How to Use Long-tail Keywords for SEO Success?

Long-tail keywords are the basis of successful SEO strategies. Here I suggest ways to use long-tail keywords to create a successful keyword strategy. Then we can discuss some facts about long-tail keywords and where they sit in the world of SEO.

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How to Use Long-tail Keywords?

Before starting to talk about long-tail keywords as an SEO strategy, I need to say that there are SEO strategy and Marketing strategy steps that come before this.

For example, before starting your keyword research, you need to understand who your customers are (their persona), what market you are working within, and who your competitors are.

So your keyword strategy comes from your understanding of what is your product or service and who is the buyer of this product or service.

After this, we try to create a long-tail keyword strategy. Here I research long-tail keywords, using Ahrefs (Premium) and MozBar (Free), which are two commonly used SEO tools. Other tools work the same way and should return similar results.

1. Start from the main keyword (subject)

I try to imagine long-tail keywords as extensions of a main keyword or subject.

Let’s say we have a team of designers who want to introduce themselves to the world through SEO. They offer services such as ‘logo design’, ‘flyer design’, etc.

Ranking in a keyword such as ‘logo design’ would be life-changing for them. But it also is impossible (at least in the short-term).

So let’s consider ‘logo design’ as a main keyword. As a jumping point.

You can search logo design in Ahrefs and see the result:

As you can see the difficulty is ‘Super hard’ and the search volume is quite high as well.

Now we need to look for keywords that are related to logo design but are easier to rank for.

2. Look for Long-tail keywords

From the left-hand panel of Ahrefs keyword tool, you can see options such as Phrase match (which offers you other keywords containing ‘logo design’), Having same terms, Also rank for, etc.

Each of these options offers keywords that can be useful to us.

Let’s go to Phrase match, which gives us keywords directly containing logo design.

Firstly, from the filters above, set KD (keyword difficulty) to a maximum of 8. This is a good difficulty for the start. You can change it in case the results are not great.

You can see there are many keywords with low difficulty and a considerable volume that you can rank for. Although some of them may not be useful to your business.

From this list, I take the ‘law firm logo design’ as a good target keyword. People who are searching for it are likely willing to buy products or at least download them for free. It also has a good difficulty and volume.

3. Research the SERP and competitors

One of the best ways of researching a keyword is to simply search for it and analyze the results. Using MozBar you can also see the estimated backlinks of each page, right underneath them.

You can see that although the first position is very difficult to get, other positions have 0 backlinks and can be challenged with a good article.

Seeing pages that have ranked for a certain keyword, help you understand what is the intent behind searching for such keywords. For example, here it seems like people want to look at samples of logo designs to get inspired. (It also suggests that the searchers are designers rather than marketers looking to hire.)

Maybe the best approach is to go for the skyscraper. Offering more designs than anybody. Or maybe you want to offer a number of freebies (for example open layer PSDs) so that the searcher can modify them. Or maybe you want to create a long tutorial, getting into how you go about designing a logo for a law firm.

You can find more keywords or go to other sections, for example, Questions that can offer keywords that are perfect for writing articles.

4. Save the results and start creating

After finding the keywords, you can save and use them as the basis of your content creation.

For example, you can write the keywords and their data in a sheet. And then track their progress from writing stages to when it is published and indexed.

Each keyword requires its own content and may have a different audience. So you need to research them properly and write the best content, that directly answers the needs of your audience.

We started from the subject which was short-tail and difficult and found long-tail keywords that are rank-able.

It can be visualized like this:

You can see that long-tail keywords are not necessarily long. But they have low difficulty and lower search volumes, compared to the short-tail keyword.

What are Long-tail Keywords Benefits?

Long tail keywords are the basis of most (if not all) SEO strategies. There are simple reasons behind this.

Here are some of the Long-tail Keywords Benefits for SEO strategy:

  • Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for. So, they are great for building authority.
  • Long-tail keywords are 40% of all web searches. So you are targeting a huge market, in small chunks.
  • Long-tail keywords are questions, so you can provide answers to your potential customers.
  • Long-tail keywords can be used within the article and can help you target several keywords with one content.
  • Long-tail keywords attract a more distinct audience with a higher conversion rate. While short-tail keywords can have a more generic audience.

Long-tail Keywords Statistics

  • 99.8% of keywords on the web are long-tail (get 1000 searches a month or fewer)
  • 40% of all web searches go to long-tail keywords
  • Almost half of long-tail keywords have 3 words or less
  • 92% of keywords get less than 10 searches per month

Long Tail Keywords vs. Short Tail Keywords

The main differences between long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords are the search volume and the keyword’s difficulty.

Despite common belief, long-tail has nothing to do with the length of the keyword. Long-tail is a marketing term that refers to the chart you see below.

Through a long-tail strategy, you can sell small numbers of several products to customers in less competitive markets, rather than selling one product in a huge market that is extremely competitive.

In SEO terms, this means you can rank for many keywords with smaller volume and competition, rather than going for bigger volume keywords in which you have no chance of ranking for.

These big volume keywords are referred to as short-tail. They can be short or long phrases, but they have a larger number of monthly searches. They can be very generic or very business-oriented. But they are difficult to rank for, especially for websites that are new to SEO.

What are Mid-tail Keywords?

Some SEOs add another type of keyword to the dictionary called mid-tail keywords.

Mid-tail keywords are somewhere between long-tail and short-tail. You can’t rank for them quickly, but ranking for them with a good SEO strategy is completely possible. They are the middle ground in terms of volume and difficulty.

A good way to look at mid-tail keywords is to consider them as the mid-term goal for your SEO strategy. What you build towards while targeting the long-tails.

What is your experience of Long-tail keywords and what are the tools you use to capture them? Comment your experiences below.

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