Thursday 17 October, 2013

Long Tail Keywords and Why Marketers Love Them

Just as the name suggests, a long tail keyword is a long phrase or short sentence. Unlike a usual keyword, which may be a word or three, a long tail keyword could be something like ‘electric hybrid cars with twin motors,’ ‘how to save money on your electric bill’ or ‘how do celebrities keep their skin looking good.’

Low to No Competition

The main reason we use long tail keywords is that simple keywords are hard to rank for. The marketers of yesteryear have already targeted them and so it’s much harder to rank for them.

For example, if you chose the keyword ‘electric cars’ or ‘skin care,’ good luck ranking for them. You’d need to do some fierce SEO work to beat the competition. These keywords have already been dominated by other marketers, so we long tail keywords which haven’t been used so much.

Better Targeting

Another advantage is that long tail keywords offer better targeting. Generally speaking, you’ll get fewer impressions because fewer people are searching for those particular keywords. But the ones that are searching for those phrases will like what you have to offer. Long tail keywords are targeted to a specific sub-topic.

Let’s take dog training as an example. If your site targets ‘dog training,’ you’ll get a lot of traffic (if your SEO is good). But the people who hit your site may not be looking for what you’re offering.

But what if you target the phrase ‘how to crate train an Italian greyhound?’ Obviously, there aren’t so many people targeting this phrase. But the ones that are targeting it will find exactly what they’re looking for on your site. This means less traffic but it’s more targeted.

Keywords for Your Budget

Another advantage is that if you’re using an ad network, long tail keywords are much cheaper. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re lower quality. Studies have been done on long tail keywords and they don’t find that these keywords have any lower of a click-through rate.

In fact, some studies have found them to have a higher conversion rate. This is probably because of the above reason – better targeting. What this means is that you can potentially get the same results by spending less money.

The Disadvantage of Long Tail Keywords

There’s just one disadvantage and while not a huge thing, it can make using these keywords tricky. The disadvantage is that since these are entire phrases, they’re much harder to work into your content in a natural way.

For example, try writing an article around the key phrase ‘how to get wine stains out of carpet.’ You’d have to say something like, ‘Do you know how to get wine stains out of carpet’ or ‘Are you wondering how to get wine stains out of carpet?’ Try using that naturally once per paragraph. It’s pretty much impossible and can produce seriously awkward results.

Using long tail keywords may be a challenge for your writer, but they’re well worth it because of the benefits they offer.

Bob Steele

Bob Steele is an entrepreneur, software developer, marketer, and author living in the Denver metropolitan area. He’s an avid outdoorsman who loves skiing, hiking, fishing, boating, and just plain having fun. His interests include games, space, technology, physics, cooking (well eating actually), economics, business, internationalism, and team sports. With over thirty years of professional consulting experience, Bob has been exposed to many diverse business models and has gained a sensible approach to life. Bob’s company, WaveCentric is focused on commerce, marketing, and entertainment related products.

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