What are long tail keywords?
Long tail keywords are simply phrases made up of 3+ words. Short tail keywords or ‘head’ terms are 1-2 words. Long tail keywords have lower search volumes because they aren’t as obvious of a search like short tail keywords are.
Why should I target long tail keywords?
You’re probably thinking, “Why would I target long tail keywords if the search volume is so much lower?” Most businesses have websites that are there to convert visitors, whether that conversion is revenue, signing up for a service or simply submitting a form to learn more. If we think of targeting keywords based on turning user intent into a converted user, it is easier to understand why we might want to target long tail keywords over short.
Let’s say I am in the car buying process. To start, I will do some research. What kind of car do I want? Do I want a compact car or an SUV? Do I want a Nissan or a Subaru? To do this research, I will most likely do some searches for just general terms like Subaru Forester to learn more about that specific car – like the safety features, general appearances, etc. These broad, short tail terms are incredibly competitive and have a lot of search volume because the research phase is where basically everyone starts from.
Once I have chosen the specific model of vehicle that I want (Subaru Forester, obviously) and other attributes (I want to lease it and it to be used), I will most likely begin looking at where I can buy the Forester and what kind of offers are currently available to save me money. This is where long tail keywords are important because I am in the later stages of the buying process – I am actively looking to purchase! This is when you want to bring visitors to your site to convert. The types of searches I might perform are Subaru Forester lease deals or used 2012 Subaru Forester for sale.
These longer tail searches have less volume, but the user is more likely to convert because they are looking for something very specific. The more targeted the keyword, the more likely the conversion.
Here is a screen shot between a short and long tail search –
So exactly what are the benefits of targeting long tail keywords?
- It is more targeted
- Targeting limited searches allows you to be more relevant to users
- Drives better quality visitors to your site – ones that are more likely to convert, boosting conversion rates
- There is less competition
- There are a lot of businesses that publish sites, articles, reviews about the Subaru Forester, but there are a lot less businesses that actually offer lease deals on used Foresters. This means the competition in the SERPs is a lot less frightening. Where you would be competing with the official Subaru site, Edmunds, cars.com and other high-profile, high domain authority auto sites in short tail searches; you are most likely competing with other dealerships and small businesses in the Subaru Forester lease deals SERPs.
- Makes it a heck of a lot easier to rank higher because the competition isn’t as intense
- It is cheaper
- We can take this information into account for PPC as well. Again, because there is less competition, you won’t have to bid as much for a long tail keyword.
It’s important to note that I’m not saying to forget short tail keywords all together. They are still significant! Some shorter keywords are able to convert just as well. For example, a dealership might want to target Subaru Sales if they have an event going on. This search still targets users further along in the buying process and would be a highly valuable keyword to target.
To figure out which to target, you need to do your research! Find quality keywords that are relevant and attainable to rank well for, and then go after ‘em. Good luck!