Are you tired of trailing behind on the search engine results pages (SERPS)?
I get you. Nobody likes losing out to competitors. But what should bother you most is when you invest effort and money in SEO but don’t get the desired results.
If that sounds familiar, you’re reading the right article.
Your SEO efforts may be failing if you are investing in outdated SEO techniques, like targeting short, popular keywords.
You need to revamp your SEO strategy and start focusing on long-tail keywords.
Actually, it’s a sound strategy, backed by research and successful use cases.
In this post, I’ll explain how you can take advantage of long-tail keywords to top the SERPs.
But first, let’s talk about what long-tail keywords are and why they matter.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords and Why Do They Matter?
Long-tail keywords contain three or more words. They are very precise but unpopular search terms. By “unpopular,” I mean they generate fewer searches than corresponding shorter keywords. Then, why do I recommend using them?
That’s because long-tail keywords convert exceptionally well. They closely resemble the actual search queries that people type in search engines. Since they match user intent so precisely, they get more clicks and your website gets more targeted traffic.
One of my blog posts about Instagram Spaces is getting a lot of traction on Google. I compiled the keywords it’s ranking for, and here is what I found:
Note that “how to space out Instagram captions” (a long-tail keyword) beats its shorter counterpart (“Instagram spaces”) in most aspects. It’s generating more clicks, click-throughs (CTR) and gets me to position two on the SERPs.
Though it’s lagging in impressions, that doesn’t impact my website traffic as much as the other parameters.
If you’re still not convinced about the efficacy of long-tail keywords, take a look at their main advantages below.
1. Long-Tail Keywords Have Low Competition
There is fierce competition to rank for short keywords. But their targeting is not as precise as long-tail keywords.
Fewer marketers target long-tail keywords, though the trend is changing after Google’s Panda update. Lower competition means more opportunities to rank as well as more cost savings (more on that later).
Image via Instapages
To verify the low-competition claim, I did some keyword research of my own.
I compared the keyword difficulty (KD) of three semantically-similar keywords (LSI): “lose weight,” “how to lose weight,” and “how to lose weight fast.” Take a look at the results:
Image via SEMrush
The longest keyword had the lowest difficulty score (KD%). That means you can reach the top of the SERPs faster if you build your content around longer keywords. That’s good news as moving up one spot on SERPs can improve your CTR by nearly 30.8%, according to Backlinko.
2. Long-Tail Keywords Help Drive Qualified Traffic
I already mentioned how content that is optimized for long-tail keywords satisfies user intent.
What exactly is “user intent” or “search intent”? It is what triggers users to turn to devices (the web, in this case) in search of information. User intent can be transactional (buying-type), informational (educational-type), or navigational (locational-type).
If you understand a searcher’s intent, you can present them with content they are looking for, which can push them down the sales funnel.
Long-tail keywords help you align content with user intent.
When a searcher types a query like “affordable camping gear in Texas,” (a long-tail keyword), you know they are ripe to convert. You can serve them listicles of top suppliers or tools to search for vendors, or to your own product pages (if that’s relevant).
For doing this, you can create SEO pages with exact-match keyword anatomy. You can include the long-tail keywords in the page copy, meta-tags, and images so that Google crawlers don’t miss your page. You can create an SEO friendly landing page using the best landing page software.
If your content is insightful and high-quality, there’s a good chance that the searcher will engage with it. Being broad terms, shorter keywords don’t have scope for such precise matching. That’s why long-tail keywords are more effective in driving targeted traffic organically.
3. Long-Tail Keywords Are Cheaper
Now, we come to the best part about long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords have lower cost-per-click (CPC) compared to their shorter peers.
Image via Instapages
CPC is the actual amount you pay when you invest in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. If you build your Google ads around long-tail keywords, you incur lower advertising costs since these keywords have a low CPC. As a result, you can draw more mileage from your advertising spend.
Refer to this image from the “lose-weight” example we saw earlier.
Each click on Google ads that target “how to lose weight” will incur you a cost of $1.21. The cost goes up as the target keyword gets shorter.
In short, long-tail keywords can help you excel at organic as well as paid searches.
How Can You Use Long-Tail Keywords to Drive Website Traffic
As you can make out, long-tail keywords can help you win the coveted top position on Google. No matter how often Google algorithms are updated, targeting long-tail keywords remains the preferred strategy of experienced content marketers.
Yes, long-tail keywords are the secret weapon to win more website visitors. But that doesn’t mean that you should stuff them in your landing pages and other pages. After Google’s RankBrain algorithm, such marketing ploys can get you a red flag.
Here are five ways you can use long-tail keywords naturally in your website content.
1. Write Keyword-Rich Headlines
Your page headlines grab the attention of Google crawlers first. So, front-load your long-tail keywords in your page titles.
If you’re wondering how to write catchy headlines, use Google’s Keywords Planner, Just insert your target keyword and hit the “Get Ideas” button.
Image via Google Keyword Planner
Google will list variations of your target keyword.
Next, identify the search intent of the keyword variation you select. Simply, copy-paste the keyword into Google’s search bar and click on “Enter.” Analyze the kind of pages ranking on the SERP. You will learn what kind of content Google indexes for the keyword.
Image via Google
In this example, I can see that service pages are topping the charts for the keyword “affordable search engine optimization.” So, I can either create a new, optimized service page or keyword-enrich my existing service page.
Whatever format you select, ensure that the keyword should fit naturally in your headlines and sub-headings. You can try LSI keywords in the Related Search section or auto-fill suggestions.
2. Write Long-Form Content
When we compare long-form and short-form content from an SEO perspective, longer content wins, hands down.
Why, you ask?
Because longer content offers more opportunities to add long-tail keywords. Your page’s keyword density increases. Plus, they allow you to deep dive into the topic and deliver value to consumers. All these factors add up to make your page attractive to search engines and visitors.
Since our key concern today is attracting website traffic, you need not worry about losing social audiences who don’t have the patience to read lengthy content. You can also use tools like LinkedIn automation tools, Facebook tools, etc to get best results for your social audiences.
3. Optimize File Names
Lastly, don’t forget to add long-tail keywords to your page URLs. Enrich your image URLs as well. The Backlinko research I cited earlier shows that if your page URL perfectly matches your target keywords, the organic CTR soars.
Image via Backlinko
Even Google recommends this. Their Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide says that site URLs should resonate with the page content, which is molded around keywords.
Image via Google
Are You Ready to Be a Long-Tail Pro?
Long-tail keywords are effective but underrated. However, seasoned marketers vouch for their effectiveness, especially for driving organic traffic. Today, I’ve explained how they can help you excel at PPC marketing as well.
Do you have any questions about SEO for website optimization? Leave them in the comments below. I’m always happy to answer.