A struggle for many local businesses is competing with big name brands for keyword rankings and positioning. When developing a site it’s easy to get tunnel vision on how potential customers will find you, a clothing store is a good example. A local clothing store could spend years trying to compete with big name chains to increase their rank for the keyword “suits” but they would be competing with very well established, much larger companies, often times fight an uphill battle.
But what if the store didn’t try to compete for “suits”? What if they thought like a customer, and built content for how consumers search, say “How to buy a good suit”. A query like that resembles something someone would actually search for, and something with much less competition than “Suits”. In this article we will talk about the benefits of targeting “Long Tail Keywords”, and what it can do for your business.
What is a Long Tail Keyword?
In the online marketing world, there are two types of keywords; Head and Long Tail.
· Head keywords are, in general, very broad, highly competitive words. For example, the Head keyword in our previous example would be: “Suits”.
· Long Tail keywords are 3-4 word queries that have a lower search volume than Head Keywords, but with that lower search volume comes less competition for top spots.
Why Should You be Targeting Long Tail Keywords
· There is much less competition for long tail keywords than Head Keywords
· 70% of all searches on the major search engines are Long Tail Keyword queries
· Developing content for users searching with Long Tail Keywords delivers more targeted traffic and these users are more likely to be further along in the buying cycle.
o A user looking for “Motor Cycles” is nowhere near as valuable as one looking for “2013 Harley Davidson Road King”. The user looking for Motor Cycles could be doing a report on Motor Cycles, looking for pictures of Motor Cycles or a number of other things, whereas when looking for a specific bike, they are most likely to be looking to buy, or get products / services directly related to it.
· When used correctly, ranking high for Long Tail Keywords lead to
o Lower Bounce-Rates
o Higher Conversions
o Longer On-Site time
o Less Competition
· Ranking well for many different “long-tail” keywords can quickly dwarf the ROI of trying to rank for “Head” Keywords.
o Think of it like this: Would you rather be in the top 5 for 300 Long Tail Keywords, or be in the top 5 for 2 Head Keywords.
How to find Long Tail Keywords users are searching for
· Think like a user, and develop content around that.
o Over the last few years Google has realized how users search and reengineered how they deliver results. The average user is not simply placing a few keywords in the search bar, but entering full queries such as; “What’s the weather like today”. By knowing this website owners can create content that answers these questions and makes their products and services easier to find.
· Utilize various keyword tools both free and paid
o GoogleAdwords requires an account, but with it you can utilize its Keyword Planner
§ This can let you look multiple keywords, see what kind of traffic they are generating (both locally and non) as well as see other related Keywords.
o Google Trends, another tool that can show related searches as well as how those searches are doing over time.
o Even something as simple as typing a search in Google’s search bar can show you what other real people are searching and how they are asking Google to find that information.