The internet is big, really big. Did you know there are over 100 billion searches by more than 1.17 billion unique users per month?
If you aren’t diligent about using techniques to get your content noticed, it can easily get lost and overlooked (or never seen!). Long tail keywords are one major way to attract the right visitors who will most likely convert.
Search engines like Google are always refining the algorithms used to return search results. In the end, they are looking to give the user exactly the information they are searching for – quickly. Websites have a part to play as well. They not only have to provide answers and information that the public is looking for, but they have to tell the search engines what is represented on their pages using SEO techniques like meta tags, unique titles and headings, and long tail keywords. When websites do these things well, they will rank higher than those that do not. Higher rankings mean higher traffic, and higher traffic means more conversions (most of the time).
While using SEO techniques WILL increase organic traffic, long tail keywords are intended to increase the quality of organic traffic. Intentionally using long tail keywords also means you have to create great content that supports your long tail keywords.
What are long tail keywords?
Users are looking for information at a rate of 2.3 million searches per second. The numbers matter but not as much as much as the combination of words users type in when searching. We call these long tail keywords, and they are the secret to gaining the traffic you want on your website. The set of words can be a phrase or a whole sentence. The longer the phrase, the more specific the search results will be. Search engines compare the long tail keywords to indexed pages and return sites that are optimized for that particular phrase or sentence.
The idea is that by targeting a specific set of words together, your content will rank higher.
When someone searches for “brown leather couch,” the search is more meaningful and specific that just searching the word “couch.” In the world of ecommerce, this is important. If you have brown leather couches, optimize those particular pages so they have a better chance of coming up in search results. Other sites that do NOT have “brown leather couches” may not appear at all.
Why target long tail keywords and not just keywords?
Keywords are great to target, especially the name of your business. However, the competition is fierce for top searched keywords! If you are a small business, paying to target top keywords is probably not in your marketing budget. But you can afford to research top phrases your audience is searching and optimize your site (your blog included) to target those long tail keywords. A higher rate of conversions is generally worth the investment.
A conversion can be a newsletter signup, a purchase, or a donation to your organization. Going after specific users typing in long tail keywords that fit your target audience increases your conversion rates. How? Users who search in phrases are looking for very specific content – a specific recipe, reviews on a cat product, exercise tips, digital marketing advice, etc. When they find it, they are more likely to buy into your brand because you are speaking their language and have given them valuable information. Give them a reason to join your community of followers and come back for more.
Tip: First, research your audience and make sure that your website and overall digital marketing strategy are in sync with your target audience. What are they searching? What time of day are they on the internet? This information coupled with your list of long tail keywords will be your beginning to driving more traffic.
How does this work in real life?
Let’s look at an example using Yellowstone National Park. The word “Yellowstone” is an extremely competitive keyword with travel sites like www.TravelWyoming.com and www.ypf.org (Yellowstone Park Foundation) paying to rank in the top spots. For bloggers and small businesses, the key is to answer specific questions that your audience is asking about Yellowstone so you can rank for a long tail keyword instead of just the keyword “Yellowstone”.
A search might look something like this, “Can I bring my dog to Yellowstone?” This is a very specific question. Another related search might be, “The best hiking trails in Yellowstone.” Both use the keyword “Yellowstone,” but the words around it tell Google to search for completely different content.
More than 60 trillion web pages are indexed by Google.
Their robots constantly crawl pages for new and valuable information to make the user experience the best it can be. Google tries to match up what you are searching for to the information that will solve the problem, whether it be the best pizza in your city or a DIY YouTube video on how to fix your computer. Incorporate long tail words into your digital strategy and attract the quality traffic that will turn into conversions for your business!