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Every business uses keywords in its ads, social media, and content marketing strategies. Believe it or not, over 92% of keywords receive less than 10 searches each month. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.

During keyword research, there’s a delicate balance you want to maintain between competition and search volume. If you can manage to maintain that balance, you’ll see serious results for your SEO strategy. Luckily, we can help with that!

Let’s talk about the importance of long-tail keywords and how to use them in your content marketing strategy.

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Every content marketing strategy has a backbone, and that backbone is the keywords they attempt to rank for on Google. If you don’t already know, keywords fall into two categories; long-tail and short-tail.

When using keywords for SEO, there are some obvious ones that you’d want to rank for. If you sold candy, the first keywords that come to your mind may be “chocolate”, “candy bars”, or just “candy”. These keywords would fall under the umbrella of short-tail keywords.

Short-tail keywords tend to have high traffic and high competition, meaning it’s very difficult to start a new SEO strategy and rank for these terms. You wouldn’t expect a small, local candy shop to rank ahead of Hershey’s and Mars on day one, would you?

Moreover, long-tail keywords like “old-school candy shop near me” are the opposite, typically having low competition at the expense of lower traffic.

If you’re thinking “what’s the point if there’s low traffic?”, then keep reading. There are massive benefits to using long-tail keywords in your strategy, no matter the size of your company. Let’s talk about some of them.

Benefits of Long-Tail Keywords for Your SEO Strategy

Long-tail keywords offer many advantages that work both on their own or complementary to short-tail keywords. Let’s talk about some of the key benefits for your bottom line.

1. Less Competition

Without a doubt, the best reason to use long-tail keywords in your strategy is that they have less competition, meaning that it’s a lot easier to rank at the top. The majority of all traffic from every search goes to the top three spots on the first page, so it’s critical to rank on various searches.

A small business is unlikely to compete with industry giants worldwide on certain keywords with high traffic, but it is feasible to grab some of the low-hanging fruit, even as a newer business.

2. Local Traffic

As we mentioned, long-tail keywords are a great way to bring in highly relevant traffic, which is perfect for local businesses trying to get ahead. You can target your ads all you want but you’re giving lavish gifts to your competitors without competing for organic traffic.

Well, what do people search for when they need to find something near them? Usually, they’ll add “near me” to the end of the keyword, or add their location, making it a long-tail keyword.  To direct more local, relevant traffic to your site, use location-specific, long-tail keywords. Low comp keywords are the foundation of a local SEO strategy.

3. Higher Conversions

Long-tail keywords generate high-quality, relevant traffic. Let’s say you magically rank overnight for a short-tail keyword like “soap”. Well, you’ll generate a lot more traffic, but with a wide variety of intent.

If everybody searching for “soap” found your website, a very small percentage will follow through and buy soap from you. Some may want to read about how soap is made, how it kills germs, different kinds of soap, and more, while a handful will want to purchase soap.

Over time, this will impact your SEO value, as you will ultimately have lower retention and a higher bounce rate if that’s the only keyword you rank for. On the other hand, ranking for “scented soap store in Aspen, Colorado” will ultimately generate more relevant traffic, more retention, and more business.

4. Improves Overall SEO Prospects

Even if your end goal is to rank for a series of short-tail keywords, you should still use long-tail keywords within your strategy. The increased traffic and conversions will also lead to higher retention, building backlinks, and more over time.

When your site generates extra high-quality traffic like that, it will ultimately help you rank for any keyword. Essentially, fighting smaller battles over time will prepare you for the boss level.

As you rank for these keywords, especially for a diverse array of them, other websites will have an easier time finding your content. Over time, this means you can build a high-quality backlink channel that will completely revolutionize your SEO strategy.

Also, Google will appreciate the well-roundedness of your keyword usage. The wider the variety you use, the more it will solidify your industry expertise.

5. Increase Visibility

Even if you are currently ranking for short-tail keywords, why wouldn’t you want to spread your eggs across multiple baskets? Long-tail keywords allow you to do that without too much standing in your way, allowing users to find you who otherwise wouldn’t.

Again, this will help generate traffic from users but also from potential affiliates who may link to your website. Off-page factors are the hardest part of an SEO strategy to control, so it’s best to set yourself up for success early on.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

In all honesty, you can start simply by reflecting on your business, products, and target market. Some of the most valuable keywords may come to you just from your industry knowledge.

For example, if I’m a car dealer in Burlington, Vermont, how would I expect users in my target audience to search for my services? Most likely, it would be with keywords like “used cars near me”, “used Toyota Corolla in Burlington”, or “new Tesla Model Y near Burlington, VT”.

Of course, some of them aren’t as obvious, but these seed keywords can help you develop your list. Here’s how.

Use Keyword Research Tools

Once you’ve brainstormed a few ideas, write them down and keep them handy. Then, using your favorite keyword research tool, plug these keywords in and look for related keywords.

On most tools, you’ll find each related keyword, its search volume, competition, and the average cost per click. These are all general guidelines, so don’t rely too heavily on them, but they can give you a good idea of the performance to expect.

Now, search volume doesn’t matter too much to long-tail keywords, as long as the competition is low. However, verify that the competition is “low” because this is a very general listing on keyword research tools. Compared to “used cars”, it may be low, but there may still be competition in your way.

To verify, just search for that keyword on Google and see for yourself. If you don’t see too many of your competitors (preferably none at all), then you can dominate this keyword.

Ideally, you want to find a keyword with low competition and reasonable search volume. If there is very little volume but still some, it may still be worth it to try to rank for it if the keyword is highly relevant to your business. The people searching for “used Toyotas in Burlington” are the people you want to reach the most, even if the volume is low.

Compare Keywords

Once you’ve developed a list of handy keywords, store them in a spreadsheet or write them down with their comparative search volume and competition. Try to prioritize which ones you think are the most important.

From there, you can compare them in Google Trends to see which has a higher search volume. Yes, we said that search volume isn’t always important, but it can help you prioritize.

After that, to find the true competition, and not just “high” or “low”, search for all of these keywords on Google. This way, you’ll find which keywords will have the clearest path to rank for, and you’ll be able to start off strong. Remember, the more low-hanging fruits you grab, the easier it will be to grab the prize at the top later on.

Check Your Analytics Tools

If you already use an analytics service like Google Analytics, then you may be able to find long-tail keywords from there. These tools analyze your site for existing content and may provide suggestions for additional keywords to use in your strategy.

The benefit of using tools like this is that you won’t only see the search volume and competition, but you’ll also see the typical conversion rates for these keywords. This could help you make the best decisions for your bottom line.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords

Once you have a list of long-tail keywords, it’s time to put them to use. Ideally, you want to spread your keywords as evenly as possible throughout your website. Each page can use multiple keywords but should be trying to target one specific one.

There are many ways to do this, but let’s talk about some of the most effective strategies.

In Blog Articles

Whether you use them as secondary keywords throughout your posts or as the target keyword in a long-form piece, spread these keywords throughout your blog. If you write content about the topics on your list, you can excel on low competition keywords in no time.

Don’t focus too much on keyword density, as Google may penalize you for keyword stuffing. Use these keywords as much as possible, but only when it’s natural to do so. Also, if you use any other type of content marketing, like video marketing, feel free to use your keywords in titles, transcripts, and more!

Also, the good news about long-tail keywords is that, with less competition, you won’t have to write as extensively. Don’t misunderstand what we’re saying, as you’ll still want to provide high-quality information to your users, but possibly not as much.

Since Google wants to offer the most thorough and comprehensive information to its users, it’s a lot easier to exceed the status quo. For some low comp keywords, you may get away with 500-word pieces on a topic, whereas some may require nearly ten times that.

In Headers

H1 and H2 tags should utilize some of these keywords on various pages and posts throughout your website. Google will see that your website is full of information about the related topics and will be more likely to rank you for those keywords.

Regardless of the type of content you have on your website, you’ll always have headers, which provide easy-to-index text for search engines, so use them wisely!

Content Marketing Services

If you don’t have the time to do all of this research and writing yourself, you don’t have to. With the right content marketing services, you can implement a valuable keyword strategy into your website content without having to lift a finger.

You’ll also have trusted professionals working on your behalf, eliminating the “guessing game”. This way, you’ll see a light at the end of the tunnel and find results as soon as possible.

Start Ranking Today

Now that you know what long-tail keywords can do for your SEO strategy, why wait? The sooner you put these tips to use, the sooner you can start ranking for highly relevant searches in your area. Just develop a strong list and use them throughout your website, and add a professional touch for the best results.

Stay up to date with our latest digital marketing tips and feel free to contact us with any questions or for help with your SEO strategy!

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