Using Long Tail Keywords to Boost your SEO Rankings
If you’re trying to compete with the big boys, you’re doing it all wrong.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be daunting, bewildering and just plain confusing. If you’re a small business, it can be a hopeless task trying to rank against bigger, more established businesses that have been doing SEO for donkey’s years. They have experts, resources, unlimited marketing funds. You’re David vs Goliath, what hope do you have?
Meet your new best friend, the long tail keyword – a handy little tactic to swat a stream of relevant, wallet-wielding consumers your way.
What are long tail keywords?
Basically, they’re exactly as they sound –
Longer, multi-word search phrases which are very specific to your product or service.
Shorter, general search terms may drive higher volumes of traffic, but they have tougher competition. If you’re a new or small business, you have a better chance of trying to rank for longer, more specific search terms.
And the great news is, consumers using long tail keywords tend to be late to the buying cycle. They’ve already done their research, they know what they’re looking for and they’re ready to buy.
How to narrow down the right ones
Let’s say you own a small used-car sales business. It’s unlikely you’ll rank for a search term like used cars against a competitor like Carsales. You’ll have more of a chance if you add a local angle like used cars Adelaide. Even better, if you happen to sell a particular type of car or offer a specialised service like, restored antique cars Adelaide, or classic cars Adelaide.
The longer the search phrase, the smaller number of enquiries. But here’s the thing – the consumers using them are more likely to convert.
Another useful approach is to use your unique selling position (USP).
- What is it you are offering?
- How are you different from your competitors?
When you understand your USP, you can apply it to finding relevant, highly targeted long tail keywords.
This time, you own a travel company and you specialise in adventure holidays for families across Asia. Now, you probably have little hope of ranking for a search term like adventure holidays, but family adventure holidays in Asia? That’s a highly targeted search phrase that could send some very willing consumers your way.
There are some nifty tools to help you research different keywords and discover the numbers of enquiries they generate:
Most of you will have heard of Google Adwords. The advertising service provided by Google for businesses looking to display ads on Google and its advertising network. The Adwords Keyword Planner allows you to look at estimated search volume numbers for different search phrases and keywords. The disadvantages? The tool hides data and the numbers are rounded off, so not completely accurate.
The Keyword Tool can be used as a backup to Google Adwords. It gives you thousands of long-tail keywords related to your topic or product by automatically generating Google’s auto suggestions. The auto suggestions are generated based on the Google domain and language that you choose.
Ubersuggest lets you take your research to another level by providing suggestions for keywords not available in the Google Keyword Planner.
Long tail keywords are especially gold in blog content
Blogging may be the last thing you have time or inclination to do, but it plays an essential role in search engine optimisation. Every page you publish is another chance to rank in Google. The more content you own, the more Google loves you.
And long tail keywords are especially great in blog posts.
With blog posts, you get to show consumers you have authority, experience and knowledge in your field. A chance to build a bank of well-written, relevant content that sends constant streams of traffic to your site.
The secret is, designing each blog post to target a specific long tail keyword or search phrase. These search phrases should be well-researched; there’s no point creating a blog post around a long tail keyword that generates zero traffic. What you want are search phrases relevant to the product or service you offer that generate a healthy stream of enquiries and low competition.
For example, you own a photography business and you want to increase your rankings and traffic. You’re a little sick of doing the wedding rounds, but you enjoy the ease and tranquility of portrait work. So, you decide to tailor a blog post around that topic to generate some targeted leads. There are already 3 sponsored ads and 2 trillion Google listings for the keyword portrait photography – so what do you do?
You explore some long tail keywords.
You hop on over to Google Adwords and you discover that the long tail keyword portrait photography tips generates 260 Australian monthly searches and has low competition. While, it’s true, these users are probably looking for tips over an actual photographer, it’s a good topic to show off your expertise and increase your reputation as a leading authority within this field.
How to apply long tail keywords to your content
Gone are the days of cramming keywords into your content to gain traction. Google is too smart for that. The most important rule to effective search engine optimisation is to create well-written, unique and relevant content.
After that, it’s about tweaking the finer points.
Each and every page of your website, including blog posts, should have a unique title, description meta tag, h1 header tag and body content. Your long tail keyword specific to each page should, if possible, appear in each of these. It’s not essential – if it doesn’t make sense, or create intrigue in the title. Remember, the most important goal is to get people to click through to your site. But it needs to appear throughout your content at least 3 times, and especially in the first 100 words.
Your aim should be to target dozens or even hundreds of easy-to-rank-for long tail keywords across your website, rather than focusing on a few more general keywords that already attract high competition.