What are “long-tail keywords” and how can be effectively used in your SEO strategies?


High-volume hero keywords unquestionably merit your SEO focus, though achieving a high ranking can be daunting unless you’re already situated near the summit. Similarly, vying for high-competition transactional keywords, which typically have robust search volume, often becomes a marathon rather than a sprint. This necessitates an early commencement, akin to financial investments, where yesterday is always the ideal time to begin SEO optimization for your website.

Generally, long-tail keywords are perceived as less challenging to rank for, and this perception is accurate in many instances, contingent upon their specific competitiveness. In this segment of the Adore Online Marketing blog, we delve deeper into the realm of long-tail keywords and strategise their seamless integration into your SEO blueprint.

Understanding the origins of the term ‘long-tail keywords’

The phrase ‘long-tail’ is derived from the graph displaying the dispersion of keywords as per their search volume. The subsequent illustration clarifies the comprehensive distribution of keywords. The ‘fat head’ corresponds to the highest search volume keywords, the ‘chunky middle’ encompasses the keywords straddling the most popular terms and the long-tail keywords.

The graph manifests the head term ‘SEO Agency’ with the highest search volume, whereas location-specific phrases like ‘SEO Agency Cardiff & Newport’ receive lesser monthly searches and long-tail keywords such as ‘what is an SEO agency’ record the lowest monthly searches.

Where do long-tail keywords fit into your SEO plan?

Long-tail keywords could potentially yield faster results, hence they are recommended for early-stage targeting in your SEO gameplan, coexisting with short-tail transactional and brand awareness keywords. The subsequent graph delineates the expected timeframes for different keyword types under a meticulously planned SEO strategy.

Defining long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords, which typically exhibit a lower search volume relative to their associated ‘head’ terms, are often question-based but not necessarily. Many businesses and agencies strategically target these keywords as they are comparatively easier to rank due to the reduced competition. Here is a comparison of a long-tail and short-tail keyword:

The long-tail keyword, despite having a significantly lower search volume than the head term, might prove beneficial to rank for and could provide access to valuable traffic in the information collection phase.


Finding the right long-tail keywords to rank for

Identifying long-tail keywords to target doesn’t have to be a hit-or-miss task. The expansive world of SEO has a plethora of tools that assist in spotting potentially valuable keywords during the initial stages of your optimization journey.

Resourceful platforms such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Google’s Keyword Planner are optimal for generating keyword suggestions and pinpointing opportunities with sizable search volumes and substantial purchase intent. These tools also aid in refining your data during the research phase, and can assist in determining which long-tail keywords should be prioritised.

If you’re at the very inception of your journey, Google’s auto-suggest tool can provide you with initial ideas, which can then be explored further with the tools previously mentioned.

How to secure rankings for long-tail keywords

Though achieving high rankings for long-tail keywords might be less complex than those within the fat head, an effective strategy is still crucial. The same golden rules that apply to your broader SEO strategy hold true for ranking long-tail keywords.

It might be self-evident, but it is imperative to generate content that targets specific keywords to achieve rankings on Google and other search engines. Blog posts often serve as a suitable foundation for ranking long-tail keywords. However, do not hesitate to design dedicated pages targeting the more valuable keywords specific to your niche

Having created the content, promoting it to high-value websites and online publishers for sharing is a broad approach to cultivating backlinks to your content—an essential factor from an SEO perspective. Backlinks using partial or exact match anchor text can bolster your efforts as they provide Google with a clue about the content you’re aiming to rank for.

According to a Backlinko analysis, the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor. Thus, your backlink profile’s quality and diversity can significantly impact your rankings, particularly for competitive long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords, with their more specific nature and lower competition, can provide great opportunities for small businesses, new websites, or anyone looking to gain traction in the digital landscape. Using the right tools, applying the right strategies, and integrating them into your broader SEO approach can yield considerable returns in the long term.

In a 2017 study, Ahrefs revealed that 92.42% of all keywords get ten or fewer searches per month, indicating the large pool of long-tail keywords that may be relevant to your business. Focusing on these keywords can help you tap into a highly targeted audience, potentially leading to higher conversion rates.

Wrapping up this segment, we want to stress the importance of understanding your audience and their search habits. The better you can align your SEO efforts with user intent, the more successful you’ll be at reaching your SEO goals.

As Google’s John Mueller stated, “SEO isn’t just about ‘engines.’ It’s about making your website better for people, too.” This statement highlights the importance of long-tail keywords that often align more closely with user intent, giving you an opportunity to serve your audience with precisely the information they’re seeking.

Use this guide as your roadmap in your journey of integrating long-tail keywords into your SEO strategy. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see the fruits of your labor, whether that’s increased organic traffic, better rankings, or more conversions.