Definition: long tail keywords are search phrases that are highly relevant to your specific niche, product, service or topic, have low competition level, comparatively low search volume and, generally, consist of 3+ words.
Why Target Long Tail Keywords?
- Better quality traffic and higher conversion rates. Long tail keywords are more specific, which means visitors that land on your website from a long tail search term are more qualified. Content targeting unicorn costumes for kids, for example, will receive more relevant traffic than content targeting unicorn costumes. And since the content on that page is more relevant to the searcher, a greater percentage of that traffic is likely to purchase the costume for their kid.
- Because long tail keywords are less competitive. Everyone looking for unicorn costumes for kids is looking for unicorn costumes; not everyone looking for unicorn costumes is looking for unicorn costume for kids. In other words, the more niche you get, the less competitive it is.
- Long tail keywords help you stay agile. If you slip in the SERPs for a head term (if you’re one of the few ranking for it) it is a dramatic blow to your business with a rough road to recovery. If you diversify with long tail search terms, losing rankings on a few phrases won’t disrupt your business, and you can regain those listing positions quickly.
- Long tail search helps you rank for difficult terms. By including the head terms in your long tail keyword phrases, you’re also gaining traction on that difficult search term. You can also boost pages targeting competitive terms by linking to them from your high ranking pages targeting long tail variations of that head term.
- Long tail search is the most popular type of search. Long tail search comprises 70% of search traffic. As searchers become more confident in how Google returns results for their query, they’re free to be more specific with search queries instead of defaulting to a generic term and sifting through results to find what they’re looking for.
How to Analyze & Improve Your Long Tail Search Strategy
- keyword analytics Measure the amount of traffic you currently drive for long tail keywords. By establishing this from the beginning, you’ll be able to measure if you’re gaining traction for those keyword phrases month over month.
- Analyze how useful the long tail traffic is. If you end up in the top of the SERPs for a long tail keyword phrase but drive no traffic for it, it’s not a good place to spend your time. If you get traffic but low conversions, start testing your calls-to-action and landing pages. If, after A/B testing CTAs and landing pages, you’re still seeing no improvements, focus your efforts on more profitable keywords.
- Determine which keywords yield the most revenue. A customer was once a prospect, a prospect was once a lead, and a lead was once (maybe) a long tail searcher. Start tracking which long tail keywords drive the most future customers. Over time, you can even attribute customer acquisition costs and lifetime customer value metrics to this equation.
- Evaluate the success of content optimized with long tail keywords. Metrics to consider are bounce rate, time on page, social reach, and inbound links. If visitors leave a blog post about how to make a unicorn costume in 4 seconds, for example, one can infer that blog post is not useful for people searching that term.
- Piggyback on success by targeting similar terms. When you’ve identified long tail keyword phrases that drive traffic, conversions, and other positive site metrics, experiment with synonyms of those words. For example, if there’s success with the term unicorn costumes for kids, there is probably also opportunity with the term unicorn costumes for children.
- Identify holes and opportunities in your content. If you see people coming to your site from relevant search terms you hadn’t considered, there’s an opportunity to optimize your site for that group of searchers.