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If you’re investing your time or money in search engine optimization (SEO) for your company’s website, you probably have at least a few keywords in mind that you want to rank for in search engine results. For example, if you’re an HVAC company in Gaithersburg, you’ll probably want to rank for keywords like HVAC company Gaithersburg, HVAC contractors Gaithersburg, etc. SEO nerds like my boss call these “head” keywords.
But in addition to these high traffic (and most likely high competition) head keywords, a well-thought out SEO strategy will also target long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are longer, specific keywords that have less traffic, and generally, less competition than head keywords. For example, if you’re an HVAC company, “how to repair an air conditioner” would be an appropriate long tail keyword to target.
How Long Tail Keywords Improve Your SEO
According to a recent article by Search Engine Watch, long tail keywords are becoming increasingly important because the way people perform searches is changing—especially with the undeniable increase of people performing searches on their mobile devices. People come to search engines for a number of reasons, and one of those reasons is to get answers. So unsurprisingly, search queries often take the form of a question:
- • What is content marketing?
- • What’s a good website conversion rate?
- • How can I tell if my website has been penalized by Google?
- • Why doesn’t Justin Timberlake love me?
- • Etc.
Even though a given long tail keyword might have a smaller search volume than a head keyword, accumulatively, long tail keywords make up the majority of search queries. And like I mentioned earlier, these phrases generally have less competition, making you more likely to show up on the first page of search results and more likely to win the click.
One final benefit to long tail keywords—and it’s a big one; research shows that searchers using long tail keywords are more likely to convert. And to quote my boss, “Traffic without conversions SUCKS.”
Why Using Long Tail Keywords Can Increase Your Conversion Rate
The chart above visually demonstrates how long tail keywords (more descriptive phrases like “red Nike men’s running shoes” have a higher probability of conversion than head keywords (one word phrases like “shoes”). This makes perfect sense if you think about it; when you target a long tail keyword, you can better predict the searcher’s user intent. With a better understanding of what the user is searching for, you can better tailor your content to those people that actually want your products or services.
For Blue Corona, targeting the broad keyword “SEO” could get us all sorts of irrelevant traffic. But if we target “how to rank first on Google,” we are more likely to get qualified traffic from our target audience: business owners looking for SEO services (who might not even know what SEO is to search for it).
Finding Long Tail Keywords
You can also use the Google Keyword Tool, though this can be a bit limiting. Other long tail keyword ideas can come from your Google Analytics or PPC campaign keyword data. Take a look at the non-branded keywords people are already using to find your site. If there are long tail keywords in there that are relevant to your business that you aren’t targeting, get on it.
If you need help identifying long tail keywords for your content marketing strategy, contact Blue Corona today. We have the tools and data required to take your business from SEO slob to SEO star.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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