How to Use Long Tail Keywords

While “head” or short keywords consist of one or two words, long tail keywords are often three words or longer and are sometimes even a full question. This often generates more specific search results. Therefore, learning how to use long tail keywords can help you cater to more precise searches. When used correctly, long tail keywords are powerful tools for drawing in audiences. This article will give you the basics of how to use long tail keywords. 

What Counts as a Long Tail Keyword?

Long tail keywords are often longer due to their specificity, but the misconception is that length is the requirement for being considered a long tail keyword. Instead, long tail keywords more accurately describe keywords that are not commonly searched and often reflect description or intent. For example, brand names indicate that a person is searching for a specific company. Therefore it counts as a long tail keyword. There is also no benchmark for how many searches per month a keyword receives to be counted as a long tail keyword. What’s important is that these keywords yield searches that are considerably less competitive than head keywords. 

When Are Long Tail Keywords Used?

Long tail keywords are more often used when leads are closer to a point of purchase. This is because they are looking for something specific with intention. Imagine that you are interested in learning more about how social media marketing is beneficial to your small business. If you search “social media,” you will be overwhelmed with billions of results that can be focused on anything about social media. You scroll through the link previews Google returned but struggle to find anything properly relevant to what you wanted to learn. Instead, by searching “benefits of using social media marketing for small businesses,” the search pool will be smaller and the results more tailored to specifically what you’re looking for. 

Long tail keywords are also used during voice searches, as people often phrase what they’re looking for as questions because those phrases are closer to how we naturally speak. Voice searches are also often longer and are locally focused, making long tail keywords more ideal for these searches compared to short keywords. 

Advantages of Long Tail Keywords

Increased Traffic and Decreased Competition 

Because long tail keywords are longer, they don’t receive as much search traffic as short keywords. Yet, it is also this decreased search volume that is a long tail keyword’s greatest strength. Head keywords attract too many searches. Thus, the battle to appear at the top of the search is much more hard fought. Smaller companies and businesses with fewer resources would have greater trouble in ranking for the top spots. Instead, long tail keywords allow you to affect how you appear, allowing leads who are looking specifically for what you are offering to find you. 

High Click Conversion Rates

Long tail keywords also have a higher click conversion rate. The average conversion rate of a long tail keyword search is 36%. Search queries for long tail keywords often are looking for something specific. Learning how to use long tail keywords can bring those looking for your products, services, or information to your webpage. It can also increase engagement as searchers feel more confident that you will have the content they are searching for. You may be seeing lower traffic by pure numbers, but you will reach a smaller, more curated audience that is more likely to engage with you. 

The long tail keyword takes its name from the extensive tail you see in a normal distribution graph because these longer, more specific searches fall away from the heavily searched shorter main keywords. This visual metaphor demonstrates that even though long tail keywords on their own are not the most heavily searched option, there are more of them, and they face less competition. The tail also stretches forever, leading to an infinite number of “unpopular” searches. In other words, as you learn how to use long tail keywords, you can choose from countless less-competitive keywords to optimize. In fact, together, long tail keyword searches make up 70% of search queries

Using long tail keywords could also make you more attractive to advertisers. Popular keywords will be more expensive, especially if the advertisement is to appear at the top of the search. Keyword costs will decrease with long tail keyword searches. Long tail keywords will allow not just content pages but also advertisements to rank higher for cheaper. 


Because long tail keywords are more specific, you can cover variations of a head keyword. Consider someone who is buying shoes for Christmas on a budget. They can search “affordable black running shoes for boys,” “affordable blue running shoes for girls,” or “sturdy black running shoes for girls.” The combinations and variations go on and on. Each of these searches will return fewer results than “running shoes.” By casting a wide net with your long tail keywords, you can land top spots in multiple lower-traffic but higher-intention searches. 

using long tail keywords

Learning How to Use Long Tail Keywords

Identifying Long Tail Keywords

Before learning how to use long tail keywords, you need to identify the long tail keywords you want to optimize for. There are a few ways to see which long tail keywords are especially attractive. You could use a long tail keyword tool, and there are benefits to investing in keyword research to understand the keyword landscape fully. 

You can also conduct some searches of your own on Google and see what the results are. Paying attention to the autofill options may be wise, as they often reflect commonly searched queries related to the words you have already inputted. Google also often has a “People also ask” box near the top of their search. These questions are common searches by others and can give you insight into how questions are phrased and what people specifically look for. 

If you really want to target a small group or very specific needs, take a look at forums and what people are asking for. Reddit and Quora are often where people go when they struggle to find answers to their questions. By taking a look at what these small communities are engaging in, you can find topics that others haven’t addressed and incorporate them into your content. 

When it comes to selecting the best keywords to represent your business, reflect on your brand and what you offer. What is the most precise way you can describe your company? Do you offer services to a specific location? Is your content for a specific group? What makes your business unique? Learning how to convert your business offerings into keywords will help you identify and choose the long tail keywords you need. 

Incorporating Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords can be used in practically any form of digital content, from newsletters to social media posts. While it’s generally a good idea to use long tail keywords in all of your digital content, some places might yield more results than others. Including your long tail keyword in the headline of an article for a post, for example, will make it easier to locate on search engines.

You also need to strike a balance between including your long tail keywords and not sounding like a broken record. While repeated keywords can help with search engine optimization, overly saturating your content with keywords will prevent it from placing highly. Google, in particular, cares about user satisfaction and won’t rank the highest posts that feel unnaturally littered with long tail keywords. 

Consider your audience and use your long tail keywords to help guide the content you produce. Say you sell baking tools and have information on recipes. A professional baker would search for different things than someone who wants to make cupcakes for the first time. You could have some blog posts covering more higher-level techniques and a series of pages covering beginner’s recipes. Each long tail keyword strategy you have should target specific demographics. These audience-focused pages will also help you from creating content for the sole purpose of using long tail keywords to rank in searches, which would thin your content. 

Professional Help in Using Long Tail Keywords 

If you are looking to improve your search traffic, SEO Design Chicago has a myriad of SEO marketing and consulting services to support you. We can also help you learn to use Google Search Console Tools to track your performance on Google. We can also help you make sure you stand out amongst the other results.


  • What are long tail keywords?
  • How long are long tail keywords? 
  • What do people use long tail keywords for? 
  • How do I incorporate long tail keywords into my content? 
  • Why should I use long tail keywords?

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