February 22, 2019
Not getting enough traffic? It’s probably time that you added long-tail keywords to your SEO strategy.
Long-tail keywords are one of the best weapons for drawing in more of the right traffic. In other words, they bring in more of the right customers who are interested in doing business with you, and they can help you rank higher.
In this article, we take a look at why long-tail keywords are so important, as well as how you can find and use them to supercharge your traffic.
The Importance of Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords usually contain 3 words or more. They’re super focused and they laser in on specific users who are looking for very specific content.
For example, ‘online marketing’ is a short-tail keyword that has the potential to draw in a variety of users who are all looking for different things. Moreover, it’s really competitive and therefore hard to rank for.
‘Online marketing for small businesses’, on the other hand, is more refined, tells users – and Google – exactly what your content is all about, and it’s less competitive. This means it’s easier to rank for, and will help you bring in more of the right traffic. It also improves the customer experience because it helps them get to the right page faster.
The more specific you are with your keywords, the more you will bring in more high-quality traffic.
How to Find Long-Tail Keywords
The great thing about long-tail keywords is that there are lots of different ways to find ‘em.
Each time a user types a phrase into Google, the search engine will then automatically offer up related suggestions. These suggestions are long-tail, targeted keywords that tell you more about what your audience is looking for.
To cover autocomplete’s across all the major search engines, you can try a tool like Soolve.
Google’s Related Searches
The autocomplete feature is a pretty useful tool, but Google’s Related Searches – which are at the bottom of the first page of search results – is when things get even more specific.
As per the image below, the Related Searches section is a treasure trove of more long-tail keyword ideas that can build stronger content around.
Both of these methods are simple ways to find long-tail keywords. To get a bit more in-depth, you can try …
Google’s Keyword Planner
Google’s Keyword Planner is a totally free tool that requires a Google Adwords account to use. Once you’re logged in, add a few terms as per the image below – while excluding any irrelevant terms – and the tool will suggest a number of fresh keyword ideas.
The great thing about this tool is that it lets you check the data for each keyword, such as search volume data, to give you an insight into how useful each keyword will be at driving traffic to your website. For example, if a keyword has hardly any traffic, it’s worth overlooking. By the same token, if a keyword has too much traffic it’s also worth overlooking as it will be too competitive.
The popular Q&A platform Quora is a free resource that gives you huge insights into the questions your audience is asking. And because questions are long-tail keywords, it’s a resource you won’t want to overlook.
Simply take a long-tail keyword suggestion from your Google Keyword Planner tool and pop it into Quora. This is what I did with my “online marketing for beginners” keyword.
Then, take a look at the results. As you can see from the image, people are asking different questions based around this one keyword. These questions can be used as long-tail keywords in my content, and I can also use them to build even more content around.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a fab tool that generates more long-tail keyword ideas than you can probably handle.
To get started, type a search query into the input field and then tap ‘Get Questions.’
You’ll be met by a list of related questions. Run them into your Google Keyword Planner to gauge how popular they are, and then pop them into Quora.
How to Use Long-tail Keywords to Supercharge Your Traffic
Once you’ve your long-tail keywords, it’s time to start using them to supercharge your traffic. Here’s what you need to do:
Start Focusing on Keyword Themes
“Online marketing” is a head keyword that, by itself, won’t generate me much traffic. It’s too broad and it’s too competitive. So what do I do?
I do my keyword research as outlined above, and then I adopt “online marketing for small businesses” as my main long-tail.
Then, I start to focus on keyword themes. This is when I come up with a number of online marketing strategies that small businesses would find useful, such as social media strategies and content marketing strategies.
All of a sudden, I’ve got different topics and keywords that target different users. I’m targeting those who are interested in social media strategies and those who are looking for content based on content marketing strategies.
When you think in terms of keyword themes, your traffic begins to expand. You employ different keywords and bring in different users.
Make It Natural
The thing with long-tail keywords is that they have to look natural in your content. While keywords are important for driving traffic, content that flows naturally should still be your priority.
The key is to optimize your content so that your long-tail keywords don’t act as a distraction to the reader, and so that they act as a signal to Google that your content satisfies a particular query.
To that end, add your main long-tail keyword to your headline. Also add it to your introduction, to at least one subheading, your conclusion, and use it once or twice more throughout your content.
Don’t overdo things by stuffing your page with your long-tail keywords. And whenever you use long-tail keywords in your content, make sure they’re absolutely relevant to the page. They must fit the content. If you draw users in with long-tails that don’t correspond to what’s actually on the page, your bounce rate will go up and your ranking will drop.
Add Your Long-Tail Keywords to Your Metadata
Title tags and meta descriptions are two key components of metadata that can help you rank. Title tags have a direct influence on your SEO efforts, and while meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor, a compelling meta description will increase your click-through rates. This is important because click-through rate is a ranking factor.
Nailing your metadata with long-tail keywords will attract more of the right traffic and encourage people to click on your content. However, I recommend adding a different long-tail keyword to each so that Google doesn’t flag you. Don’t forget to add your main long-tail to your URL, too.
Launch a Guest Blogging Campaign and Maximise Anchor Text
I’m not going to go into the finer details of launching a guest blogging campaign here. Because the purpose of a guest blogging campaign is to build more links, you’ll be using a lot of anchor text, which is the phrase that’s placed over a clickable link back to your website.
For example, if I’m writing an article about social media for another blog, I might include the anchor text “online marketing for beginners” within the content with a link back to an article on my website about that exact subject.
Anchor text presents you with the chance to use your long-tail keywords to drive more traffic to your website. However, you need to be mindful not to use the same anchor text over and over again. Google will grow suspicious, and it might penalize you.
Instead, use an SEO tool like Nightwatch to check the anchor texts you’ve been using up to now. Check their variation. Are you using the same anchor text all the time? If so, you need to mix things up. I would say focus 50% on your long-tail keywords, 25% on branded keywords and 25% on un-optimized terms.
To say that long-tail keywords are important is a bit of an understatement. If you want to rank higher and draw more high quality to your website (in other words, people who want to do business with you), you need to nail your long-tail keyword strategy.
Use the tips in this article and keep creating great content that’s optimized with the right long-tails. Pretty soon, you’ll be well on your way to more traffic and more sales.
Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of Nightwatch — a search visibility tool of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut