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Using Long Tail Keywords for Search Engine Optimization

Sonal Panse,

What are Long Tail Keywords

Long tail keywords are phrases or groups of words containing the generic, specific, or brand specific keywords that are crucial for implementing your content marketing strategy. To give a self-serving example, 'How to Hire an Illustrator' is a long tail keyword phrase.

Most people are familiar with short tail keywords, the darlings of the SEO industry that always get mentioned in relation to anything to do with search engine optimization. In the scramble for ranking higher for these core SEO keywords, the importance of the less glamorous long tail keywords can sometimes be overlooked. Which, of course, is a mistake. Long tail keywords are as essential for search engine optimization, and long tail keyword marketing is perhaps more useful for bringing about conversions; users searching for specific information probably have more intention to buy/subscribe than users just keying in generic terms.

As search engine algorithms evolve more towards catering to phrase queries, the benefits of long tail keywords will become more apparent, and there is likely to be more emphasis on using long tail keywords to bring in relevant traffic.

How to Identify the Long Tail Keywords that will Work for You

If you were looking for specific information in your field, what would you look for and what terms would you use in your search queries? It is a good idea to consider these things from a prospective visitor's viewpoint when planning your long tail keyword strategy. You might also conduct some field research; ask people directly what they might look for. Make a list of all the long tail keyword ideas that you can think of and run these through SEO keyword research tools like Google Suggest, HitTail, Ubersuggest, and Suggester to come up with more permutations. Compare these with the SEO long tail keyword phrases that are being used in higher-ranked sites. What can you add or pare from your SEO word list? Once you have selected the long tail keyword phrases that are most likely to suit your search optimization goals, give some thought to where you are going to place them in your website. Since you are looking for conversions and people coming to your site with specific searches might convert to business prospects, it makes sense to implement your long tail keyword targeting on the pages that directly offer your services or products. It is not a certainty that you will land new clients, but at least it can become more of a possibility with SEO targeted traffic.

You might want to keep in mind that optimizing your website is only one step towards attracting clients. There are other factors, not related to SEO, that also affect conversions. Does the website appear trustworthy, for instance? Is the interface design clean, with legible fonts and easy navigation? Are the about and services pages easy to find? Is your sales pitch convincing enough for people to believe in what you have to offer? Are the contact form and shopping cart simple to use? Apart from SEO content marketing, are you engaging in any off-site activities to inform people about what you do and to bring them to your website? A successful business strategy is a combination of these and many other factors. It is a longer tail than the long tail of SEO keyword research.