The secret to connecting with your target audience in the search world is targeting the right keywords.
But it isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Everybody knows that they should target the right keywords. The challenge is, selecting the right keywords.
What are long tail keywords?
There are two kinds of keywords. Flat-head keywords are short terms people use the most to find information in search engines. Long-tail keywords are longer variations of a flat-head keyword that fewer people use to find specific information about something on search engines.
Difference between long tail and short tail keywords
Let’s assume you are a lawn mower manufacturer in Chicago. Do you target a flat-head keyword like ‘lawn mower’ or a long-tail keyword like ‘lawn mower in Chicago’?
In general, short-tail or flat-head keywords are one or two words at max, while long-tail keywords can range from two to thirty-two words on Google.
If we were to take all the keywords related to a word and plot a trend chart of the number of monthly searches on the y-axis vs the length of the keyword (flat head to long tail) on the x-axis, it would look like this.
As you can see, the top 100 keywords with millions of searches are flatheads that constitute over 18.5% of all the keywords. But as many as 70% of the keywords are long-tail, and only 5 to 10 people search for them each month.
When there are more searches, there is more competition, making it harder to rank organically and costing more to target people in paid promotions.
In addition, when people search for something as generic as "lawn mower," the chances are high that they are just looking for general information. They may not be looking to make a purchase or get their lawn mower serviced.
However, if somebody searches for "lawn mowers in Chicago," chances are high that they might be looking for manufacturer information to compare different products.
So, if you are a lawn mower manufacturer in Chicago and want to target multiple keywords, a combination of a few flatheads and more long-tail keywords may yield the best results. With long-tail keywords, you are targeting people with a clear view of the information they are looking for.
More long-tail keywords examples
For better understanding, let’s take a look at some long tail keyword examples for the flat-head ‘lawn mower’ with their search volumes. Notice how long-tail keywords tend to have fewer results (aka less competition) than flat-head keywords.
‘Lawn mower maintenance DIY’ and ‘lawn mower maintenance checklist’ are four-word long-tail keywords with lower search volumes, so they will be less competitive than the two-word flat head ‘lawn mower.’
Long tail keywords are, thus, longer search phrases with lower search volumes.
Why should you target long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy?
On the surface, long-tail keywords might seem like an unattractive prospect for improving your rankings, but when clubbed together, these long-tail keywords have a lot to offer.
The following are a few major benefits of targeting long-tail SEO keywords in your strategy.
Long-tail keywords have a clearer search intent
Common keywords do not have a clear search intent. A person searching for ‘gluten-free cakes’ may be looking for general information such as taste, ingredients, benefits, or something specific like home baking recipes, ready-to-eat baking products, or ordering a gluten-free birthday cake online.
Similarly, if a person is searching for ‘coffee,’ they might just want to know about different types of coffee, the benefits of drinking coffee, or even some coffee posters for their home or office. It could be anything.
However, with long-tail keywords, people have a clearer search intent. A person searching for ‘gluten-free cakes in Chicago’ is looking for cakes in Chicago, and a person searching for ‘coffee places in Chicago’ wants to drink coffee in Chicago.
Essentially, the longer the keywords, the clearer the search intent.
Long-tail keywords cost less in paid promotions
Since long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, fewer companies bid on them, which leads to promotion platforms charging less for them. This ultimately means lesser bidding costs for you.
If you were to bid on ‘lawn mower’ and ‘lawn mowers in Chicago,’ the cost of the latter would be less than its flat-head counterpart. Similarly, ‘gluten-free cakes in Chicago’ and ‘coffee places in Chicago’ will cost less than generic keywords like ‘gluten-free cakes’ and ‘coffee.’
Long-tail is less competitive
As mentioned before, competition in rankings for a keyword can be measured by the number of web pages with content for that keyword. You can easily check this by searching for your keywords on Google.
Here are a few examples of long-tail keyword competition, this time for long-tail keywords around gluten-free cakes.
As you can see, the keywords ' gluten-free cakes in Chicago' and 'gluten-free birthday cakes' have the lowest search volume, implying that if you start targeting these keywords, you will have to compete with fewer web pages.
The longer the keyword, the less competition you face.
10 Ways to identify long tail keywords
There are many ways to narrow down long-tail keywords. The following are the top 10 ways of identifying long-tail keywords with low competition.
Use Google’s search bar
Google is the largest search engine in the world. It has the most comprehensive database of websites and their keywords. You can find many long-tail keywords from the search bar suggestions that appear when you are typing your keyword.
To use Google’s search bar for finding long-tail keywords, do this:
- Visit https://www.google.com/
- Start typing a common keyword, but do not press enter.
- You will see Google search suggestions for keyword alternatives.
You can easily find long-tail variations of a common keyword. Once you find a few, repeat the process with those keywords to find more variations of long-tail keywords for your use.
Look what we found when we typed flat-head keywords like
- Lawn mower in Chicago
- Content marketing
- Nutrition therapy
This method is a good starting point for you to build a list of long-tail keywords for your next marketing campaign.
Look at Google’s “Related searches option”
Another Google hack to find long-tail keywords is the ‘Related searches’ section in the bottom half of the SERPs. This is a classic keyword research method of finding long-tail keyword variations related to a broad topic.
Simply do a Google search for a flathead keyword related to your product or focus area and head over to the ‘Related searches’ section.
Let’s take another example. This time, say you are marketing an online meditation course with content marketing.
To market a new online mediation course with content marketing, covering long-tail keywords like "medication benefits," "meditation techniques," "mindfulness meditation," and "guided medication" will help you establish your brand and build credibility.
Later, you can use the same technique with the word ‘course’ to find long-tail keywords for paid promotions.
Let’s say your brand is in India.
As you can see, the related searches for ‘meditation course’ mentions other keywords such as ‘meditation courses online India’ and ‘meditation courses in India.’ If you were to run a paid promotional campaign, including these keywords in your bidding strategy is a good way of improving results.
Utilize the “People also ask” section on Google
"People also ask" is another Google hack that deserves your attention. This section of the Google SERP is a good place to look for long-tail keywords. It shows a list of the most popular questions related to your search term.
To do this, search for a common keyword and look at the ‘People also ask’ section for some long-tail inspiration.
Continuing with the flat head example, ‘meditation course’
If you interact with the section and open any question, the latest Google algorithm starts showing more questions related to that term.
Use the “Answer the public” platform
Answer the Public is a great social listening platform that helps you identify the different kinds of questions people ask about a broad topic.
To use this platform
- Visit https://answerthepublic.com/
- Enter a broad search term and search.
The platform runs on a complex crawling and indexing algorithm that helps you understand what people are searching for around a common keyword. You can pick long-tail keywords from the questions and target them to filter your audience based on search intent.
For instance, people searching for "how" questions are more action-oriented than people searching for “what” questions. If you want your content to generate leads, target the hows, and if you're going to create brand awareness, target the whats.
Browse forums and discussion platforms like Quora, Reddit
Platforms like Quora and Reddit are also good places to mine long-tail keywords. Simply log in to the website with your public or personal email address and search for your keyword.
- Create an account on Quora and Reddit.
- Search for your broad topic.
- Analyze the results for long-tail keywords that you can use in your marketing campaigns.
You will get a detailed list of community discussions on the forum. Pick up subtopics and long-tail keywords from here based on the number of people engaging with the questions. For instance, the question ‘what is the best way to meditate?’ is the most engaging question with over 1.3k followers. So including long-tail keywords like “best way to meditate” is a good pick from this exercise.
Search your competitors to find long-tail keywords
You can also search your competitor’s websites for long-tail keywords already working for the SERPs. There are many ways to do this. Here are the best ones:
- Site: search on Google
Visit Google and search for this “site:www.competitorwebsite.com + broad keyword”
- Ctrl+F in HTML
Open the HTML source code of your competitor’s website, press Ctrl+F, and search for a common keyword. The browser will highlight all the uses of that word. Go through the highlighted words to find long-tail keywords that your competitor is using.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner
Open your Google Ads Keyword Planner, select ‘Discover New Keywords’, and toggle to the 'Start with a website’ option. Enter your competitor’s website to get a list of all the keywords that appear in the URL.
Check out this in-depth Scalenut blog, "How to Search Keywords on a Website," for a detailed step-by-step guide on searching your competitor’s website for long-tail keywords.
Use Google Trends
Google Trends is a free tool that helps people understand the latest search trends.
It shows many relevant statistics about a keyword, such as
- Interest over time
- Interest by region
- Related topics
- Related queries
Each and every one of these trends is a good source of information. You can find long-tail keywords in the "related topics" and "related queries" sections. You can also create location-based long-tail keywords based on insights from ‘interest by region.’
Use keyword research tools
If you are running short on time and resources, there are many keyword research tools that can help you speed up your search for long-tail keywords. Most of them have a simple UI/UX and only require you to enter a broad term to find long-tail variations.
Keywordtool.io is an ideal starting point for keyword search tools. It allows users to find the most relevant long-tail keywords on various platforms like Google, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
You can also filter your search based on data types such as images, news, videos, or shopping.
- Keyword Everywhere
This is a useful Chrome extension that helps you find more long-tail keywords with every Google search.
You can use the free version for generating long-tail keyword ideas without the search volume. Simply sign up on the platform, download the Chrome extension, and validate your account with an API key.
Once installed, you can see long-tail keywords easily in a separate section on the right side of your Google SERPs.
- Wordstream Free Keyword Research Tool
This is a good free tool that helps marketers find long-tail keywords. You do not need to sign-up to use the tool. Simply enter a broad keyword and click on ‘Find my keywords.’
The tool will give you a detailed list of all related keywords with their monthly search volume, bid range, and competition level.
You can also download your results in a “.csv” format to run further analysis.
For an in-depth guide to keyword research tools for best results, refer to this Scalenut blog on the best keyword research tools every marketer should use.
Use Scalenut to identify NLP long-tail keywords
Last but not least, you can use Scalenut, the all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform, to find long-tail keywords based on your target location. You can sign up for the free plan without a credit card and generate SEO reports on any topic.
To do this
- Log in to your Scalenut account.
- Head over to the ‘SEO Docs’ tab.
- Enter your generic keyword and select the target location and click on ‘Create SEO Doc.’
- Scalenut will run a thorough content analysis of the top 30 SERP websites on Google and produce a detailed report with a competition overview, outlines, questions from different platforms, citations, and key terms.
- Head over to the ‘Key Terms’ tab to see a list of NLP keywords with their frequency of use and importance.
The SEO report also provides users with the exact location of the use of those keywords in the competitor's content. You can pick up keywords from this list for your marketing campaigns.
Alternatively, you can also create content on the Scalenut platform with its AI writing features and templates.
Mine your Google Analytics and Search Console data to identify opportunities
If you have an older version of your website with many months or years of Google tracking data, you can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to find search queries that you appear for on SERPs. This could help you identify some long-tail keywords that are working in your favor and increasing your visibility online.
How to optimize your pages for long tail keywords
Now that you have a long list of lucrative keywords, it is time to put them to good use for your website. The following are a few ways you can optimize your pages for long-tail keywords —
- Front-load your heading with long-tail keywords
Use your long-tail keywords at the start of headings to highlight them in your content and help search engine algorithms identify you as a good source of information on that topic.
- Create a separate FAQs section
A popular way of using the long-tail keyword questions you find is by creating a separate FAQs section on your website. These are a reliable way of further cementing your position as a credible source of answers to popular questions around your target keyword.
- Use long-tail keywords in meta tags
If possible, include a few important long-tail keywords in your meta title, sub-title, and meta description. These tags help SERP crawlers categorize your webpage better.
- Use long-tail keywords in the image name and alt-text
Another good place to use long-tail keywords is your image name and alt-text. This is also a way to guide search engines to understand the contents of your images.
- Edit your anchor texts with long-tail keywords
Search engines pay special attention to anchor texts in your content since they link to other web pages. Long-tail keywords should be used to connect authoritative sources of information to the content of your web page.
Long-tail keywords can help you improve the performance of your website, whether you are a marketer, writer, editor, or SEO professional. They allow you to attract niche segments of customers who have higher chances of taking action.
We hope the information above will help you find the most lucrative long-tail keywords for all your marketing needs. For a deep dive into keyword research, check out our blog on how to do keyword research for SEO and PPC.
Scalenut is an all-in-one AI-powered SEO and content marketing platform that helps marketers worldwide create high-quality and competitive content at scale. From research, planning, and outlines to ensuring quality, Scalenut helps you do your best at everything.
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