Long-tail keywords can be a powerful tool in your SEO marketing arsenal.
These specific, long phrases that people type into search engines can help you drive more organic traffic to your website.
But how do you find long-tail keywords that are easy to rank?
This guide will discuss where to find them and how to use them in your content to increase the chances of appearing higher in search results.
So, let’s get started!
- What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
- Why Are Long-Tail Keywords Important?
- How to Find Long-Tail Keywords
- What Makes a Great Long-Tail Keyword?
- How to Use Your Long-Tail Keywords
- Long-Tail Keywords FAQ
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
These queries can be laser-focused on a specific topic or product, making them an invaluable tool for boosting your website’s presence online.
This term comes from the “long tail” of a graph, which shows that while there are a few highly searched keywords, most queries fall into the long-tail category.
The “head” of the curve is composed of a few keywords with extremely high search volumes, while the “tail” contains billions of words that are scarcely searched.
In fact, according to Ahrefs, only 31,000 keywords have a search volume above 100k searches per month.
On the contrary, there are 3.8 billion that get less than 10 searches monthly, which is 95% of the entire Ahrefs U.S. keyword database!
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
It’s a well-known fact that 15% of Google search queries are new:
Fun fact: 15% of all Google searches have never been searched before.
— Google (@Google) February 15, 2022
For example, “shoes” might be a popular search term and have millions of searches each month.
On the other hand, long-tail keywords like “women’s leather dress shoes size 8” are much less popular.
This is because these search queries are often more specific and have less competition, making them easier to rank in search results.
So, what does this mean for you?
The benefit is these terms can help you get in front of a more targeted audience, who are already looking for what you offer.
Plus, long-tail keywords can help you achieve better rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs), which can lead to more organic traffic.
Why Are Long-Tail Keywords Important?
They are important because they can help you “drill down” and target more specific users.
For example, instead of targeting “shoes”, you could focus on a long-tail term like “high-top sneakers for men”.
This means you can get in front of users who are looking for exactly that narrowed topic.
In addition, long-tail keywords are often used by people who are further along the sales funnel and thus more likely to convert.
They are also used for voice search queries, which are gaining in popularity.
In fact, Purna Virji (ex-Microsoft) stated:
Voice search keywords are longer, compared to text search keywords (source)
Finally, they can help you rank better on SERPs by reducing competition and targeting more specific terms.
To sum up:
- Easy to Rank
- Targeted Traffic
- Less Expensive PPC Advertising
Easy to Rank
Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that are less competitive and thus easier to rank for.
This is because they often have a lower search volume, meaning fewer content creators are targeting them, so you don’t have to compete as hard.
Take for example the query “copywriting”. It has about 161 million results.
As you can see the competition is huge!
But “bucket brigade copywriting” generates only 500,000 search results:
So, if you target this long-tail keyword, you’ll compete with far fewer websites.
A whopping 98.5% decrease, in fact, to rank on the first page of Google!
The same difference can be seen if you check the keyword difficulty with your favorite SEO tool.
If you measure it with the Ahrefs free checker, for example, you can see that “copywriting” has a KD of 76:
That’s super hard to rank!
On the other hand, the keyword “bucket brigade copywriting” has a DK of only 25:
Much easier, as you can see!
In fact, my “Bucket Brigade in Copywriting” article is ranking number three, at the moment, with a rich snippet!
Plus, it is ranking in the top positions for some variants of this keyword, like “bucket brigade words”, “bucket brigades list”, or “bucket brigade examples”.
For some of them, the content has even earned a featured snippet:
Long-tail keywords can help you target a more specific audience who are already searching for what your business offers.
This means your website or blog can attract the right people at the right time, resulting in more conversions and sales.
And, since long-tail keywords are so specific, users are likely to be ready to buy.
Take, for example, the query “blogger outreach software”.
Again, if you measure it with your favorite SEO tool, you can analyze how profitable it can be.
Let’s use the Semrush keyword overview feature this time. You can note that:
Anybody searching for that term is likely to be near to a purchase decision, even if they are still comparing different software programs.
On the contrary, the keyword “blogger outreach“, is much broader:
And you can note that these users are likely conducting an initial exploration on the topic of blogger outreach.
It might be a while before they are ready to search for software to assist with their blogger outreach tactics.
Less Expensive PPC Advertising
Finally, long-tail keywords can also help you save money on your PPC advertising campaigns.
Do you want to know how?
Though high-volume keywords may yield a higher cost per click, they don’t always bring successful conversions.
That’s why low-volume long-tail keywords are the ultimate targeted choice for those looking to enhance their conversion rate and get more bang for their buck.
Not only do long-tail keywords have a lower CPC, but they are also an excellent win for PPC!
The big downside of using these terms is that you must rank on several search results in order to acquire the same amount of traffic as one successful head keyword.
How to Find Long-Tail Keywords
So, how can you find easy-to-rank keywords?
The best way to find them is through keyword research.
You can use different strategies. Here are some of the most effective ones:
- People Also Ask
- Google Search Console
- Google Related Searches
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner
- Semrush Keyword Magic Tool
Here are 21 detailed guides.
People Also Ask
Google’s People Also Ask is a popular SERP feature that gives you long-tail keyword ideas related to head terms.
It’s located in the middle of the search result (usually just after the first position) and lists questions related to your query:
Each of these questions can be used as inspiration for your content creation, SEO, or PPC campaigns.
And if you want to dig deeper, just click on a question, to get more generated below:
Google Search Console
Another great source of long-tail keywords is Google Search Console.
It can provide you with invaluable data about the keywords users are typing to find your content.
You can start by looking at the queries that are bringing people to your website and then searching for long-tail related to them.
This can be done by visiting the “Performance” tab of your GSC:
These are terms that are already generating impressions in search results.
It’s a golden opportunity to check among them and find terms that you can easily rank for higher positions!
Quora is an excellent source of long-tail words.
Just type in a head term related to your business and you’ll get plenty of keyword suggestions that people are using to search for answers:
Google Related Searches
Google’s “related searches” feature is located at the bottom of the SERP.
It shows a list of long-tail keywords related to the query you have typed.
Like for People Also Ask, you can further explore additional keyword ideas by clicking on a related search, then repeating the same process for the new SERP that will appear:
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Advertisers and marketers use this popular Google tool to plan their keyword strategy.
It allows one to research keywords, view monthly search volumes, and analyze the competitiveness of different keyword phrases.
What you want to do is fetch a topic idea into Adwords Keyword Planner.
For example, “WordPress SEO“:
As you can see, you’ll get keyword ideas related to it.
You can then filter out based on competition or average monthly searches, to find long-tail keywords that have a low search volume and low competition, so you can easily rank for them.
Semrush Keyword Magic Tool
The Semrush keyword magic tool is one of the most powerful long-tail research tools available.
It can help you find hidden gems for your next piece of content.
It also gives you valuable insights about competition, cost per click, and more.
What Makes a Great Long-Tail Keyword?
Now that you know how to find long-tail keywords, let’s focus on evaluating your results.
Generally, it should have low competition and high search volume.
It should also be relevant to your website and provide added value to your target audience.
On top of that, it should be long enough so you can rank for it – usually between 4-7 words long.
In a nutshell, to evaluate a long-tail keyword, keep in mind these things:
- Popularity (Search Volume)
- Keyword Difficulty
Popularity (Search Volume)
In terms of popularity, long-tail keywords should have a good search volume to support the efforts you’ll put into optimizing for them.
No matter how relevant or competitive a long-tail keyword is, it won’t do any good if nobody searches for it.
So, what makes a good search volume?
Try to follow this rule.
If you’re searching for keywords with a search volume of:
- Less than 50: Avoid targeting them individually
- 50 to 250: Group related terms together
- More than 250: Use each keyword as its own focus
- “Search metrics ranking factors” (10): use similar phrases like “SEO ranking Google” or “Google ranking factors“
- “Tips for link building” (150): merge with similar keywords like “link-building strategies” or “SEO link strategies”
- “HTTP status codes” (18.000): build an in-depth guide using this long-tail keyword.
The keyword difficulty metric helps you identify profitable opportunities that are relatively easy to rank for and won’t require much effort or resources.
This metric can help you narrow down long-tail keywords and focus your efforts on terms that have a higher chance of ranking well.
Every keyword is scored out of 100, and the lower scores mean they are simpler to rank for.
If you want to appear on page one of search engine results pages, then the higher-scoring keywords will require more effort in terms of SEO optimization.
So, what KD should you aim for?
Of course, it depends.
If you’re a new website, try to target keywords with KD scores between 0-30.
For established sites, focus on KD scores of 0-50.
As a rule of thumb, your target keywords should be relevant to your content (and business).
You don’t want to try and rank for long-tail keywords that are irrelevant to your website’s topic, as it won’t bring in any long-term benefits.
Plus, you should aim for something that is potentially searched by your customers.
For example, if you are selling pet food, try to rank for more specific long-tail keywords such as “organic dog food” instead of just “pet food”.
To make your content even more targeted and relevant, use keyword modifiers such as time, location, price range, type of product/service, and more.
How to Use Your Long-Tail Keywords
Once you’ve identified long-tail keywords to target, the next step is to use them in your content.
Keep in mind these key points:
To maximize their potential, make sure to include your long-tail keywords in the following content areas:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Header and sub-headers
- Image ALT tags
- Body copy
These will help search engines identify what your page is about and serve them up in relevant search results.
Using long-tail keywords in these areas will also make your content more relevant to the readers.
One important thing to remember is not to overuse this strategy, as it can lead to keyword stuffing, which is a big SEO no-no.
In fact, this is mentioned in the recent update of the Google Search Essentials, in the SPAM policy section.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper.
And make a practical example to help you understand how I was able to rank in the top position in a short time for this long-tail keyword:
I created this +3000 word guide that covers everything about “SEO without link-building”, including ten ways to rank without backlinks:
- Parasite SEO
- Topical Authority
- Keyword Research
- On-page SEO
- Internal Links
- Organic CTR
- UX signals
- Schema Markup
- Core Web Vitals
So, where did I place the keyword?
In the page title:
In the meta description:
In the sub-headings (when possible, without forcing):
In the image ALT tags (refer to this image SEO guide for further optimization):
Within the body (remember to place your long-tail keywords naturally within the content and not overdo it. Yoast plugin can help you check the right ratio):
And finally, in the URL of your content:
Creating an outstanding, optimized article around this long-tail keyword helped me reach position zero in Google:
User’s Search Intent
When users type long-tail keywords into search engines, they are looking for something specific.
So, it’s important to consider their intent when crafting your content.
For example, someone searching for “link-building services” is probably farther along in the buyer’s journey than someone who searches for “link-building tips“.
The first user already knows what they are looking for and is likely to be interested in purchasing a service. You should cater your content accordingly by providing detailed information on the services you offer and why they should choose you.
The second user, however, is still in the research phase and wants to learn more about link-building strategies. Your content should focus on providing helpful tips and advice on the topic.
To confirm the user intent, you can also do a quick research on the SERP for your long-tail keyword and check the type of content that’s ranking.
In the case of “link-building services”:
The results on the first page are companies that sell link-building services, so that’s a good indicator of user intent.
In the case of “link-building tips”:
The results on the first page are blog posts, articles, and videos about link-building strategies.
So, if you want to beat the competition, focus on creating long-form content offering helpful tips and guides.
Finally, keep in mind that there are four different search intents:
- Navigational, when a user is looking for a specific website
- Informational, when someone wants to learn more about something
- Transactional, when people are looking to buy something
- Commercial, when the person is looking to compare or purchase products
By understanding the search intent of your long-tail keywords, you can make sure that your content is tailored to readers’ needs. This will help you rank better in Google and bring more qualified leads to your website.
Keyword Cannibalization Important Reminder
Don’t make the common mistake of creating multiple pages on your site for similar keyword variations with identical user intent. This was a suitable tactic decades ago, but now it will just cause you to compete against yourself for higher rankings in Google’s SERPs.
To optimize your content and save time, start grouping similar keywords together. Doing so will prevent the cannibalization of existing rankings.
Semantic SEO helps search engines better understand the context of your content.
It involves using related words and phrases, also known as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.
For example, if you’re writing about SEO copywriting, you might consider using similar words and phrases such as “SEO content writing” or “content marketing”.
Using LSI keywords can help boost your long-tail keyword rankings and make them more relevant to the search query.
It’s also a great way to optimize for voice search since people often use natural language when speaking to digital assistants.
Semantic SEO is also about covering the topic in-depth.
You should focus on providing comprehensive content that answers all of the user’s related questions. This will help you rank higher in long-tail keyword searches as long as you’ve provided quality information that is also relevant to the user’s search query.
To further optimize for semantic SEO, follow these recommendations:
- Optimize For Keyword Clusters
- Answer People Also Ask Questions
- Write Topic Outlines
- Use Related Terms and Synonyms
- Publish Long Content
- Add Structured Data
Long-Tail Keywords FAQ
Now, let’s take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about long-tail keywords.
Q: What is a long tail keyword example?
A: A long tail keyword example would be “organic dog food for senior dogs”. This is a very specific search term that is likely to attract qualified leads.
Q: What is the difference between long-tail keywords and head keywords?
A: The main difference between long-tail keywords and head keywords is that long-tail keywords are more specific, whereas head keywords are more general. Head keywords usually have higher search volumes, but long-tail keywords typically convert better as they are more relevant to the user’s query (and much easier to rank for).
Q: How long should my long-tail keyword be?
A: It depends on what you’re trying to rank for and the competition. Generally, long-tail keywords should be at least three words long, but it’s best to aim for keywords that are four or more words long.
Q: What is a long-tail keyword strategy?
A: A long-tail keyword strategy involves finding long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to your business, creating content that is optimized for those keywords, and then continuing to monitor the performance of that content.
Q: What is the best long-tail keyword SEO tool?
A: There are many long-tail keyword SEO tools available, but some of the most popular ones include SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. Each tool offers different features and capabilities, so it’s best to choose one that meets your specific needs.
Before You Go
Long-tail keywords are essential for SEO and content optimization.
However, it’s important to understand a keyword’s search intent before crafting your content.
Remember that long-tail keywords are more specific and often require more long-form content to rank higher.
Also, don’t forget to use semantic SEO:
And LSI keywords to make your content more relevant:
By following these guidelines, you can make sure your content strategy generates long-term success.
Long-tail keywords are so important, I know. I don’t use enough of them but will come back to your post and start implementing them more. Very nice in-depth look into this topic, as are all of your posts!
Erik Emanuelli says
Long-tail keywords help you get relatively easy organic traffic.
The hard part is finding those hidden gems. And I’m sure that most experienced SEOs are hunting them!
Thanks for reading this guide, Sabina.
I hope it could be a reference point to help you create more content around long-tail keywords.
I really appreciate the positive feedback! 🙂
Wow, this is one heckuva read! Thanks so much for explaining Semantic SEO and LSI keywords, those are weaknesses of mine I know I need to rectify in my content.
Your deep dives are something to behold, thanks so much.
Erik Emanuelli says
I’m glad to hear you really enjoyed the content, Dani.
Thanks for the great feedback.
Ryan Biddulph says
Interesting point Erik on aiming for 4 words. I have read a few posts on long tail keywords but never saw that specific piece of blogging advice. It makes perfect sense because most bloggers try to grab the low hanging fruit of 1-2 keywords but since competition is high for these heavy volume offerings most waste time fighting over ’em.
I figure it seems to be far simpler to go long tail, nail down a number of longer combinations and to drive passive, steady blog traffic over the long haul.
Excellent post bro.
Erik Emanuelli says
Most of my organic traffic is coming from long-tail queries, Ryan.
They are a great way to get the initial traction on Google that new sites need.
The tricky part is finding those hidden gems. Much easier than creating content around them.
Thanks for visiting and commenting, buddy!
Gabe Sanders says
Thanks for the information. I will keep this and work on implementing your ideas.
Erik Emanuelli says
good to hear you enjoyed the content.