Here’s What We Know
As of October 2015, Google has been using a machine-learning artificial intelligence system called “RankBrain.” The main driver for the use of this new algorithm has to do with the three billion searches a day that go through their now ubiquitous search engine. Although the following percentage has decreased over the past decade, 15 percent of Google searches have never before been seen. Among those are long-tail keywords. RankBrain is designed to help Google better interpret those queries to find the most relevant pages for the searcher (thank you Google!).
So, as individuals involved in digital strategy, if one can understand how to utilize long-tail keywords effectively, one would then find themselves in possession of a very powerful tool.
Here’s Whats Important
It is much easier to rank for long-tail keywords than for more common keywords. Users that find your website using long-tail keywords are more likely further along in the buying process. Users don’t often search ‘affordable dog walking services in East Vancouver’ (considered a long-tail keyword) unless they are looking for a dog walker in that area that offers affordable services.
Implementing long-tail keywords effectively is essentially establishing more direct and targeted communication between your company’s online presence and the customers who are already out there shopping online for the product or service you provide. The traffic you attract will indicate a higher value customer base who is most likely in specific need of your goods and services and more likely to purchase these goods and services.
The competition for single keywords can be fierce and you may find it almost impossible to make your website visible using them. Although there are less searches done for long-tail keywords, the return on investment is bound to be higher as users will be landing on your page with intention to purchase.
Keep in mind, that when Google scans your website’s content (which they do often, and well), they will pick up on and make your website visible for the search terms even if the long-tail keyword is slightly scattered throughout the sentence. For example, as mentioned above you could insert the exact term, ‘Our company is proud to offer affordable dog walking services in East Vancouver,’ however, Google will still pick up on your long-tail keyword if your sentence looks like this – ‘Our East Vancouver based company is proud to offer affordable and reliable dog walking services.’
How to Identify the Long-Tail Keywords that are Right for your Business
How do you identify and leverage long-tail keywords that align directly with your business? Keywords that flow with your website’s content? It is often valuable to visit your business’s mission statement and determine exactly what type of business you are, what type of services you offer, and if someone were to try to find your business’s website online, what exactly would they type into Google. Keep localized search in mind as well, especially if your location impacts your business. Once you have a basic list of key phrases that feel right, take them and run! I don’t literally mean run, but take them and start using the huge amount of online resources to discover other long-tail keywords that fit your business.
So, your probably wondering …
Where To Get Ideas for Long-Tail Keywords
In the world of digital strategy, your business’s direct competitors (the ones with websites at least) are a great way to find effective long-tail keywords. Many of the professional tools mentioned below allow you to enter your competitor’s URL to discover a wide list of long-tail keywords used on their sites. Knowing your business’s direct competitors is also extremely important because it allows you to determine the value of your key phrase. For example: If you come up with a long-tail keyword ‘SEO consulting in Vancouver’ and your direct competitors appear in the SERP, you know that this is an effective long-tail keyword that may be worth adding to your list.
There are a vide variety of both paid, and free, keyword tools. Here are a couple of our favourites:
- Ubersuggest – Ubersuggest is a great (and our favourite) free tool, because it lets you deep dive into those really obscure search terms. Ubersuggest allows you to find and download related long-tail keywords once you have discovered at least one key phrase that might work for your business.
- Long Tail Pro – This paid long-tail keyword tool claims to be the world’s most complete keyword research and competitor analysis software. Plus, it offers a number of other search engine optimization services!
- Google Keyword Planner – This tool is somewhat helpful however, it is designed to find the terms that will generate paid search volume – which doesn’t always come with long-tail keywords. Although, it does allow you to enter any web address and keyword(s) and also localize the search to a specific region. Google Keyword Planner will then generate an extensive list of keywords (some being long-tail), their average monthly searches, and the competitiveness of the terms. Keep in mind that the average monthly searches and competitiveness for long-tail keywords will be very low!
When beginning keyword research for your business, we suggest compiling a list of 20-30 long-tail keywords to use throughout your website. Keep in mind that not all of your long-tail keywords have to be used on each page. It is crucial to remember that quality content is the most important, and keep your UX in mind when adding these key phrases to your website. Last, but definitely not least, don’t forget to incorporate your long-tail keywords to your meta-titles, meta-descriptions, blog posts, and image titles where appropriate!