequently, and subsequently, are less popular. While most long-tail keywords are usually at least three words long, it’s not exactly the length of the keyword phrase that derives the name.
Long-tail keywords get their name from the way Google ranks searches on a graph. At the top of the graph is the head, the area with the most frequent searches. However, the area on the graph that shows longer search terms is called the tail of the graph. So, long-tail keywords refer to both their length and where on Google’s graph they land.
Let’s give an example. While the keyword “tomato plant” may show up at the head of the graph with 20,000 average monthly searches, “when to plant tomatoes,” which maybe has 8,000 monthly searches, will show up on the tail of the graph. Because “when to plant tomatoes” is more specific and a longer search term, it’s considered a long-tail keyword.
How to Find Long-Tail Keywords
Next, let’s discuss how to find and choose long-tail keywords.
Recapping Long-Tail Keywords
Remember, long-tail keywords are essentially search terms with a lower search volume and lower competition levels. These keywords are typically three-plus words or longer.
Long-tail keywords help people find your site by providing a more narrow but specific answer to a query. This is largely done by implementing on-page SEO.
Finding Long-Tail Keywords
Finding the right long-tail keyword can seem like a daunting process. However, there are some simple methods you can use to find long-tail keywords that will work for you.
In general, however, finding long-tail keywords is a process of thinking about what your customers are searching for and then trying to connect with them there. It’s less about competing with shorter, more popular keywords and more about thinking about the questions people ask when searching for something.
For example. If you own a flower shop, you’ll likely have a hard time competing for the keyword “flower shop.” However, if you think about what kinds of questions your customers have related to the term “flower shop,” you can begin to craft long-tail keywords.
One way to do this in our flower shop example is to get a little more specific. Maybe people always ask when to plant tulips. So, you come up with the long-tail keyword “when to plant tulips.” Now you’ve addressed a question people have and provided yourself with a long-tail keyword that you can use.
Below are some other ways you can find long-tail keywords. These methods are useful because they give you insight into both what people are thinking and how they’re thinking.
Let’s start with Google. You can actually use Google’s search engine to start finding long-tail keywords. Start by searching for a keyword that you would like to rank for. Once you’ve entered it, scroll to the bottom of the page. Here you will see a box of “Searches related to…” You can use the keywords here as long-tail keywords that will better help you target your audience.
Similarly, you can also refer to the section on the search results page that highlights what other things people ask. This area often has some valuable long-tail keyword ideas as well.
Online forums like Reddit and Quora are fantastic resources for finding long-tail keywords that work for you. Forums are full of people asking and answering questions across every subject, making them a vital spot for finding that perfect keyword phrase.
Tailor What You Offer to Your Keywords
Think about what your customers and consumers are asking about your brand. Also, think about what you offer and how you can leverage that into how you find long-tail keywords.
For example, say you own a coffee shop in Portland, OR. There are many shops, and the competition is steep. But you open an hour earlier than the others and stay open an hour later as well.
These are examples of benefits you can use when trying to find long-tail keywords. Instead of trying to rank for “Portland coffee shop,” try and attract the people who are searching for “Portland coffee shop open early.”
By adding “open early,” you’ve found a long-tail keyword that works for you and your business.
Long-Tail Keyword Research
We’ll get into tools that help with long-tail keyword research in a little bit. But for now, let’s discuss general long-tail keyword research practices and tactics.
Researching Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keyword research can be as much of an art as it can be a science, depending on your resources. But one of the key takeaways when researching long-tail keywords to use is to try and get inside the head of your existing and potential customers.
Think about your unique selling proposition (USP) and try and think of some long-tail keywords that work to that. What is about your brand’s services or products that are unique to you? By answering this question, you can begin to think about what your customers are searching for when they find your product.
By using your USP to create long-tail keywords, you can have a better chance at outreach to new and existing customers.
Use Online Tools
When researching long-tail keywords you can use, it’s smart to start broad. By utilizing some or all of the tactics stated above, you can begin to research not only what you should say but what people are generally saying about you.
While plugging in a keyword you want to rank for is a good starting point. Think about what you would search for if you were seeking a solution you know your brand could provide. What might you type into Google? Also, pay attention to Google’s autocomplete feature as this area provides a lot of valuable information regarding what similar terms people are using.
Listen to the Public
Because long-tail keywords are often questions that people ask, which include a broad search term, one way to research long-tail keywords is to research what people are asking. Using options like Answer the Public is a great way to find questions your audience is asking about a particular topic. From there, you can begin to compile long-tail keyword options.
Along the lines of listening to the public, talk to family and friends. You can begin to fill in any gaps that may have existed in your own research and testing by getting another perspective. Your friends and family may be able to provide some insights that drive you to create useful long-tail keywords.
Long-Tail Keyword Research Tool
Finding a long-tail keyword tool isn’t all that hard. You can find several just by Googling it. However, not all long-tail keyword research tools are created equally. Here, we’ll break down some keyword tools we find helpful.
A nice starting option is the Meet Keyword Explorer by Moz. It works pretty simply. You enter a URL or keyword to discover and prioritize the best keywords to target. While you do need an account, you also get access to comprehensive keyword analysis and suggestions.
ahrefs Keyword Explorer
While this is another long-tail keyword research tool you have to sign up for, it does provide some of the most comprehensive tools. It provides everything from thousands of keyword suggestions to metrics to a keyword difficulty score so you can immediately gauge how hard a certain keyword will be to rank for.
Google Trends is a stealthy and free long-tail keyword research tool. The Google Trends application will show you interest in a topic or keyword over time based on search volume and news headlines. So, why is this a helpful tool? Because it will help you gauge whether a long-tail keyword you want to use is frequently searched or not.
Keyword Magic Tool
Without getting too complicated, the Keyword Magic Tool by SEMrush is pretty comprehensive. However, it still provides basic and valuable information, making it a quality long-tail keyword research tool. There’s also a Topic Research Tool, which is helpful with long-tail keywords as it provides topic ideas that you can turn into long-tail keywords.
How to Choose Long-Tail Keywords
Overall, when it comes to long-tail keywords, research helps, but it largely comes down to understanding your unique selling proposition and leveraging that to intersect with people already searching for what you offer.
Try not to get too caught up with word count as much as you want to focus on the specifics of what people are searching for. And how those more specific terms can help you be found by them more easily. Hopefully, now you know all about how to choose long-tail keywords.
FAQs about Long-Tail Keywords
- What are long-tail keyword examples?
- How do you create a long-tail keyword?
- How long is a long-tail keyword?
- What are some long-tail keyword research tools?
- How to research long-tail keywords?