How to Use Long-Tail Keywords for SEO

When it comes to SEO, make sure you’re working smarter, not harder. This is especially true as you determine which keywords to optimize for throughout your website. In the past, short-tail keywords — also referred to as “head terms” — were accepted as the best way to rank in the SERPs. Terms like “facelift,” for example, were used to appeal in a more general way to the many searches people were conducting. Due to the high volume of search queries and competitors actively optimizing for these terms, however, long-tail keywords have become more important than ever. 

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific about a topic than the more highly searched head term and, as a result, have lower search volumes. The reason they’re called “long-tail” is because they’re at the end of the search demand curve. The beginning and peak of the curve are the head terms, which have the highest search volume. The end and lowest point on this curve are the long-tail terms. These terms can be extremely valuable if done right, because you’re catering more closely to what people are searching for. Although long-tail keywords are searched less, they can actually lead to a boost in website traffic because they’re more targeted and less competitive. 

Depending on what you want to emphasize, you may choose to optimize a phrase like “how old is too old for facelift surgery” to attract people looking for exactly what your content covers. This likely won’t earn you a spot for highly searched queries like “facelift surgery,” but for those asking about how age affects their facelift candidacy, your article could ultimately show up as the credible source they’re seeking.

By incorporating more long-tail keywords into your website content or blogs, you can better connect with your target demographics and ultimately rank higher on Google. More specifically, you might find you are closer to achieving the goals below. 

Top 3 Reasons to Use Long-Tail Keywords

1. Higher Sales Conversions

Since you’re optimizing for more detailed keyword phrases, you’ll be more helpful to searchers that land on your page. As a result, readers may find your information to be more valuable since they were specifically searching for it. This often translates to people taking action, such as purchasing a product or scheduling a consultation at your practice. 

While it can be tempting to optimize for a more general keyword, you may attract visitors who are looking for a completely different topic on the same subject matter, causing them to immediately leave your website. Optimizing for longer and more targeted keywords, on the other hand, can help you connect with more quality visitors. If they find your page when searching for a specific topic like “who is the best breast augmentation surgeon in san diego,” they may be closer to buying than others who are simply conducting general research on the topic. 

2. Better Search Result Rankings

Although there is still a place for short-tail keywords in your SEO strategy, businesses may find it easier to rank in the SERPs through long-tail keywords. This is because you have less competition when targeting more detailed search phrases. While everyone else is fighting to gain a spot on the front page of Google through general topics, you can build authority through more specific long-tail keywords, which can gradually help you rank higher for the more competitive search terms. 

It is important to note, however, that focusing too much on long-tail keywords may decrease your overall website traffic. This is why it is best to have pages that involve more general information (less targeted, higher traffic) and also pages with more specific information (highly targeted, lower traffic). 

One powerful way you can grab the attention of searchers is to optimize long-tail keywords in the form of questions. By labeling your blog, “How long is facelift recovery?” or adding it as a section to your general procedural page, you’re telling Google that you have the exact answer the searcher is seeking (but make sure you actually have the answer — you don’t want to trick readers with clickbait). 

3. More Pages Indexed in Search Results

Since there are a number of different niche topics that searchers use to find information about a particular product or service, it can be beneficial to create content to address these popular searches. With the high volume of searches conducted every day, this may mean creating new pages. In addition to helping you rank higher for these specific topics, providing a more comprehensive resource will grab Google’s attention since it tends to favor more robust websites. Keep in mind, however, that the quality of your content is more important than the quantity. Make sure you are prioritizing your readers by creating highly valuable and informational pages for searchers. 

By creating content with long-tail keywords like, “How do I massage my breast implants,” or “Is facelift surgery covered by insurance,” for example, you have the potential to index within more searches by your target audience. As you answer these common questions with informational content, you may also have a lower bounce rate, further revealing the value of your website.

How to Find the Best Long-Tail Keywords to Use

Long-tail keywords will vary based on factors like the industry, target audience, and the mission of the business. Medical or dental practices, specifically, have great potential in offering information surrounding what patients can expect from the available procedures. The specifics of what should be addressed, however, will ultimately depend upon your unique goals as a practice.

For a simple way to identify potential long-tail keywords, look at Google search results. Once you start typing a relevant keyword in the search box, it offers autocomplete suggestions of what others have typed. In the search results, you can also find a “People Also Ask” box near the top of the page. And thirdly, at the bottom of the first group of results, you may find a “Related searches” section with other queries people have asked. 

Get in Touch with Our SEO Professionals

If you’d like to utilize short-term and long-tail keyword optimization to enhance your online presence, but don’t know where to start, consider the team at Rosemont Media for your SEO needs. Our professionals are experienced in finding keywords and phrases that are highly searched by your target demographics. More importantly, they can determine which ones are worth pursuing to not only help you rank higher, but also better connect with your readers. To learn how we can help you establish a smart online marketing strategy through long-tail search, contact us today!

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 9, 2016.

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