The saying “content is king” continues to ring throughout the digital marketing world. Since new customers are either searching for information or making transactions, your content needs to compel them to come to you! To engage users, companies often undertake serious paid search marketing (like Google Ads) or invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs). Whether creating content or maximizing user access through search engines, relevant search terms drive all digital marketing activities, but for new sites or existing sites intending to increase traffic, the main search terms are highly competitive. Additionally, almost every industry has a titan corporation that commands the most prominent terms; in the world of tax preparation, this may look like your local accounting firm trying to compete with the dominant presence of H&R Block. To level the playing field in the digital marketing space, the solution is long tail keywords (and local SEO).
What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are detailed search terms. To continue with the accounting example, “tax preparation” or “accountant” would be considered primary or main keywords. Because companies like H&R Block and even general information sites like Wikipedia will rank so highly for these terms, creating organic content at smaller or local accounting firms that would outrank these larger websites would be difficult. By allowing the search parameters to include terms with less but still significant search volume, smaller companies or companies looking to revitalize their digital presence can discover long tail keywords. Some examples of long term keywords stemming from the primary accounting terms might include “tax prep for freelancers” or “tax prep for small businesses in Farmington.”
Although identifying and building long tail keywords requires additional time and effort to identify, these terms benefit websites due to their relevance and proximity to the point of purchase. For example, potential customers may begin their research with the main keywords, but as they refine their own informational needs, the term specificity will increase.
Begin by taking four key steps to identifying long tail keywords and then discover how to build them further and create content around them!
How to Identify Long Tail Keywords
Both SEO keyword research and long tail keyword research follow the same process with a slight difference in the consideration of the lower search queries for long tail keyword research. If you already have your content calendar available for upcoming months, it might be helpful to access this document at this time, since you will eventually align the blog topics inspired by your long tail keyword findings with your anticipated holiday/occasion/marketing objectives.
Identify Competitors and Publishers
In addition to your main competitors, identify your “smart” competitors, as these businesses garner more visibility in search terms than their size might suggest. Publishers within a particular niche also tend to be on top of the most current trends or best practices and are frequently cited by companies in the same field which increases their traffic. Understandably, brand recognition enables industry leaders to appear frequently in SERPs. Investigating competitors who exceed what is typical for their website or business size and reputable publications provides helpful information about beneficial practices and target keywords that might be of use to you too.
Check Site Authority
After you’ve compiled the initial list of competitors and publishers, prioritize further exploration of sites and/or blogs with the highest domain and page authority. These higher-ranking contenders are your true online marketing competition, and determining niche long tail keywords will give you the edge to outrank their website content. After all, the goal of keyword incorporation is to increase the power of and traffic to your site, because more relevant traffic means more customers. An added bonus is that traffic for your main keywords will increase as the result of the site power improved through your long tail keyword development.
Identify Relevant & Related Topics
Keyword research drives successful SEO content strategy, because it continues to be a most effective method for identifying and developing blog topics and detecting long tail keywords. This research requires thoughtful planning and ongoing consideration about content ideation that aligns with the initial data collection. Be mindful of the following search recommendations, as you conduct your keyword research on the topics you brainstormed or distilled from investigating your competition and relevant publishers:
- Gauge Demand by looking for keywords that have significant and illustrated search demand.
- Understand Intentions by reviewing search queries to determine if searchers are focusing on gathering information, attempting to solve a problem or looking for a product.
- Measure Difficulty by analyzing the search volume of a search query and the difficulty of the terms, as these factors will help you choose terms to help outrank competitors.
Match Keyword Research to Blog Topics
After you’ve identified valuable keywords, you’ll connect them to potential blog topics. To organize your ideas, create a content calendar and list some actual blog topics. To organize your ideas, access or create a content calendar and list some actual blog topics. Returning to the accounting example, one would look at the calendar and the keyword findings, and then slot in the topic a month or so before the anticipated publication date for the content. For example, if “Last Minute Tax Tips” emerged as a long tail keyword, scheduling that content for February/March vs April 1 allows time for search traffic to locate and access the blog content prior to the busiest tax season.
People conduct searches for two main reasons: 1) to buy something or 2) find something out; actually, 80% of search queries are informational! Although these search queries derive from main keywords, discovering a long tail keyword that is also informational is a golden term. Put this golden term at the top of your blog topic list, and be sure to prioritize the development of a detailed post about it!
How to Build Long Tail Keywords
The digital marketing world is filled with helpful tools, so SEOers and content marketers can find these magical terms via the many available long tail keyword tools. Keyword features, which inherently include long tail keywords, are fairly standard on any platform that offers SEO solutions. Below, we’ve included the top 4 most popular and useful keyword tools on the market.
Google Keyword Planner
The foundation of keyword research is built on Google Keyword Planner, which stands to reason since Google is the main search engine and the intention of marketing strategies is to improve SERPs. First, log in to Google Ads; then, go to Tools and select Keyword Planner. Enter up to 10 main keywords into the Keyword Planner, and the search volume, competition, and CPC (cost-per-click) of each will appear. Relative to the submitted search terms, Google provides a comprehensive list and even potential Ad Groups, which will help with further filtering of individual search terms. Despite the competition rankings reflecting paid searches, you’ll still have a reasonable idea of the potential for organic success.
Moz Keyword Explorer
Moz’s Keyword Explorer began as a free SEO tool that identifies organic difficulty ranking. Now, this tool provides multiple SEO products to enlighten marketers about the strengths and weaknesses of their sites. Specifically in relation to identifying long tail keywords, this information about term difficulty provided through use of this tool is significant, as it helps individuals evaluate if the term is worth developing. Especially if significant search volume for the long tail keywords is already lacking, less difficult terms are better options. Finally, Keyword Explorer helps you build out your long term keywords, because it provides you with terms related to your initial search.
As one of the leading search and marketing tools today, SEMRush offers a range of features, including expansive and thorough keyword research. As it analyzes over 120 million keywords and 39 million domains, this software is an exemplary resource for keyword research. To begin your research, simply type the term for which you want the ranking in the search bar, and you’ll receive a keyword overview that includes search trends, CPC, and organic search volume; phrase match keywords, related keywords, organic search results; and term-related ads.
When you begin typing a main or seed term into the Google search bar, the Autocomplete feature of this powerful search tool automatically suggests expanded search terms. Leveraging this free SEO tool is a gift to digital marketers because of the ease with which long tail keywords emerge. The strategy in using this tool is simple: enter the term and review what Google lists. Clearing your browsing history or using Incognito mode enhances your search results. This ensures prior searches do not influence the suggested autocomplete. Question starters like “Why does X” or “How does Y” often prompt additional unique search phrases as well.
How to Create a Long Tail Keyword Strategy
Enhance your search engine optimization through the creation and development of long tail keyword strategy. Current successful SEO strategies already leverage high search terms in their on-page SEO for the home page, service and/or product pages, and extant blogs. Further develop your keyword strategy by extending blog topics to the integration of long tail keywords. Local companies also benefit from creating town pages to incorporate long tail keywords.
Build Long Tail Keywords Thru Sweet Spots
Accumulate additional long tail keywords by looking for “sweet spots.” These terms offer significant search volume and limited competition (or difficulty). Regarding main keywords, select terms with at least 1,000 monthly search terms and low to medium competition. For more advanced keyword research, add the evaluation of keyword difficulty, but be aware that this strategic investigation into long tail keywords will necessitate reducing the minimum search volume. Lower the threshold to terms with at least 100 monthly searches, instead of terms with over 1,000 monthly searches, and seek less competitive difficulty metrics. This strategy requires a bit of balance between art and science, but it will help you find those “sweet spots”!
Map Long Tail Keywords to Potential Blog Topics
After you’ve identified long tail keywords, map your selections to potential blog topics or additional pages on the site (if applicable). Due to their specificity and refinement, long tail keywords work well in glossary style blog posts. Are you or your business active in a field like healthcare, insurance, or finance that naturally deals with a multitude of specialized terms as main terms, not to mention long tail keywords? Develop a main glossary page with single sentence definitions, and link each term to longer informational posts! Especially for companies or professionals that have to negotiate privacy concerns, this glossary strategy can provide blog content, where other core activities may not be able to do.
Revisit the term findings for your competitors in relation to the keyword rankings, search volumes, and related terms; then, choose the best terms to be the foundation for blog topics. Again, highlight terms that the Keyword Planner shows relate to terms that rank well for your competitor. Remember: developing an equally informative piece of content on that related term helps redirect traffic from them to you!
Finally, expanding your content strategy to include a long tail keyword component and associated blog development boosts your current on-page SEO and overall marketing approach. With long tail keywords mapped to blog topics, content marketers expand relevant content on their site and better engage consumer interest. This greater audience awareness and target term use move users even closer to purchases. In short, long tail keyword strategies increase the power of your website, result in greater visibility, and encourage customer investment!