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Why Long Tail Keywords are Important

Writing by Nick Stamoulis in Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundation of an SEO campaign and are at the center of every SEO decision that is made. When conducting keyword research the most important things to pay attention to when selecting keywords are the relevancy and the search volume. For a small business or one that is just getting a website up and running, it’s not advisable to go after the high search volume keywords because it will take years to even begin to see any traction. The best bet is to focus on keywords somewhere in the middle, that have search volume but aren’t as competitive. These keywords could be long tail variations of keywords, or keywords that include 3 or more words in the phrase.

Here are 4 reasons why website owners should utilize long tail keywords in their SEO campaign:

There’s less competition

Broad keywords may have a high search volume but think about the number of sites that will rank for something extremely broad like “dresses”. If you operate a small, local fashion boutique you’ll never rank for something like that due to competition from large well established retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, or Victoria’s Secret. Instead, focus on your specialty. Maybe you sell polka dotted cocktail dresses. “Polka dotted cocktail dresses” gets less search volume than “dresses” but there is much less competition for this long tail keyword.

Higher conversion rate

People that search using long tail keywords typically are looking for something very specific and have already spent the time doing research and narrowing down their search. Broad keywords don’t convert as well because searchers are still typically in research mode and might not even know what they want. If “polka dotted cocktail dresses” brings someone to your page that is full of pretty polka dotted cocktail dresses, there’s a good chance that they will convert.

Keeps things natural

A big part of SEO today is creating and sharing content. It’s important to naturally incorporate keywords into content like blog posts in order for the post to appear within a search over time. If you continually use the same keywords over and over, that may raise a red flag and you could be considered a spammer. Using different long tail variations throughout content and as anchor text helps to keep things natural.

Less expensive for PPC

While SEO is a long term process, investing in PPC can help generate traffic on a more immediate basis. Of course, PPC can also be very expensive, especially if you choose to go after very competitive keywords. A work around for that is to target long tail keywords in a PPC campaign. Because there is less competition, they will be much less expensive but should still bring targeted visitors to your site. As your SEO campaign starts to gain some traction, you can scale back on PPC efforts.

Initially you will want to conduct keyword research to select some long tail keywords, but it’s also important to check analytics. See what long tail keywords are actually delivering traffic to certain pages of your site and incorporate them into the mix if they are relevant.

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