‘Men’s shoes’. ‘Buy men’s shoes’. ‘Shoes for men’. The head term keywords that feature on your website’s home, about and product pages play a vital role in the performance of your website and the traffic it brings in. However, they’re not the be-all and end-all. These broad keywords attract high levels of search volume, which makes them very competitive. In turn, that makes them difficult for small businesses with modest budgets to rank for.
So, what’s the solution? We’re here to show you how long-tail keywords can help small businesses attract search traffic and generate organic leads without spending a fortune.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are longer phrases that are very specific to the products and services you sell. While ‘men’s shoes’ might be a head term you target on your homepage, ‘open-toe black sandals for men’ might be an example of a long-tail keyword you could target on a blog or a product page.
Although the long-tail term is likely to receive less search traffic, it has the advantage of being less competitive and also much more targeted. So, not only do you have a better chance of achieving a high ranking, but visitors using such a specific search term already know what they want and are more likely to make a purchase.
To summarise all that in a simple equation:
Low Competition + High Conversion Rates = Happy Small Businesses
A big boost for small businesses
The beauty of online marketing is that, when done well, it levels the playing field and allows small, independent businesses to compete with the biggest names in their industry. However, organic search is not always the best place to see that. In highly competitive online markets, big businesses spend millions trying to secure the top rankings in the organic search results at the expense of smaller businesses.
Rather than giving up on organic search completely, this is where long-tail keywords can deliver results for smaller firms and allow you to secure first page results of your own.
How to find long-tail keywords in your industry
Now you know why long-tail keywords can be so effective, it’s time to start digging around for a few key terms and phrases you can use in your industry. The good news is that there are plenty of free tools to help.
- Google Analytics
Google Analytics is always a good place to start. Google Analytics allows you to see how the people who visit your website find you. While you’ll probably have a couple of keywords that drive the majority of your traffic, it can also reveal some long-tail nuggets that you might have overlooked.
For example, if you write regular blogs, you could have a blog that’s bringing in traffic for keywords you’ve not necessarily targeted, but are ranking well for all the same. This happy accident could reveal other closely related key terms that you could target in your future content to produce similar results.
To identify the long-tail keywords that are currently performing well for your website, just go to Traffic Sources – Sources – Search – Organic.
- Google Suggest
The quickest and simplest way to discover long-tail keywords that could bring traffic to your website is to type one of your head terms into Google and let the autocomplete feature do the rest.
Long-tail keywords such as ‘men’s shoes to wear with shorts’ or even ‘men’s shoes for swollen feet’ are two examples of long-tail keywords suggested by Google that could bring targeted traffic to your website. Just create a couple of pieces of content featuring those keywords and keep an eye on how it performs.
- Google’s Related Searches
Another feature that could prove to be very helpful is Google’s related searches tool. Again, just enter a related keyword into the Google search box, but this time scroll to the bottom of the search engine results page. Here you’ll find a section headed ‘Searches related to (your keyword)’.
Typically, the related searches will provide more variations than Google Suggest and may even include an element of personalisation based on your business’s location. That could be a source of even more long-tail keyword gold.
How to use longtail-keywords in your content?
Now you have a list of long-tail keywords that attract a good amount of search traffic but face relatively little competition, it’s time to start building them into your content. Long-tail keywords are really well suited to blog posts. However, that doesn’t give you a licence to stuff as many long-tail keywords into your blogs as possible. Instead, you should target one keyword per post and stick to this simple formula:
- Include the keyword in the blog’s title in a way that flows naturally
- Include the keyword in the meta description and the alt tag
- Write a blog of at least 400 words
- Think about the intent of the searcher when writing the blog
- Think about who you’re writing for
- Include the keyword and its variations in at least one of the blog’s subheadings
- Include the keyword and its variations in the body copy
Don’t expect immediate results
No form of search engine optimisation generates immediate results. Even using low-competition, long-tail keywords, it will take time. If it’s instant rankings you’re looking for, then pay-per-click advertising is the best route for you. However, if you are prepared to wait a few months, integrating long-tail keywords into your content, with or without the help of a professional SEO copywriter, will reap rewards.
Not only will the traffic you generate be more targeted than organic traffic from head term keywords or traffic from social media and other platforms, but it will come at a much lower cost. That’s definitely something worth waiting for!