What Are Long-Tail Keywords & How to Find Them

What Are Long-Tail Keywords & How to Find Them

While it’s great to be ranking for a lot of keywords and generating a ton of organic search traffic to your website, it’s important that you’re gaining the attention of the right audience. Executing a great SEO strategy is only half of the equation. The other half is making sure you’re targeting an audience that’s likelier to convert!

The ideal traffic for your website is coming from searched keywords relevant to your content. And, the more specific and detailed those searches are, the higher the chance your website has to convert that traffic into a lead or sale.

Long-tail keywords are 3-word (or greater) keyword phrases, and they’re absolutely necessary in order for your website to capture traffic in your niche from search engines. Most websites use frequently asked questions, customer answer sections, or subheadings to incorporate this detailed content.

Let’s take a deeper look into the long-tail keyword strategy and see how to find the best long-tail keyword phrases so that your content converts.

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords for SEO are specific keyword searches with three words or more that are meant to capture more specific search queries in search engine traffic.

For example:

  • Your initial seed keyword is “Halloween costumes.”
  • Long-tail keyword variations would include: Halloween costumes for kids, Halloween costume videos on YouTube, DIY Halloween costumes for girls

Do these keywords get searched a lot? You can use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner to get ideas based on your initial keyword and see search volumes to ensure that your long-tail keywords are viable.

These keyword phrases are used to target highly specific audiences. They relate to the search demand curve, where certain terms are more detailed, but search volume is not as competitive. Instead, these keywords are chosen based on the audience’s search intent.

In addition, long-tail keywords for SEO provide long-term benefits for businesses that include them in their content. As voice search creates longer queries, many companies have begun using long-tail keyword variants and questions to attract highly qualified traffic.

Advantages of Long-Tail Keywords

So what are long-tail keywords going to do for your website? Short answer – they’ll help keep you in top search results.

It’s difficult to stay on top of the SERP with just high-volume, short-tail keywords (commonly known as “head terms”). Head terms are typically more competitive as well, so you’ll have a harder time consistently ranking for “baseballs” as opposed to “baseballs for children”.

If you diversify your content with long-tail search terms, you’ll not only capture those head terms but also the less competitive terms that people who are at the bottom of the sales funnel (i.e. ready to make a purchase) often search for.

Incorporating long-tail keywords has some additional benefits, as well:

  •  Rank for difficult terms
  •  Boost pages with competitive terms
  •  More apt to pull in higher qualified traffic
  •  Shows Google you’re an authority/expert

Studies show that long-tail search accounts for 70% of all search traffic. As searchers have become more adept at using search engines, they have tailored their queries to be longer and more specific to find just the right content.

In addition, more users today are using voice assistants and smart speakers to ask questions and buy products directly. It’s imperative that any business wanting to show up as a result for these queries include long-tail keyword content on their websites.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

It’s actually not that difficult to find long-tail keywords so long as you have a list of head terms that you already want to rank for. There are tons of free tools to help you find new terms that you can add to existing content (or create new content) to start pulling in traffic from search results.

Here is a step-by-step beginner approach:

1. Identify Key Terms Driving Traffic 

The first step is to set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics. If you don’t have these platforms installed on your site, install them and wait at least 30 days to gather site traffic data.

Once you have the data, you’ll gain a lot of insight just from these two tools alone. Google Analytics will tell you what pages your audience is most engaged with, while Google Search Console will tell you how they got to your site organically (what search phrases they used and where you ranked when they found you).

From there, you have an initial list of long-tail keyword opportunities that you can then use to find additional long-tail terms.

2. Create a List of Long-Tail Keywords 

Next, you’ll use a keyword explorer tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to find long-tail keyword ideas. (We like this tool because it’s free and directly from the source.)

To access Google’s keyword planner, you’ll need to log into a Gmail account and create a Google Ads (formerly Adwords) account. While you might think this would only be for PPC advertising, you can actually log into your Google Ads dashboard and use this tool for free and gain insight on your keywords.

Google will show you all relevant keywords with monthly searches, also providing insights into which keywords are competitive. You ideally want long-tail keywords that have lower search volume but are also less competitive.

3. Other Tools to Find Long-Tail Keywords 

Google’s keyword planner is a great starting point, but it’s not always the end-all-be-all for long-tail search terms. Another free long-tail keyword tool is called AnswerthePublic.com.

Simply search a head term like “Halloween costume” or “women’s costume” to find all kinds of questions or phrases actively being searched by users. You can also specify country and language as you conduct your long-tail keyword research.

You’ll receive a visualization of the top-searched phrases on the topic. From there, you pick and choose questions to answer within your content.

Another comprehensive keyword research and SEO tool is Moz. There are aspects of the tool that are free, but paying includes a variety of keyword research and tracking tools, allowing you to see all keywords being used on competitor domains (and even keywords you’re missing in your own content).

Finally, you can simply use Google. Just type in your main keyword to see the search bar autocomplete a series of keyword suggestions. Along with that, you can also utilize their “related keywords” section at the bottom of the page to get further ideas.

4. Define the Best Long Tail Keywords 

After you have a list of long-tail keywords, check their traffic in Google’s keyword planner again to see the monthly search volume and competitive analysis. Ideally, the best keywords have a low search volume (but still decent) and less competition.

Once you find the best phrases, you’ll want to add these long-tail phrases where it makes the most sense for the user. Whether that be adding it to a URL, page title, headers or throughout your content, adding these keywords naturally will help your ranking on Google and increase the quality of your organic traffic.

Ready To Boost Your SEO Marketing Strategy?

While it’s nice to have a lot of organic traffic, you need to make sure that you’re capturing the right audience! Don’t just add popular keywords to your site and call it a day. Optimize your keyword strategy to make your site the most relevant search result for your target audience.

With proper long-tail keyword research and a well-executed SEO and content marketing strategy, you’re guaranteed to see your SERP listing improve (hello first page results!).

Not sure where to start? Talk with a high-performing SEO agency today!