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Long Tail SEO: When & How to Target Low-Volume Keywords

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long tail SEO

We’ve all heard about how keyword research is sometimes even more important than actually writing good content. Targeting the right kind of keywords ensures that your content delivers the right type of traffic to your website; and to do that, it’s essential that you target search terms that a lot of customers are searching for to increase traffic and session numbers. However, there are specific problems that this could pose to your business and your content team:

* A lot of other websites/competitors will build content around the same keywords, which will make it more difficult for you to rank for this search term.

* Users might see tons of paid ads for these keywords on Google, decreasing your organic search results’ share of the traffic.

We live in a world where one of the most reliable and inexpensive ways of getting evergreen traffic to your business is by ranking organically on search engines. However, you need to make sure that you capture your fair share of keyword real estate to do this. This might seem like an easy task to many but ends up being a difficult feat to accomplish for some – especially those who target ultra-high search volume keywords.

However, there is a way to significantly improve your chances of ranking well on search engines and bring in the organic traffic that you want for your business – by targeting long tail keywords. Let’s cover some basics about this topic first.

What are the long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords typically search terms/phrases that contain over three words. “restaurants that serve gluten-free food in Chicago”, for instance, is a long tail keyword. A lot of users out there tend to ask questions to Google, or search for something concrete – and these are typically the searches that end up being loaded with long tail keywords.

These keywords will have a lower search volume since most users go for shorter search terms on search engines in most cases. However, this gives you a marked advantage over competitors, since it will fly under the radar of businesses that are building content around more general keywords. In other words, long tail keywords might attract lesser users but helps you rank better on search engines, provided you optimise your content for these keywords.

long tail SEO

When should I target long tail keywords?

If you are planning to build a content strategy that involves long tail keywords, then it’s essential that you choose keywords that are very closely related to the kind of product or service that your business is selling. Don’t fret, now. Selecting these keywords is more comfortable in most cases than not.

For example, Synup is a product that helps businesses and agencies manage parts of their local SEO. The search term, ‘local SEO’, averages 4400 Google Monthly Searches (GMS). But if you break it down, the Synup dashboard allows users to do several things, like manage their local listings; reputation tracks search engine rankings create automated reports and provides business insights.

In such a scenario, this business can target long tail keywords with lower search volumes, such as “automated listings management platform”, “review generation tools for small businesses”, “rank tracking tool for businesses”, “automated agency reporting tool”, “local SEO client management tool”, “track insights and metrics from search engines” and so on.

Targeting these keywords might give the business high ranking positions on a comprehensive set of long tail search phrases.

Why should I target long tail keywords?

Apart from what we’ve covered earlier, these are the other advantages of targeting long tail keywords:

* Brings in relevant organic traffic to your business (even if in smaller quantities), thus improving the chances of the visitor becoming a lead.

* Helps give you more ideas when you’re building your content strategy; long-tail keywords can give you the massive list of keywords for which you’ve not constructed content in the past.

That aside, another critical factor to consider is that long-tail keywords contribute to delivering over 70% of all search traffic as well.

long tail seo

Data from the same source also suggests that long-tail traffic contributes to an increase in click-through-rate (CTR) owing to the keywords being more specific. Pages optimised for long-tail keywords have also been observed to move up an average of 11 positions, as compared to 5, which is the average number when you optimise for head keywords.

Long tail SEO is also considered to be vital if you are optimising your business for semantic search. With the numbers for user voice searches being always on the rise, semantic SEO seems to be the future of search engine optimisation, and it is indubitably one that includes a ton of long tail keywords.

So, now that we’ve covered all of that – what do you, as a content marketer, need to do to target long tail keywords effectively? It’s quite simple for the most part – all you need to do is write SEO optimised content like you always do, but you have to ensure that you target long-tail keywords that are closely related to your business – hence the name, “long tail SEO”. These are some of the guidelines that you need to keep in mind when you’re working on long tail SEO:

1. Come up with a list of long tail keywords that you will be targeting.

2. Make sure that you use the long tail keyword in the title, URL, meta description and H1 tags of the webpage.

3. Maintain a healthy keyword density of 1% to 2%. Google understands, and in fact, encourages you to have more detailed content that is not mindlessly stuffed with keywords.

4. Add tags and categories to your posts, always.

5. Longer is often considered better, so try and have a post length of 1000+ words.

6. Add relevant images in your posts, and use the long tail keyword in the alt and title text of these images.

7. Once you’re done writing the content, write guest posts on other forums and link back to content on your website using the same long tail keyword as anchor text.

This is pretty much all that you need to do to target long tail, low volume keywords for your business. Other than writing content, here are a couple of other things you could do juice out more traffic from long tail keywords if you have the time, expertise and budget for it.

* Create landing pages that target specific long tail keywords and talk about your product/service’s role in helping the user with what they searched for.

* Use Google Ads to target these long tail keywords; they will likely need smaller bids from you since there won’t be much competition around these keywords.

Conclusion

A content strategy built around long tail keywords is a great way to start getting your business some traffic, and it’s also a more comfortable option if you’re a business that’s just starting out. Do note that long tail traffic, while earning you well-targeted traffic, will almost always drive only a small number of users towards your website. Any good content strategy needs a healthy mix of guest posts, short-form content, long-form content and content promotion for maximum return-on-investment.

That’s essentially how you can use long tail SEO to bring in relevant traffic to your business. If you have any suggestions or questions about long tail SEO, feel free to talk about it in the comments section below.

Harsha Annadurai on Twitter
Harsha Annadurai
Harsha Annadurai works as an Inbound Marketer at Synup. His excessive love for music and football has led many to believe that he was a jukebox in a football stadium in his past life.
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