In the battle for keywords, many businesses end up losing out to bigger companies with larger budgets. But there is a way to beat them at pretty much their own game: long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are more specific and are often used when an individual is closer to making a purchase. Alternatively, they can also be used in voice search, which is becoming more prominent nowadays thanks to smart home assistants like Amazon Echo.
It can be tricky finding the right combination of words; however, if you get it right, a long tail keyword strategy can pay off in the long run.
How to use long-tail keywords for your competitive advantage
When you use shorter keywords, you enter into a fierce bidding war with many other companies. Winning a shorter keyword can give mixed results, and you may not get the ROI you desire. With the right long-tail keywords, you might get less web traffic. However, your ROI will proportionally be higher. This is because you’re targeting a particular niche of the customer, and they are more likely to be closer to making a purchase.
The cost-per-click for a long tail keyword is lower as well, again positively impacting your ROI. Long-tail keywords don’t just work well for paid search marketing, but you can also incorporate them into your organic SEO campaign.
Finding keywords from competitors
This is where the traditional keyword search tools come in useful. Tools like Wordstream and SpyFu can tell you what long-tail keywords your competitors are using. You’ll have to identify them amongst the shorter keywords, but you’re looking for any phrases that are three words or longer.
So if you own a shoe retail store, some of your competitors’ keywords might be ladies’ heels, shoes, and brogues. However, a long tail keyword like red ladies kitten heel or brown leather brogues might also feature on the list. As you can see, this is super specific to what a customer may be searching for. By the time they search for these items, they’re probably dead set on already buying them.
When you develop a long-tail keyword strategy, apart from looking at ones that your competitors are using, it can also be useful to try to discover new ones that they might not.
Firstly, you should begin by taking a look at your business and your unique selling points. Think about your customers, what phrases are they likely to search for when specifically looking for your product? Why should they choose your company over a competitor?
Your long-tail keywords should not only describe your products well but also why your business is different. That will help you reach the people who need your services the most, and who are therefore most likely to purchase.
Another way you can discover keywords your competition isn’t using is to use Google’s autocomplete feature. Begin typing a phrase into Google’s search box and see how the search engine finishes it. Returning to our shoe example, you can type in “ladies heeled…” and see what comes up after it. If you add extra letters after each term, you can get different lists of phrases people have previously searched for related to that term.
Another option is to search for the main keyword like “ladies shoes” or one of your identified long-tail keywords, and then scroll to the bottom of your search results to see what other phrases Google suggests you search for.
Using long-tail keywords on your website
Knowing what long-tail keywords to use isn’t very helpful unless you incorporate them into your website and other content. The most important thing to bear in mind when you do use long-tail keywords is to try to keep the flow of your website copy as natural as possible.
Suddenly putting a random long-tail keyword in can be jarring to a reader. You might need to adjust your keyword a little or get creative with your punctuation.
Where you can, make sure you put your long-tail keywords in your web page title, headers, and sub-headers. Ideally, you’d want to put your long-tail keyword into your first sentence, as well.
Remember, it’s better to keep your copy flowing naturally than to force your long-tail keyword into sentences where it just doesn’t fit. Don’t sacrifice your content’s quality to try to up your page’s SEO.
Quality over quantity is a good lesson to bear in mind when using long-tail keywords. With long-tail keywords, it’s not the number of people you reach, but the quality – focus on conversions and not the numbers of people the keyword delivers to your website. A mix of your common keywords and long-tail ones should give you the edge you need to get ahead of your competition.