What is a Long Tail SEO Keyword

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Updated on: August 23rd, 2022Sharon Sexton6 min read
What is a long tail seo keyword

Is Long Tail SEO useful? That is a good question and also a good example of a long-tail keyword. Confused? Don’t worry, we explain everything you need to know about long-tail SEO along with how you can get the most benefit from it in todays “user experience” styled internet.

What is Long Tail SEO?

SEO is search engine optimization. For that we utilize keywords. People type in something in the search bar of Google, Bing, or upon occasion Yahoo and from that the algorithms attempt to find the best match out of the glut of pages on the web. Most people are familiar with the concept.

Short keywords are those of the singular type and are often called the “core” keywords that you try and use on your pages. Long-tail keywords are a string of words. A few years ago long-tail SEO was a pretty hot commodity and people would create page after page that utilized long-tail keyword strings to try and ensure no matter how someone searched, their site would pop up high on the rankings.

For example a real estate based-site might try and corner the market on “real estate advice” by creating a bunch of pages with variations of that search phrase such as “best real estate advice”, “top real estate advice”, great real estate advice”, “best real estate tips” and so on. By utilizing dozens of search strings they could effectively cover all of the bases.

What changed?

The big change in the internet has to do with Google being so darn idealistic to try and create a search engine that actually finds what people are truly searching for. They truly want to provide answers and not just send you to a page that has the proper words in the headers and tags.

While those examples above might have the right terms, do they truly have the best real estate advice? What is the best real estate advice? Is that even a question? What is the user’s intent? That last question is the key because now Google is trying to be as intuitive as possible to understand each user as an individual and determine the intent of their search when they provide an answer.

With the changes in the way Google, and by default other search engines are working, people can now try and tailor what they provide to exactly the customers who need it.

Getting Better Conversions

The name of the game on the internet is conversions. It doesn’t matter how many hits you get to your site; it matters how many people click, subscribe, buy or commit whatever action you are trying to get them to do.

All of those long-tail search terms might have been great for casting a very big net to capture attention, but once captured did it result in anything? Core keyword searches and generic term long-tail searches not only face a lot of competition, but they also often fail to gain conversions because even if the content is of good quality with excellent information, it most likely will not be very relevant to the users actual intent when they entered their search terms.

The key is to now use long-tail keywords that accurately match up with the way people are specifically searching. Not only do you face less competition, but the results will be highly relevant to what you provide which translates to higher conversion rates. Assuming, that is, that the keywords you utilize do actually relate to what you provide.

  • If a user searches for “Halloween costumes” you really don’t have much of an idea what the intent of the user is. More than likely Google would pull up stores in the users’ immediate location that sell Halloween costumes.
  • However if a user searches for “making Halloween costumes for kids” then you know exactly what they want to find. The result is a much higher chance to provide a solution to the consumer.

Long-tail keywords are wonderful because they provide a clearer understanding of the users’ intent. Plus as more people are using voice activated searches they tend to speak in more of a long-tailed format. When we type a search it often involves as few words as we think we will need. Part of this is because many of us learned how to search for things using “core” keywords, plus most people are lazy. When you talk, however, you typically use more of a complete sentence, or at least a semblance of one; it is just how we talk. Humans use nouns, verbs and adverbs out of habit when talking.

While it might be nice to be ranked in the top 5 for a popular “core” keyword, being ranked number 1 for a few dozen long-tailed keywords will provide higher-converting customers, better time-on-page metrics and a much lower bounce rate. Searches are becoming more long tail SEO oriented so it makes sense that as a business, you should be too.

Published on: October 17th, 2013
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