What is a long tail keyword?

A long tail keyword is a phrase that is generally made from three to five words. Since these keywords are more specific than generic terms, they allow you to target niche demographics. These keywords are also less competitive than generic keywords because they are designed to better reflect how people make queries. With long tail keywords, you are able to attract more high-quality traffic to your website which is more likely to lead to conversions.

During the customer journey, long tail keywords become more important as their journey evolves. Typically, users begin with a simple search and as the search engines guide them to solving their pain point, their searches become more detailed. This is where long tail keywords will become important to separate your brand from your competition. 

Are long tail keywords important for SEO?

Over 70% of search queries are made using long tail keywords. This has become particularly prevalent with people using voice search more often. People now generally enter queries into Google using the same types of phrasing as they do when they are speaking with a friend. This is called natural language. Using long tail keywords, therefore, makes your content more likely to draw these users into your website and begin the process of the buyer’s journey. In addition, new technology formats such as Google SGE are expanding the ways long tail keywords can be used in conversational search.  You can learn more about Google SGE in our Ultimate Guide to SGE

Long tail keywords being comprised of a few words makes them much more specific. This means that both users and site owners generally receive better results. Brands receive traffic that is more closely aligned with their content, which will improve their ability to effectively bring new customers into the sales cycle. Customers also receive content that is more closely aligned with their objective, making them happier.

The specificity of long tail keywords also means that there is less competition for each keyword phrase. Brands can better customize their specific keywords for what they provide users.

Long tail keyword example

Depending on the topics your site creates content around and how many pages you have, you will want to collect a pretty large relevant list of long tail keywords that you can use throughout your site. It's not realistic, or SEO-healthy, for you to optimize your site for the same keywords on every page, therefore you'll need a running list of great keywords.

If you're a local brand looking for local foot traffic, adding "near me" to your long tail keywords is a good practice. For example, long tail keywords including "organic coffee shops near me" or "buy Guiana chestnut plant near me" are both good examples of when a user is at the final stages of their buyer journey searching via long tail queries. Using specific keywords like "organic coffee shop" and "Guiana chestnut plant" will help you to rank better as they're further from common keywords bigger brands are trying to rank for.

Researching long tail keywords

  1. Build your buyer personas and map them to customer journeys.
  2. Use this information to help you identify topics that your personas will want to see at each stage of their journey.
  3. Leverage your own query research via search engines by typing a simple search into the search bar and see what keywords autofill into long tail keywords. These keywords are what users are searching for and you should optimize for them.Long-tail keyword example - BrightEdge You can see to the right that we typed "best seo" into Google. Long tail keywords autofilled to show us what users are most often looking for when it comes to "best seo."
  4. Use keyword technology, like the BrightEdge Data Cube, to identify the relevant keywords that you can best rank for that also have high traffic rates.
  5. Monitor your success with your keywords, looking closely at your traffic and engagement rates. This will tell you how many people you are attracting and how well your content is answering the need of their query.

Long tail keyword research with BrightEdge Data Cube

Long-tail keywords are valuable tools for those looking to optimize their content and attract more relevant visitors. The better you are able to better understand your users, the better you will be able to meet their needs and bring in new customers for your organization.

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