Everyone wants to attract relevant visitors to their website.
One of the best ways to do this is to target long-tail keywords : specific phrases that your audience search already.
In this guide, we will take a closer look:
What are the long tail keywords?
The long tail keywords are more specific (and usually longer) search terms than a standard search query.
They tend to have a higher conversion because the search intent is simpler (for example, a user searching "best running shoes for kids" is more likely to buy than someone looking for "shoes" ).
Key features of long tail keywords :  they consist of more words (which means that they are more specific )
People use long tail keywords to find specific things online – like you, who probably searched for "which is a long tail keyword »to find this message. Here are other examples of long-tail keywords lagging behind :
- “Best charger for MacBook Pro”
- “How to change a tire”
- “Nike women's size 12 running shoes”
How many words does a long tail keyword contain?
Raise your hand if you heard this sentence: A long tail keyword means a sentence longer than 4 words.
This is not entirely correct; a long tail keyword simply means a more specific search term than another. It doesn't matter how many words it contains.
Let's put that in context. The term "men's blue swim cap" is more specific than "swim cap" – which is what makes it a long-tailed term. Certainly the fact that it is longer is a common factor in a long tail sentence, but not the determining factor.
The long tail simply means that it is more specific than a standard search term.
Tip: Don't forget to consult our ultimate keyword research guide where you will find everything about keyword research , including a ton of helpful advice and a quiz!
Why are long tail terms important?
We've already discussed the fact that long tail keywords are more specific than standard search terms. This generally means that they pay more attention to the search results and plan to do something with their results.
For example: someone searching for the short term "Blog marketing" has a much less specific research intention than a person researching "how to create a blog for free" .
This latest version long-tailed has more training. They want to do something – whether it's starting a blog, buying a domain, or creating a mailing list. The term short term is probably just someone looking for very high level marketing advice.
So why is it important to your business?
The answer is simple. By targeting these long tail phrases on your site, you attract people who want to act whether:
- buy a product
- subscribe to a mailing list
- visit your brick and mortar store
This is likely to increase the return on investment of your content marketing, especially if you are able to position yourself well for popular long tail keywords (and relevant).
How to do a long tail keyword search
Now we're on the same page about what the term “long tail keyword” is (and why it's important to your business), it's time to work to find the ones you can target on your website.
Here is a simple five-step guide to finding long-tail keywords:
1. Find your basic terms
Let's start with a simple question: which term best describes your website?
Your answer should be related to your product / service offering, such as "Sales software" or "CRM" . This is your basic term. (Or terms; you could have a handful depending on the number of features or services you offer.)
All of your long tail keywords cover this basic term.
For example: from the term base “CRM” you can target the following long tail variations:
- “Best CRM for small businesses”
- “How to add contacts in a CRM”
- “HubSpot vs [(YOURBUSINESS)”
Don't you know what your basic term or terms should be?
Send a survey to your existing customers in their purchase confirmation emails. Ask for a word that best describes you or the word they think of when they see your product / brand.
It's usually your basic term – and how people who have achieved a huge goal (buy from you) would describe you.
Remember: your goal is to attract more people similar to those who are already your customers. Take their advice on board.
2. Use Google’s related query function
Let’s be sure we’re getting everything right by going straight to the mouths of horses: Google.
A suggestion box appears when you start typing a question into Google.
Add a prefix / suffix to your basic term, such as:
- What is (BASIC TERM)
- How (BASIC TERM)
- Best (BASIC TERM)
- (BASIC TERM) for
- Why (BASIC TERM)
Then take a look at these suggestions. Note the long tail phrases your customers can search for:
You can also find long tail keywords in the People also ask for this basic term. :
Another source of related queries on the Google results page is the bottom panel with related searches:
Tip: If you click on one of the questions in the People also ask area, other new questions will appear.
These two methods show you the other questions / search terms that people typically search for before or after the SERP you are viewing.
Consider if you can add them to your target list.
3. Plug the basic term into a long tail keyword research tool
How do you get from these basic word phrases to a bunch of long tail variations?
Head to KWFinder and enter your basic term. You'll see a bunch of related keywords as well as important keyword information, such as search volume and a list of competitors currently occupying the top spots in a Google search result for that phrase.
Scroll down the list and check all the sentences which are:
- Relevant for your basic term
- Likely to be sought by your target customer
Here is what the basic term looks like "CRM »:
In addition to the main suggestions, you can use the tab" Semi-automatic data entry " or " Questions " more relevant long tail keywords containing your starting keyword.
Google limits autocomplete to a maximum of 10, so you'll have to play around with it to get a decent amount of suggestions. However, KWFinder shows them all in one list:
In the example above, you can see how the basic term can be used to find new keyword opportunities long tail by adding a prefix / suffix – we used the starting keyword “best crm for” .
Alternatively, you can find more long tail keywords based on questions using a free tool called Responding to the Public. However, it just serves as a keyword suggestion tool, you get no metrics like search volume or keyword difficulty.
Follow the same process and plug your base term into the tool. You will see a list of popular questions that people are looking for, containing your basic term:
4. Browse your site analytics
You don't need to start targeting long tail keywords with new content from scratch.
Find out what you're already ranking for and what terms people are looking to find your website, using the performance report in Google Search Console .
Head to Performance> Google Results then organize your ranking by position.
Click until you see the keywords that you place on page two (and beyond) for:
Certainly, you already rank for these long tail terms. But re-import them into your long tail keyword research tool and see which keywords are worth exploring (more on this in next chapter ).
Here's what it looks like for the keywords in the previous screenshot:
5. Look for long terms in customer comments
Customer comments are invaluable to businesses.
Ask yourself: what terms or phrases do your customers ask during the sales process or after they become customers? We want more people like them to come to our website, solve their problems, and put them on our shopping list.
Tip: Create a quick survey that you can include in automatic confirmations by e-mail.
Ask questions like:
- What were you looking for when you decided to search for a product like ours?
- What terms did you search to find us?
- What content did you read before buying?
You can find answers like "I searched for the" best CRM for small businesses " "or the fact that they read your comparison guide before becoming a customer.
Whatever you find, plug these terms into a keyword research tool. You can find similar and related phrases that you can target to attract more potential customers to your website.
What Makes a “Good” Long Tail Keyword?
You Can Choose From billions of long tail keywords, as you will see during the keyword research process.
How do you know what to focus on; most valuable?
Generally, a "good" long tail keyword takes these three elements into account:
- Popularity (search volume)
- Keyword difficulty
1. Search Volume
The search volume of a keyword tells you how many people are searching for the phrase each month. It is displayed in most long-tail keyword research tools (including KWFinder .)
The tricky part?
A "Good" search volume depends on the industry you are in. (For example: 3,900 people search for “B2B marketing strategies” versus 450,000 for “how to lose weight”.)
Generally, for keywords with a search volume of…  <50: To avoid or group (unless you try the technique of the golden ratio of keywords)
Let's put this into practice and say that you have these keywords with search volumes:
- "Blogging tips for beginners "(10): merge with similar expressions like " how to start a blog " and " blogging tips ".
- " Develop your mailing list "(180): merge with similar expressions like " generator d e mailing list " or " ways to develop your mailing list ".
- " How to start a blog "(116,000): create a standalone guide for targeting this long-tailed keyword
2. Keyword Difficulty
Keyword Difficulty is an SEO measure that describes the difficulty of ranking a specific keyword.
Each sentence has a score out of 100, the bottom indicating that it is easy to rank. The keywords at the top of the scale indicate that you will have to exert more efforts in optimizing the SEO to rank on the first page.
In addition, we can see that two of the high ranking results are based on questions; the other is a listicle. Remember to follow the same format with the content. (These formats rank well for a reason.)
Now let's see how to work with search intent…
How to use your long tail keywords
You've narrowed down your long keyword list queue up and be convinced that your ideal visitors are looking for them.
The next step is to use them on your website. This tells Google that you are talking about something related to this long tail keyword, which increases your chances of ranking it well.
Tip: never try to use keywords artificially in your content only to rank them. Google is smart enough to know that. Instead of stuffing keywords, write the best content on the subject and write naturally.
Use the focus keyword wisely in the main elements (like title, title, paragraphs, alternative text), but don't forget common sense. If you focus on a very long keyword like "the best content management system for small businesses", it would be against nature to use it 5 times in a short article by blog.
We talk about keyword optimization in our guide to SEO on page .
Think about research intent
The biggest mistake when targeting Long tail keywords is to assume that a blog post is the answer. All you have to do is choose your term, write a 1,000 word article and post it on your blog, right?
The absolute first step in targeting of your long tail keywords is to decide what type of content you will use, based on the intent behind the sentence.
Search intent describes the motivation of the person searching for the term. It can tell you how to package your content and is generally divided into four categories – know, go, make and buy – as explained by Google :
Here are some sample keywords to long tail alongside the research intent and the content you can create for everyone:
1. I want to buy
Example: "discount on black sneakers for men"
Long tail keywords that are specific to a product or service, such as the example below above, show the intention of a researcher to buy.
They generally consist of a (PRODUCT / SERVICE) +
They probably aren't looking for a blog post that brings together the best shows, in which case it would be better to target the phrase on your product page. This is where you want people looking for this term to be found and probably the best way to give them what they are looking for.
2. I want to go there
Example: "the best Chinese food in Los Angeles"
Long tail keywords based on location show an intention to go somewhere. Again, the perfect place for these keywords isn't always a blog post.
For example: if you're thinking of offering the best Chinese food in LA, add it to your home page or to your title tag.
But what if you're a food blogger without a physical restaurant in LA for people to visit? In this case, you can create an overview of the best restaurants to classify for this period.
The researcher wants to go somewhere; they are looking for information that brings them there. Link it with the product or service you offer.
3. I want to know
Example: "what is the best CRM for small businesses"
The person searching for this keyword wishes to find the best solution to his problem. They want to compare different CRM software, so a comparison guide is likely to help them get what they need to know.
Compose a comparison article that compares your CRM to others popular options. What features do you have that they don't have? How do your prices compare? How many team members have an account?
These are questions that would likely interest the researcher when researching "what is the best CRM for small businesses". If you can answer all of these questions in one comprehensive guide, there is no reason why you cannot impress Google and potential customers.
4. I want to do
Example: "how to train for a hike"
This person – or anyone looking for "how …" – wants advice to do something.
They are at the top of the sales funnel and don't necessarily intend to buy a product even if you recommend one in the content.
So you can group your advice in easy-to-digest content, such as:
- step-by-step detailed guide
- video tutorial
Group similar long-term keywords
What if you have a list of long tail keywords that all have the same intent, similar search volumes, and ask the same question?
Creating a unique publication for each long tail keyword would make no sense.
Let's put this into practice e. The long-tailed keywords "how to create a blog" "how to create my own blog " and "how to create a free blog " all have an intention similar.
If you were to target them with three separate blog posts, you would probably use all three terms in each post. Since you have three pages dealing with essentially the same subject, Google doesn't know which one to rank very well – so all three are pushed down.
However, if the three terms have been grouped into one blog post , Google knows exactly why they should rank you.
Their LSI algorithm works by finding terms that are relevant to the main keyword of the page. If they can find more than one long tail keyword in a single article, it increases the chances of ranking for more long tail phrases.
Improve keyword ranking on previously published pages
Remember you how earlier we mentioned that you don't need to start from scratch when doing a keyword search? You can dig into your Google Search Console data to see what you're already on page two (and beyond).
A similar concept applies to content creation; you don't need to create a whole new blog post for each long tail keyword you already have on your list … Especially if you're already classifying it.
Here what it looks like for the Mangools SEO guide. It covers basic terms like "what is SEO", but has a separate section targeting the long tail keyword "How do I learn SEO »:
And here is the SERP for this keyword:
So, instead of creating a brand new blog post, modify the page content to refer to the new term at long term. It can be as simple as adding a short section to answer the question.
But because Google knows you are answering this on a page on a relevant topic, chances are they will increase your ranking for that phrase.
Your audience searches for hundreds of long tail keywords.
Follow the steps we shared in this guide to find them, and then start targeting them on your website to tell Google (and your customers) that your information is valuable to anyone looking for it.
You will soon start to see steady growth in organic traffic.