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At the heart of any SEO project lies the step of keyword research. You might have come across various articles about targeting the right keywords including long tail keywords.
When one looks at examples of long tail keywords, it seems counter intuitive to think that they drive a lot of traffic.
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In this article, I make a compelling case as to why your website must rank for a variety of long tail keywords, why you should focus on this type of keywords more than any other, and most importantly how to implement them effectively.
Let’s say that you are in the business of furniture and that you want to target ‘classic furniture’. If you enter that search query, you will notice that the websites that rank well for such a generic keyword are huge businesses and large ecommerce sites.
For small and medium businesses, it can take lots of time and resources to rank for such keywords. Assuming that you do rank for this keyword, what are the chances that you stock all of the furniture that comes under this category?
As you see, using highly generic keywords not only makes it extremely difficult for you to rank but also results in higher bounce rates.
Continuing with the same example, one effective step you can take is to take a good look at your inventory and target something more specific.
What category of furniture contributes most to your sales? Let’s say contemporary art-deco style living room furniture.
Bingo! You have your first long tail keyword.
One huge advantage of using long tail keywords over generic keywords is that your prospective customers are through with their research phase and know what exactly they want to buy.
In this case, they don’t want any classic furniture. They are specifically looking for contemporary, art-deco style living room furniture.
You will notice that the popularity for long tail keywords will be low compared to generic keywords. However, the quality of inbound traffic will be high resulting in higher conversion rates.
If we plot a graph of keyword popularity vs search volume, it will be something like this:
SEO specialists compared this graph with Chinese dragons to come up with the visual metaphor “Long Tail Keywords”.
From the picture above, we can infer that:
According to some highly reliable statistics, long tail keywords make up about 70% of all searches.
It must be noted that in the graph above the volume of search results for long tail keywords is a summation of the volume for a variety of keywords as opposed to generic keywords that are few and specific.
With generic keywords the competition can be stiff due to high search volume and because these keywords are vague, the probability of search result matching the user intent is low. This results in low ROI and high costs of running a campaign.
With long tail keywords, the scenario is completely opposite. Although the search volume is low, you will find that the probability of search results matching user intent is high. This can be attributed to the specific nature of these keywords.
Further more, users who enter generic keywords are still in research phase in most cases so they are not yet ready to buy your product.
With smart selection of long tail keywords, you can target potential customers who are in ‘buy’ phase and if they find what they want (and in most cases they do), they will make the purchase on their first visit.
It’s fairly obvious to note that the cost of running a PPC or a paid ads campaign is directly proportional to the competition. Higher the competition, more you pay for every click.
What’s not so straight forward is the the cost of ranking higher in organic search.
With lower competition, it’s easier to rank for long tail keywords. As a result you will be spending lesser resources and rank higher in short span of time.
While most tools that help you with keyword research suggest keywords that forms a part of ‘the head of the dragon’, there are few reliable tools that can be constant source for long tail keywords.
Let’s explore some of the tools.
One of the finest and most reliable tool for keyword research is SEMRush. This is a comprehensive keyword research tool and includes long tail keyword finder.
This is a paid service that comes with a 14-day free trail. So if you are starting your SEO project, you can use the trail period and gather as many long tail keywords as possible during this free trial.
This tool comes with a host of additional features such as the difficulty level for ranking for each keyword.
Although this is one of the newer tools out there, the tool is gaining rapid popularity among the SEO folks.
This is a relatively simple tool to use. Just enter your business term or any related word that you want to research. The tool comes up with a list of ten most popular keywords in that category.
Once you arrive at this screen, you’ll be prompted to enter your email address for you to receive a full list of long tail keywords related to your business niche.
Using long tail keywords is certainly a huge differentiating factor when it comes to attracting the right visitors to your site.
In addition to the various advantages that we have covered in the earlier sections, these keywords create a higher degree of engagement with your visitors as they will find what exactly they are looking for and that results in a lower bounce rate.
They also increase click through rates for the same reason that the search results match user intent.
Lower bounce rate and higher click through rates contribute significantly to your organic SEO endeavors and soon you will find yourself in a positive upward spiral. And at this point in time, it becomes easier for you to aim at high competition keywords.
Now that you are all set to explore a neglected part of keyword implementation, you are in a really good position to leverage an advantage that your competitors are missing out.
Feel free to experiment and innovate to come up with strategies that suit your need. And don’t forget to use the comments section below to let me know what worked for you, any questions or comments you might have. I’ll make sure to get back to you with more insights and ideas.