Ever heard of a “long-tail keyword”? This is one of those terms that gets thrown around in the world of SEO, and the context isn’t always enough to give you a picture of what these things mean. Basically, long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keyword phrases than their shorter cousins. Long-tail keywords tend to get used when a visitor is either closer to purchasing something or using voice search.
Most importantly, long-tail keywords are incredibly useful tools for SEO-savvy websites looking to boost their rank in the search results.
Here are 5 important reasons you should start pumping some long-tail keywords into your site content.
#1 They Rank Easier Than Their Shorter Cousins
Long-tail keywords offer a huge advantage over shorter ones in that they have less competition, making it easier to rank for them. Long-tail keywords are necessarily more of a niche deal, which makes them naturally less highly sought-after by other parties who are trying to rank in the search results.
For instance, if you are selling art, you can pretty much forget appearing at the top of the Google search results for “art” because there is so much competition.
But if you are a specialty art dealer who works mostly with handsome soap-based lawn gnomes in provocative poses, then congrats – you can probably rank highly for some long-tail keywords related to this highly specific niche. In other words, the more specific your product/service, the greater your advantage in the long-tail keyword department.
#2 Their Conversion Rates Are Superhuman (Thanks to Clarity of Intent)
Long-tail keywords convert 2.5X better than head keywords. Pretty big difference, right? That’s because long-tail keywords focus-fire on just one expected user intent. If someone is on Google searching for “buy juice,” that’s a really broad keyword – overall their intent is pretty vague. What kind of juice do they want? Orange? Apple? Jamba?
As a juice vendor, your chances of obtaining a conversion from this user’s search is pretty dismal.
Now, if that same user were to search, instead, for “unsweetened pineapple juice with no preservatives,” that makes for a much better conversion opportunity when you are indeed a seller of unsweetened, unpreserved pineapple juice.” The conversion rate for long-tail keywords is around a whopping 36%, and you can see why.
#3 They Push Up Your Rank for The Shorter Keywords Too
Like the above subheading says, long-tail keywords actually help head keywords rank at an improved rate. This happens because the long-tail keywords get you more traffic (as described above). When that traffic jumps up, you get more backlinks, which makes the great burning digital sun that is Google shine in your general direction – that is, Google will then consider you a niche authority, allowing your site to start ranking for those competitive shorter keywords.
#4 They Optimize Your Content for the Future of Web Searches
Like it or not, voice search appears to be the way of the future. With Alexa, Siri, and Echo inducted into families around the world, you can now exert the bare-minimum effort to acquire the fastest results possible. You ask a question aloud, it gets answered aloud by a virtual library. Boom.
This being the case, long-tail keywords are practically made to optimize websites for voice searches.
Most voice commands are approximately four-to-five words long, which also holds true for long-tail keywords. People tend to issue vocal queries along the lines of, “How do I stave off gangrene?” and “Why do people expose children to clowns?” Once you start optimizing your content for long-tail searches that target a specific niche, you can start ranking more effectively for voice search commands – and the latter aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
#5 They Bump You into the Featured Snippet
AKA “answer boxes,” featured snippets are those little bits of preview content that show up at the top of your Google searches. For websites, the featured snippet is like premier seating for VIPs at the theater. You know how, sometimes, that snippet is so good at telling you exactly what you wanted to know that you don’t even have to click on a result?
You just scan the snippet and go on with your business.
Well, when you start featuring more long-tail keywords in your content, you majorly up your chances of landing in that sweet little box. That being said, this also means you’re less likely to get traffic as a result of that “rank 0 position,” but then, if that’s the case, nobody else in the results will get clicked either. And if someone does get clicked, it’s almost certainly going to be whoever’s in the answer box.
As with things like banner ads, it’s not always about getting clicked, but increasing awareness.
And if Google sees that people are looking at your snippet in the results and ending their search, it paints a picture of a user getting what they needed from your snippet—which means Google will find value in your page/site!