Ranking on the first page of Google is challenging, especially when your company is in a highly competitive industry. Today, we’ll look at how to achieve this using long-tail keywords.

The truth takes time, money, and hard work to make the top spot on Google. And that’s once you’ve found an SEO expert who can execute your strategy.

Just a few years ago, you could spend a couple of thousand dollars on keyword-stuffed content and backlinks in place on link farms and essentially “cheat” your way into the first page. 

While there is no magic formula to getting on the first page, marketers everywhere know that the most important thing Google values is customer experience and the quality of their results. Google wants to provide users with high-quality content that is relevant to their needs.

There is another way to rank on the first page of Google that would be much easier and take a lot less time.

what are Long tail Keywords

This is where long tails enter the picture

70% of all searches performed on Google are long-tail keywords, and you can utilise these long-tail keywords to get these users on your website.

Graphic that shows the usage of long tail keywords in monthly searches
Long tail keywords make up the majority of searches. Credit: Hitwise

Let’s start with the basics. We link to many of our popular articles on search engine optimisation here so if you want to dive deeper into this topic, you can:

What are Long Tail Keywords?

While most targeted keywords are made up of 1 to 3 words, long tail keywords are phrases made up of 4 words or more. Often, these key “phrases” are questions or statements that individuals search for to find what they are looking for. 

Long tail keywords are much more specific than regular keywords. The benefit of using long-tail keywords is that there is much less competition using them to get on the first page of Google search results.

For instance, a short keyword like coffee likely has a high search volume. However, this makes it more competitive and harder to figure out what users actually want. By contrast, a long tail, like what is the best espresso machine, is less competitive and more specific.

Long tail keywords are 3 or more words long and laser-focused on a niche aspect of a broader topic. For example:

  • Broad keyword: pet food
  • Long tail versions:
    • grain-free dog food
    • organic cat food delivered
    • toy dog breeds food requirements

The longer the tail, the more targeted the traffic. Long tails demonstrate extensive knowledge of a niche subject.

Benefits of Long Tail Keywords

  • Increased click-through rate – high relevance to searchers’ needs
  • Lower competition than short tail keywords
  • Easier to rank for long-tail terms
  • Brand awareness and credibility in your niche
  • Useful for targeting niche demographics and buyer personas
  • Can rank multiple long tails for the same topic
  • Long tails bring in consistent traffic over time

Finding Relevant Long Tail Keywords

  • Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Soovle.
  • Analyze search engine results pages for seed keywords to find long tail variations.
  • Tap into search trends using Google Trends.
  • Keyword typo analysis to find misspellings.
  • Analyze competitor websites and ranking pages.
  • Search community forums related to your industry.
  • Include synonyms and related keywords.

Optimizing for Long Tail Keywords

  • Use long tails naturally in your content.
  • Include related LSI keyword variations.
  • Craft compelling title tags and meta descriptions using long tails.
  • Improve page speed and technical SEO.
  • Produce quality content that satisfies search intent.
  • Include keywords in headers, image filenames, and alt text.
  • Link internally to pages optimized for related long tails.

Tracking Long Tail Keyword Performance
Use tools like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and SEMrush to track long-tail keyword rankings and traffic. Monitor trends over time. Measure traffic quality via lower bounce rates. Check click-through rates from SERPs.

Long-tail keyword optimization is crucial for better conversions and increased organic reach. With strategic research and content planning, businesses can drive more qualified visitors through targeted long-tail searches.


Tips for Optimizing Long Tail Keywords:

Based on my experience optimizing websites across diverse industries, I have identified 3 key tips for maximizing long-tail keyword content:

  1. Include Geographic Locations: For local businesses targeting customers in specific areas, incorporate relevant city/state names and ZIP codes into your long-tail keywords and content. For my client, John’s Pizza Place in London, we targeted long tails like “best pizza restaurant in south London” rather than just generic terms.
  2. Optimize for Question Keywords: People often search Google in question format. Include FAQs and embed questions into your content optimized with locational long-tail keywords. For example, “Where can I find the best fish and chips restaurant in Manchester?”.
  3. Use Numbered List Long Tails: Ranking different iterations of numbered list long tails like “10 golf courses in Scotland” or “5 best Chinese takeaways in Liverpool” worked well for driving targeted organic traffic.
Long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords

How Do I Determine What Long Tail Keywords I Should Use?

Long tail keywords allow you to tap into specific searches by Google users. Most companies focus on shorter keywords, which means there’s a lot of competition fighting for a rank on the first page. 

By focusing on the long-tail keywords that most companies ignore, you’ll have much less competition on your way up the ranks.

To use long tail keywords, you’ll need to do your research and find the ones that are most relevant to you. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner or a free tool like Long Tail Generator to generate long tail keywords. 

These tools allow you to input relevant keywords, and they will generate long-tail keywords that you can use in your content strategy. One of the most important things to remember is that the long-tail keywords you choose are relevant to your website. 

Also, your long tail keyword must always be at least four words. 

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

Remember that Google’s Keyword Planner provides a bonus when it generates long tail keywords. It will also tell you how many people, both locally and globally, are searching for those long-tail keywords and how much competition you’d have targeting them.

Since you use phrases instead of just a few words, your long-tail keywords can be very specific. This means you can better plan your content strategy, focusing on those keywords. Here’s an example:

If your company sells cameras and you target cameras as your keyword, you’ll have a lot of competition to get on the first page of results.

On the other hand, if you use long-tail keywords, such as Buy Sony Rebel T5i 18 Megapixels or DSRL Canon EOS 6D 20.2 Megapixels for sale, you’ll have a minimum competition to get on the first page of results.

The benefit of these long-tail keywords is that you’re also targeting specific users who are looking for your particular services or products. If you’re marketing a local business, you can include your city in your long-tail keyword.

What Page of Google Am I On?

Before you can get your long tail keywords ranking on the first page of Google, you’ll need to know their current search engine position. To do this, you’ll need to utilise a SERP checker, which you can often find for free online. 

SERP checkers allow you to put in the keywords you’re targeting along with your website and find out how many people, locally and globally, search for that particular keyword (or keyphrase). 

The SERP checker will also tell you exactly what page on Google your website shows up on under that keyword.

4 Tips to Utilise Long Tail Keywords Effectively

To utilise your long tail keywords effectively, you’ll need to create high-quality, relevant content and optimise it. 

Use Long Tail Keywords in your H2s and H3s

The first step to optimising your content is to write keyword-rich headlines. This is important to search engine optimisation because most Google users will read the headline on their search results and decide whether or not it’s relevant to what they are searching for.

Understand Search Intent

Long tail keywords allow you to reach customers at every stage, from awareness to purchase. Your content should reflect what your target market is searching for. 

Are they trying to learn more about your product? 

Are they searching for your prices? Do they want to compare “Apples to Apples” and how can you facilitate that? Your content can provide the answers they are looking for and allow you the opportunity to persuade them to purchase from your company. 

If your company provides a service, you can use long tail keywords to target users searching for those services. 

You can target the exact type of customer you want to service, such as those looking for “cheaper” options, “more secure” options, or perhaps those looking for a local option.

Use Long Tails as Content Marketing Inspiration

Creating a calendar for your content marketing is important. Google will always prefer newer, fresher content to older content, so you must be consistent. 

Put together a plan that includes either blogs, articles, or landing pages focusing on the long tail keywords. You can outsource to a writer or hire a marketing company to do the research, planning, and writing. 

The important thing is to consistently release new content focusing on long tail keywords you are targeting. 

You can release multiple pages of content targeting a single long-tail keyword or multiple pages targeting various long-tail keywords. Find what works best for you and include it in your plan.

If you plan on blogging only once a month, you can forget about moving up to the first page of Google anytime soon. By creating more and more high-quality content, you can work your website on the first page. 

High-quality content should be 500 or more words, including pictures, internal links, or embedded videos. 

Think quality over quantity and publish a few pieces of content per month that are focused on your target long-tail keyword. Your content must always be original; never copy someone else’s content because Google will, in turn, punish you by removing you from its search results entirely.

Increasingly, SERPs show more than just search results. More and more results pages also contain rich text elements. Long tail keywords are the most likely to be affected by this change.

For example, long tail question keywords often feature a preview of the content, which Google thinks provides the best answer. For instance:

an example of a long tail keyword question "What do ducks eat?" with a featured snippet.
Featured snippets are great for people who use search engines, but some feel they stop people from clicking on their websites.

The people also ask feature, shown above, is a great way to identify common user questions you can target.

You can also use what is known as locally modified long tails to try and make it into the local pack. A keyword is locally modified when it references a specific location. The local pack displays relevant businesses in this area.

For example, if you were researching parks in Belfast, you might see the following:

an example of a google local pack for "parks in Belfast"
Google Local Pack is a list of the top businesses that are related to the searched topic with information, links, photos and reviews. Credit: ProfileTree.com

Should I Market My Content?

Absolutely! Post on all of your social media channels, send it out through email newsletters, find influencers who would be willing to share it with a link back to your site and do everything you can to get prospects to view that content. 

You can also write articles and have them published on relevant websites and link back to your website. This allows you to reach an entirely new audience, and as long as it is relevant to what you sell or what service you provide, you’ll find prospects. 

You may even want to consider paying to “boost” your Facebook posts or promote your LinkedIn posts to ensure that the right target market is exposed to it. 

Facebook and LinkedIn provide very targeted advertising options for your posts, and it will help you reach beyond those who are already following your page.

frequently Asked Questions on Long Tail Keywords

Q: How do I find the best long-tail keywords to target?

Based on my experience, start by identifying a core topic and then use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Soovle and SEMrush to find longer variations. Analyze the search results and autosuggestions. Review keywords your competitors are ranking for. Identify location-based, question-style and numbered list long tails tailored to your business.

Q: How many long tail keywords should I optimize per page?

I recommend choosing 1-2 primary long-tail keywords per page. You can then include 5-10 related, secondary long-tail keywords that help enrich the content. Avoid stuffing too many keywords, and focus on using them naturally in headings, meta descriptions, image names, etc.

Q: How much content do I need to rank for long tail keywords?

For long-tail keywords with low competition, you can rank with just 500-1000 words of content. But for more competitive long tails targeting informational search intent, aim for 2000+ words of in-depth, useful content like guides and comparisons. Optimize with keywords in headings, paragraphs, lists, etc.

Q: How long does it take to see results from long-tail keyword optimization?

It varies based on authority and competition, but you can expect to see rankings improve in 1-3 months with a solid long-tail keyword strategy. Track keyword ranks weekly rather than daily. Give your content time to gain relevance. Update pages periodically to power further gains.

Q: Should I optimize for long-tail keywords or just short keywords?

Focus on both! Use short keywords for branding and core topics. Optimize long-tail keywords for increased conversions and targeted growth. Short and long-tail keywords complement each other in a balanced SEO approach. Prioritize long tails for niche opportunities.

Conclusion: Make Your Long Tail Keyword Content Relevant

Long tail keywords are an excellent way to tap the 70% of Google users who are searching using specific phrases.  This makes them essential to your SEO strategy.

Your company can work on ranking on the first page of Google results without worrying about competition because most companies spend most of their time, money, and effort dominating the more ambiguous keyword terms.

Do your research, create high-quality content, and market that content so that you can make your way up to the first page. 

Content is indeed King, and your company can benefit from that. By following the advice of this post, you’ll be able to find long-term keywords and use them to dominate your industry. To summarize, when creating long tail keyword content, always remember to make it Relevant.

If you need help with your long-tail keywords, content creation or SEO strategy – then do reach out to our digital agency team. We look forward to working with you in the near future!

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