What Is a Long-Tail Keyword in SEO?

If you’ve dabbled in SEO at all, you’ve probably heard the term long-tail keyword. Now you might be thinking, hold on – don’t I just want to rank for the main keywords in my industry and location? Let us stop you right there! Did you know that 92.3% of keywords get less than ten searches a month? If you’re only focusing on your core keywords, you’re missing out. So, what is a long-tail keyword in SEO?

Let's boil it down: what is a long-tail keyword in SEO?

In SEO, keywords are divided to head or main keywords and long-tail keywords. A long-tail keyword, by nature, is more specific than a head keyword. A long-tail keyword usually forms a subtopic of the head keyword. Actually, they don’t even need to be extremely long - the length is usually three words or more. What’s more important is how rare they are as a search term on Google.

Examples of long-tail keywords

The easiest way to explain what is a long-tail keyword in SEO is with a real-life example. Let’s think of a plumber based in Brisbane. Local searches like “plumber Brisbane” are extremely competitive, and you’re up against every other plumber in town with an SEO team behind them.

Head keyword search volume and difficulty for plumber brisbane related keywords

To start building your rankings as a plumber in Brisbane, you could write blog posts targeting industry-specific long-tail keywords. This will give you a boost in search engine visibility while you work your way up towards those competitive head keywords!

What is a long-tail keyword in SEO for a plumber

The role of long-tail keywords in SEO

Generally, fewer people will be writing content for a long-tail keyword than a head keyword. Therefore, they can be easier to rank for.

Now, you might be thinking: “But I want to rank for the head keyword because it gets so much traffic!” But if you rank on page 12 for that keyword it won’t bring you much traffic at all. That said, it should absolutely be your long-term goal to get on page 1 for all the right head keywords! We just recommend starting out with the low-hanging fruit to get some quick wins.

Moreover, long-tail keywords allow you to target very specific search intent. That, in turn, allows you to focus on a niche of visitors who are likely to be interested in your products or services.

Long-tail keywords are especially great for specialists who want to be known as authorities in their industry. For example, people offering online courses on parenting or health and fitness. In the SEO space, Neil Patel has built a whole business around blog articles that rank for long-tail keywords.

Let’s not forget you’re not producing all this quality content for just rankings either. If you write articles that people find valuable, they’ll link to you as a source of information – building you valuable backlinks!

How to create a successful long-tail keyword strategy

The key to a successful long-tail keyword strategy is to get crystal clear on your customers, your product and the purpose of your website. Once you have defined that vision, it will be easy to start targeting your customers with long-tail keyword content. Just make sure it still has some search volume! About 10-20 searches monthly is a good starting point.

When writing content that targets long-tail keywords, the key is to be precise. Answer the query very specifically, offering better information than other people have.

How to find long-tail keywords

  • The easiest way to find long-tail keywords is to use a paid SEO tool such as Ahrefs. Not only do professional tools like this generate keyword ideas, but they also give you search volume and estimated keyword difficulty. Data like this allows you to be strategic about where to allocate time and resources.
  • For a cheaper option, Keywords Everywhere is a credit-based browser add-on that helps you discover keywords and their search volume. It literally helps you see keywords everywhere as you browse the web – on YouTube, Google, Amazon and more - as the name suggests.
  • If you run Google Ads, you can also make use of Google’s keyword planner. Keywords that bring you Google Ads traffic are always a great starting point for your SEO too!
  • Or, if you’re after some free SEO tools to get started with, check out this post. Another free tool for getting long-tail keyword inspiration is Soovle. It's a tool where you start typing in words and get a whole bunch of completed searches including those words.

Ready to go after those long-tail keywords? If you need a hand in developing an SEO strategy for your business, contact our team.

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