Our Secret to SEO Wins? Long-Tail Keywords. Here’s How We Do It

Our Secret to SEO Wins? Long-Tail Keywords. Here’s How We Do It

Search engine optimization (SEO) might sound like a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo, but with the right strategy in your corner, every business owner can become an SEO pro. All you need is an SEO strategy and a checklist of best practices, and you’re off to the races!

As a small business, one of the most important SEO strategies is to use long-tail terms. Also called long-tail keywords, targeting these phrases helps you stand out in the crowded digital landscape and attracts targeted traffic to your site that’s more likely to convert. 

If you’re dipping your toes into SEO and need a strategy to get ahead, long-tail keywords are your best friend. In this guide, we’ll explain how long-tail keywords work, share a few of our favorite keyword research tools, and show you how to optimize your search visibility with the right keywords. 

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are more detailed, specific phrases that contain three or more words. Unlike short-tail keywords, which are shorter and much more competitive, long-tail search phrases are more targeted, making them valuable for driving organic traffic to your website. 

Long-tail keywords cater to more precise search queries, reflecting a stronger user search intent. For example, instead of targeting the broad keyword "running shoes," the long-tail version would be "women's running shoes with arch support." That’s way more specific, isn’t it?

Getting more granular with your target search terms comes with a lower search volume, but the people who do find you know exactly what they need, boosting the likelihood of higher conversion rates

The key, of course, is to find the right long-tail keywords. You have to understand your target audience really well to know which terms they’re most likely to use. But if you play your cards right, you’ll integrate long-tail keywords into your content strategy and significantly improve your search engine visibility. 

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords for SEO Victory

Long-tail keywords are so valuable to SEO, but how do you find them? And how do they fit into your content? Follow these steps to integrate effective long-tail keywords into your landing page copy, product pages, and more.

1. Use Keyword Research Tools

First things first, you need to make a list of relevant keywords. Fortunately, long-tail keywords like to hide in plain sight. You can find keyword ideas by sifting through:

  • Social media: What trending hashtags are people using in your niche? Users search for hashtags to find information on social media, making hashtags a rich source of keyword ideas!
  • Online forums: Check forums like Quora, Reddit, and industry-specific messaging boards to see what kinds of questions your audience is asking. This is the perfect opportunity to spot keywords phrased as questions, which is how a lot of users interact with search engines. 
  • Voice search suggestions: Question-based long-tail keywords are more popular today because of voice assistants like Google Assistant and Siri. The thing is, people use totally different phrasing when they’re speaking out loud than when they’re typing. To stand out in voice search, look for long-tail keyword ideas in frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages on competitor websites. You can also brainstorm ideas by speaking phrases out loud yourself; that will help you pinpoint the more conversational tone of voice-enabled search.

Some people find keyword variations by looking at related searches, like Google’s “People Also Ask” autocomplete feature. That’s a valid way to generate popular keyword options, but it can take a lot of time. 

You don’t have to scour the internet for long-tail keyword ideas. The right keyword research tools will help you discover long-tail terms that have high search volume and low competition. Not all of them will have a ton of searches, of course, but the more long-tail options you target, the easier it will be for you to score quicker SEO wins. 

SEO tools like Semrush, Google Keyword Planner, and Ahrefs provide keyword suggestions that are highly relevant to your niche. Simply plug in a seed keyword, and the software will handle the rest. For example, if you’re a pet store, plug in a seed keyword like “dog collars” to generate more specific keyword ideas. Not all of the keyword ideas will be winners, but these tools will seriously speed up the process. 

2. Conduct a Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis will show you how your competitors use long-tail keywords. It can feel a little strange spying on the competition, but the goal here isn’t to copy their keyword strategy; it’s to get the lay of the land. By conducting a thorough competitive analysis, you can identify which long-tail terms your competitors are ranking for and how they incorporate these keywords into their content. Think of it as an inspiration-gathering exercise.

Keyword tools like Semrush and Ahrefs are great for competitor keyword research. Use these tools to analyze the keywords driving traffic to competitors’ websites. The tools also make it a cinch to look up: 

  • Monthly search volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Search engine results page (SERP) positions

Who knows? The analysis could yield some pretty nice keyword phrases with less competition. Plus, examining your competitors’ content could give you some fun content ideas! 

3. Try Keyword-Targeting Strategies

Everybody has their own way of doing SEO, and that includes keyword-targeting strategies. If you’re new to SEO, try a few keyword targeting strategies to see what clicks.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but some of the most common keyword-targeting strategies include: 

  • Content clusters: Organize your content around central themes with long-tail keywords as subtopics. This creates a structured content network that gives your audience the chance to do deep dives into various topics. For example, a health blog might create a pillar piece about healthy eating with content clusters on plant-based weight loss, meal planning for families with small children, and nutrition hacks for people with diabetes. 
  • User intent matching: Focus on long-tail keywords that align with different stages of the buyer’s journey. Are they looking for information right now, or are they ready to buy? For example, someone looking for general information on fitness equipment might like long-tail keywords like “how to choose fitness equipment,” while someone who’s ready to make a purchase might search for “buy stationary bike online.”
  • Local SEO: If your business serves specific areas, target location-specific long-tail keywords. This strategy attracts local customers who are searching for services or products in your area. For example, instead of a short-tail keyword like “beauty parlor,” choose a local option like “beauty parlor in Central District Seattle.” 

4. Optimize Existing Content

While there’s a lot of value in creating new content targeting long-tail keywords, you don’t have to start from scratch. It’s a best practice to go back and revamp your existing website content for SEO performance, whether that’s through: 

  • Keyword integration: Incorporate long-tail keywords naturally into your titles, headings, meta descriptions, and body content. This improves your search engine rankings and makes your content more relevant.
  • Content tweaks: Improved content is more likely to rank higher in organic search. Update every piece of content to make them more comprehensive and valuable. This can include adding new information, incorporating related keywords, and enhancing the overall user experience.
  • Internal linking: Both search engines and users rely on internal links to navigate related pages on your site. Use long-tail keywords as anchor text for internal links to other relevant pages on your website. This spreads link equity and improves your chances of ranking on the first page of Google.

5. Track Long-Tail Keyword Performance

Performance tracking is a must for any new initiative in your business, but it’s extra important for SEO. After all, if you don’t monitor where you are today, how will you know if targeting long-tail keywords is making a difference in your business?

Keyword tracking tools like Google Analytics help you track rankings, search volume, and traffic. Focus on key metrics like conversion rates, bounce rates, and average time on page to gauge the effectiveness of your long-tail search terms. High-performing keywords should show a positive impact on these metrics, which indicates your audience likes what you have to offer. 

Reign Supreme in Google Search With High-Quality Content

Long-tail keywords are an SEO goldmine, but it can still take as long as six months to see your hard work pay off. Still, it’s worth investing in long-tail keywords to see a slow but steady rise in search traffic, conversions, and audience engagement. 

The tips in this guide will get you far, but you’ll need to spend hours every week tweaking keywords and optimizing content to maximize your investment in SEO. Phew!

If you don’t have 10+ hours a week to dedicate to SEO-friendly content, work with Growth Machine. Our team of dedicated SEO content experts handles everything for you, cranking out quality blog posts that include long-tail keywords designed to turn heads. Contact Growth Machine now to brainstorm your next big content marketing campaign.

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