What are long tail keywords and how do you find them?

Posted: 11 Jul 2016

Keywords are dead, right? Social media’s far more important for your SEO – isn’t it? Nothing’s ever that simple. Thankfully, the days of content which simply repeats keywords hitting the top of the rankings are long gone. Google wants something different. It wants rich content, not lists of ‘dentists in Preston, dentists in Lancaster, dentists in Chorley’. And social media is now a hugely powerful tool for driving traffic to your website.

However, people are still using keywords to search for businesses. You need to be aware of the importance of long-tail keywords.


What’s a long-tail keyword?


It’s a phrase which people use to search for something. Instead of simply searching for ‘florists’, many people will search for ‘florists in Manchester’, or ‘florists in Didsbury’, for example. Some people will even use emotive adjectives and ask questions in their search – ‘How do I find the best garage in Warrington?’, or ‘Where can I buy the cheapest coffee in Liverpool?’. It’s a very human way of searching the web. More people are accessing the web primarily from their mobile devices now than laptops, PCs, and Macs. Many smartphones have in-built assistants like Siri and Cortana who are accessed by voice control. Asking questions like this is a very natural way of searching using that voice control.


Why are long-tail keywords important?


When it comes to getting people into your sales funnel, it’s not just about the sheer weight of numbers searching for a word.

There are two more key things SEO experts are looking for when considering keywords:

  1. The intent of the searcher – the use of emotive adjectives and questions in long-tail keywords shows a strong intent on the part of the searcher. That’s a good sign. These are people who are more likely to convert into customers than those who aren’t using questions or adjectives like that.
  2. The level of competition – ‘florists in Manchester’ will have thousands of searchers every month, but as there are a large number of florists in the area, there’s stiff competition to hit the top of the search results. If you target those looking for ‘Who is the best florist in Didsbury?’, there will be fewer searches. However, you’re more likely to get local customers with a stronger intent, and there will be less competition from other florists for that top spot in Google.


How does your SEO expert choose the right long-tail keywords for your business?


Your SEO expert will do research using one or a number of keyword tools like those in Google Analytics or http://www.keywordrevealer.com/. They’ll look at what’s being said on social media and how phrases are being used in searches, using tools like Followerwonk. The results will show up the volume of searches and the level of competition. Your SEO will weigh up the relative benefits and drawbacks of a number of long-tail keywords, and come up with a list tailored to you.


How can you use the keywords?


One of the best ways of improving your SEO is to share fresh content. Search engines like Google love it – whether that content is refreshed website copy, landing pages, and blogs. Blogs shared on social media help attract page viewers into your website – and your sales funnel.  It’s one of the reasons blogging is so hot right now. The other is that blogs allow you to inform and educated your potential customers, improving the visibility of your brand. Ensuring your blogs contain the best long-tail keywords for your business helps their visibility to search engines. A word of warning, though. Don’t stuff your blogs or website copy with them. Not only does it turn off readers, search engine spiders which crawl the web penalise unappealing content like that which can have an adverse effect on your Google page ranking.

If there’s one word you should be thinking about the use of long-tail keywords, it’s this: ‘organic’.