If your goal is to rank well in the SERPs and draw as many qualified leads as possible through your content, aka online SEO copywriting, long-tail keywords are going to be your best friend.
Here’s a simple example to illustrate just what I mean: as it stands right now, Amazon rakes in a whopping 57% of its sales as a result of long-tail keywords!
In addition to the fact that long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because they’re generally less competitive, long-tail keywords also help you draw high-quality leads to your content because all the traffic long-tails drive is very, very relevant. I’ve relied on using long-tails myself in the last year to build up a repertoire of well-ranking, well-shared content on my blog.
Why YOU Need Long-Tail Keywords in Your SEO Copywriting Arsenal
Here’s what you need to know about long-tail keywords and how to incorporate them into your SEO strategy.
101: What are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are search queries made up of three-four word phrases that are very specific to a product, good, or service that’s being sold. Long-tail keywords are the phrases search engine users are generally more likely to type in when they’re closer to purchasing an item.
Examples of long-tail keyword phrases:
- Aztec printed 3×5’ entry rug (not entry rug)
- juice bar in Austin, TX (not juice bar)
- size S white dress for homecoming (not white dress)
The searcher who typed these phrases are looking for a very specific product and is likely to purchase it when they find it. While long-tail keywords may seem a little clunky and strange at first, they’re a powerful tool for your web-based SEO copywriting.
The conversion rate for long-tail keywords is approximately 2.5 times higher than it is for head (shorter) keywords.
3 Major Reasons to Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
In the world of SEO and copywriting, long-tail keywords don’t often get as much airtime as their shorter counterparts. Unfortunately, however, marketers who neglect long tail keywords can easily find themselves in a position where they’re missing out on quality traffic and failing to produce all of the conversions that they easily could.
Here are three reasons that you should be focusing on long-tail keywords:
1. Less competition
When it comes to targeting and ranking for keywords, fewer people are going to be targeting “Salvador Dali vintage-inspired 1980’s duvet cover” than will be targeting “comforter.” Because of this, it’s much, much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than it is general search terms. While general terms may be easier to use, long-tail keywords are amazingly specific and, for the marketer who knows exactly what he or she is trying to sell, they can be a speedway toward ranking success.
Additionally, long-tail keywords that present less competition also offer lower cost-per-click prices since few marketers are targeting them.
2. More conversions
Because long-tail keywords are so amazingly specific, the people that search for them are highly likely to purchase your products. The longer and more specific the keyword is – the better. As long-tail keywords become more specific, the number of people searching for them narrows considerably. While this may seem like a frightening prospect at first, it’s important to remember that the people who are searching for that wacky Dali-inspired bedspread are highly likely to purchase it. Because of this, marketers who target long-tail keywords effectively can nab more purchases than their competitors.
3. More relevant results
Relevance is everything in today’s market and copywriters and SEOs who know how to focus on long-tail keywords will invariably provide more relevant search results for customers. Over time, this simple step can go a long way toward increasing customer loyalty, producing quality word-of-mouth advertising, and helping a brand gain dominance and build authority in a niche.
How to use Long-Tail Keywords
While long-tail keywords can provide a serious boost for your content, you’ll need to know how to use them correctly – which isn’t always easy. Follow these steps to get started:
1. Decide what your content is trying to do
Think of long-tail keywords like the ship and your content like a map. One can’t function well without the other. If you don’t know what the overall goal of your content (information, sales, conversions, etc.) is, then it’s impossible to utilize long tail keywords effectively. Because of this, it’s imperative to understand the overall purpose of your content before you start searching for long-tail keywords to beef it up.
To get this process started, sit down and write out the three top goals of your web content. For example, maybe you want it to inform people, drive email subscriptions, and produce sales. Once you’ve defined your top three goals, ensure that everything else in your content is working to support them. This includes your headlines, your social sharing functions, and the value offered by your content. If your content as a whole doesn’t work, is unreadable, or doesn’t provide value, then all of the long-tail keywords in the world won’t be enough to help it. Because of this, evaluating the structure and functionality of your content as a whole helps you lay the foundation for using long-tail keywords effectively down the road.
2. Decide who you’re writing to
No matter what kind of web writing you specialize in, marketing personas are important. By defining who, exactly, you’re writing your content to, you can provide more valuable information, tailor your language effectively, and produce more conversions. This is true for everything from introductory “How-to” articles to high-level niche content. In the case of long-tail keywords, however, it’s especially important.
Because long-tail keywords are so very specific, it’s absolutely imperative to have a solid idea of who your target audience is before you begin writing. When you visualize your ideal reader in as much detail as possible, you’re better equipped to provide valuable content specifically for them. When it comes to long-tail keywords, this can mean the difference between SEO success and flat-out failure. This is especially true for marketers who intend to use long-tail keywords in personalized emails, landing pages, or social media.
3. Use essential SEO keyword research tools
You can’t do your long-tail keyword research correctly without tools, of course. I’ll run through the main ones I use and include some top recommendations.
SEMrush: This is my favorite tool. SEMrush is a hugely effective long-tail keyword research tool–currently, the leading one online. Because SEMrush allows you to see how your competitors are ranking for given keywords, it’s the stand-out tool that many professionals prefer. Additionally, SEMrush allows you to see which keywords your competitors are bidding on, so you can tailor your keyword strategy accordingly.
Marketers who don’t have a SEMrush account need to get one in order to use the platform for keyword research, but I’ll walk you through it anyway. I’ve pulled up a general keyword search on black shoes in SEMrush’s Keyword Analytics section to give you a screenshot, and below it are a few steps.
- Log into your SEMrush account and navigate to the left column
- Scroll to “Keyword Analytics” and click “overview”
- Enter a relevant topic or keyword (your target search term) into the search bar at the top of the page and click “Search”
- Once you do this, you’ll be confronted by a barrage of data. For best results, check out the “Related keywords” section or click “View full report,” below the Phrase match keyword section. From here, select any keywords that are more than 3-4 words long and consider targeting them as your long-tail phrases from now on, and narrow down by a good balance of low competition, high search volume, and relevance. (My upcoming book will have a whole chapter with more on this: it really is in art in itself to select best-fit keywords!)
Google AdWords Keywords Planner: Long hailed as the pinnacle of keyword research, the Keyword Planner offers a unique tool that can be helpful for the marketer searching for long-tail keyword ideas – namely, the “Get ideas” function. Once you’ve logged into your AdWords Keywords Planner dashboard, enter your main keyword phrase (“duvet cover,” for example) and click “Get ideas.” From there, you’ll be able to access all of the keywords featured and you can simply choose your long-tail keyword phrases from results featuring 4 or more words. Just remember it has limitations and won’t give you as much data as another tool might.
AuthorityLabs, Wordtracker, UberSuggest: These are all great tools recommended by top marketers and friends of mine in the content marketing space. I’d suggest you check them all out if you’re looking for more tools to add to your category than the ones I use the most (above). Another tool: I also love BuzzSumo and use it regularly for wider topic research; it would be perfect for your long-tail keyword searches, simply by finding what’s hot on your overall topic. I like to get content inspiration from the most-shared or hottest content in my niche, using BuzzSumo.
4. Start writing
Once you’ve decided which long-tail keyword phrases you should be targeting, it’s time to create content to house them. With long-tail keywords, as with everything else, it’s important to remember that stuffing keywords will get you nowhere and that you need to incorporate keywords naturally into your content in order to make it valuable for humans and search engines alike.
Here are some general guidelines for including long-tail keywords into your content:
- Use long-tail keywords in your headings. Headlines are often considered the single most important line in a piece of content. Because about 80% of people read headlines, whereas only 20% read body copy, headlines are also an outstanding opportunity for you to make a splash with your customer right off the bat. The best headline for SEO utilizes keywords early and helps make it clear exactly how the content included beneath the headline will benefit your reader. Power words, numbers, and promises to solve problems (i.e., “Four simple ways to find the duvet cover of your dreams”) are all good bets. If you’re having a difficult time coming up with an idea for a headline, use a tool like Buzzsumo to check out content that’s gone viral and then craft your headline based on those.
- Use keywords naturally, always. Long-tail keywords must blend in with your content, which is often easier said than done due to the fact that, by their very nature, long-term keywords are seldom natural and low-profile. Don’t be afraid to break up the words in your long-tail phrase or add colons to make them more readable. Today’s search engines are trending more toward intention than they are literal interpretation, so they’ll have no trouble understanding your long-tail phrase.
- Include keywords in your introduction. Your introduction sets the stage for the rest of your content, so it’s important to get it right. By including long-tail keywords in your introductory body content, you can immediately make it clear to readers that your content is relevant, useful, and specific, which enhances the chance that a reader will stick around to see what you have to offer.
- Include long-tail keywords in subheads. Including long-tail keywords in subheads helps your readers navigate your content quickly and efficiently. It also helps back up any claims you made in your headline and help guide readers to a solution. Keep in mind that any long-tail keywords you include in your subheads should be relevant and flow naturally. This will help enhance user experience and ensure that your text is readable and relevant.
- Include long–tail keywords in your conclusion. Including long-tail keywords in your conclusion helps to back up your claims, wrap up your message, and send readers away with a strong sense of relevance and purpose. Because of this, including long-tail keywords naturally in the conclusion of your content is one of the most important steps you can take.
While long-tail keywords may be confusing, this simple guide can help you get started on the path to SEO dominance.I’d also recommend Neil Patel’s guide, here.
From driving more sales to producing more conversions than you ever thought possible, long-tail keywords are a powerful tool for success in SEO copywriting.
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