Optimising your content for long-tail keywords can really boost your visibility in the SERPs. Find out what long-tail keywords are and how you can find them using various methods.
Long-tail Keywords: What They Are & How to Find Them
Author: Gracjan Gaducewicz, SEO Specialist
Search engine optimisation can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you have a collection of popular keywords in your sights. Long-tail keywords solve these problems by being easier to rank for, and also attracting more qualified traffic to your website.
What are Long-tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are keyword phrases that are more specific and longer than the typical keyword, usually containing 4 or more words. As a result, they have lower search volumes than broader queries and tend to be less competitive. Thus, they are a great way to get your blog or website to rank higher in search engines.
Long-tail Keyword Examples
The long tail keywords you should aim to rank for totally depend on the kind of business or website you have. In general, long tail keywords will of course be longer phrases, but this means they will also be more specific, and focus on a smaller subset of your market.
When thinking about long-tail keywords that could be related to your product or service, you should think about what really sets it apart from your competitors. On top of this, it often helps to think about your target audiences or target customers. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to rank for ‘high-quality laptop bags for commuters’ or ‘colourful school bags for children under 12’ than ‘laptop bag’ or ‘school bag’.
Here are some examples comparing short-tail keywords to their longer-tail counterparts:
- Laptop Stands → Best Laptop Stands For Macbook Pro
- SEO Agency → White Label SEO Agency UK
- Printer → Best Value Laser Printer for a School
By targeting long-tail keywords like these, you will be able to spend your content marketing budget more efficiently.
Read on to find out why…
Why Are Long-Tail Keywords Important for SEO?
If you’re serious about SEO, then you need to be serious about long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are essential for improving your ranking on search engines and driving traffic to your website because they:
- Are more specific than general keywords – This means that they are less competitive and are easier to rank for.
- Are more likely to convert visitors into customers – People who use long-tail keywords are usually further along in the buying process and therefore more ready to make a purchase or convert.
- Provide more information about your product or service – This allows you to better target your marketing efforts and improve your chances of making a sale.
- Can help you reach a more targeted audience – By using specific keywords, you can attract people who are actually interested in exactly what you have to offer.
- Can help you improve your local search ranking – Local searches are becoming increasingly important as more people use the internet to find businesses in their area. By targeting long-tail keywords that include your town or city, you can improve your chances of being found by these potential customers.
How to Find Long-tail Keywords
Finding suitable long-tail keywords can be intimidating if you’re unfamiliar with the process.
Luckily, there are a whole host of different ways for you to get started, either for free or by using paid tools.
Here are a few of our favourite methods.
People Also Ask
If you want to find long-tail keywords, one of the best places to start is with Google’s “People Also Ask” feature.
This feature appears at the top of many search engine results pages (SERPs) and can provide you with a wealth of long-tail keyword ideas.
Simply enter your seed keyword (start with a general, broader search term that’s related to your niche) into Google and scroll down to the “People Also Ask” section.
Here, you’ll see a list of questions related to your seed keyword. These questions can give you some great ideas for long-tail keywords to target.
Expanding the results will generate even more options that are related to your original search query.
A similar method is to scroll a little further down the SERP to Google’s ‘Related Searches’ feature. Here you can get an idea of the different kinds of words and phrases your target audience might also use for your seed keyword.
Another great tip is to use Google’s Autocomplete feature. This is where Google suggests other searches that people commonly make based on the letters that you’ve typed in.
To use this feature, simply start typing your main keyword into the Google search bar and see what autocomplete suggests. Again, these are great keyword suggestions that you can use to inform your content strategy.
Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
If you’re looking for long-tail keywords, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer is a great place to start.
Enter a seed keyword as well as the country you would like to target, and it’ll return hundreds (if not thousands) of related keywords.
What’s great about this tool is that it not only includes the search volume for each keyword, but also the ‘KD’, or keyword difficulty score. This score gives you an indication of how hard it would be to rank for a particular keyword. The lower the score, the easier it will be to rank.
Adjusting these filters when you search allows you to narrow down your search to only those keywords that have both a low difficulty score and a meaningful level of volume.
In the picture example above, the keyword entered was ‘kitchen tiles’. The search results page for this keyword is dominated by huge companies with a lot of authority and very deep pockets, meaning it would be difficult and expensive to rank a page in those coveted top spots.
After filtering the Keyword Explorer results as described, we can now see that keywords such as ‘gloss white kitchen tiles’, ‘vinyl kitchen wall tiles’, and ‘large floor tiles kitchen’ would be much more appropriate targets.
Reverse-Engineering Your Competitors
One of the most effective ways to find long-tail keywords is to reverse-engineer your competitors.
If you want to find long-tail keywords that your competitors are ranking for, you can use Ahrefs Site Explorer.
Enter your competitor’s domain into Site Explorer and click on the “Organic Keywords” tab.
You’ll see a list of all the keywords that your competitor is ranking for, along with information like traffic volume and keyword difficulty.
If you see that your competitor is ranking for a particular keyword with a high search volume and low competition, then that is probably a keyword that you could rank for as well.
Forums & Boards
If you want to find long-tail keywords, one of the best places to look is in forums and discussion boards. People often use these platforms to ask questions and seek advice on specific topics, which provides you with a huge amount of potential keywords to target.
To find relevant forums and boards, simply do a search on Google (or your favourite search engine) for “[your topic] + forums” or “[your topic] + boards”.
For example, if you’re selling pet supplies, you might search for “pet supplies + forums” or “pets + boards”.
Once you’ve found some relevant forums and boards, spend some time reading through them to see what kinds of keywords people are using. Pay close attention to specific questions that people have asked on these forums and ensure you include a clear and concise answer within your page. Check out our guide on FAQ Page SEO to learn more about writing the perfect answers to keywords that are phrased as questions.
You can also use search engines like BoardReader to help you find the most popular topics and keywords on various forums and boards.
How to Use Long-tail Keywords in Your Content
Once you have found the long tail keywords you want to target, there are two main ways of incorporating them into your SEO strategy. Long-tail keyword phrases that have a significant amount of search volume in their own right are usually a lot more deserving of their own page or blog post.
Meanwhile, keywords with less search volume do not have as much potential to give you a return on your effort, so would benefit from instead being sprinkled into other pages which target slightly more general keywords about the same topic.
A Dedicated Page
If your keyword has a reasonable amount of search volume (for example, 500+ monthly searches) and stands out as a distinct topic in its own right, then it would make sense to craft a dedicated page for it.
Given the lack of competition, you will be well-placed to rank highly for these very specific queries.
Sprinkling Them Into Existing Pages
A long tail keyword that doesn’t have much search volume (for example, less than 100 monthly searches) is likely to be viewed by search engines as a subset of a broader keyword. You can see this for yourself by searching for the long-tail keyword and then the shorter-tail version of it.
If both results pages display the same results, then it probably wouldn’t be worth going to all the effort of making a dedicated page. Instead, you can add a collection of these types of keywords to an existing page that targets a more general keyword.
This way, your existing page will be more likely to rank for a large number of variations of the long-tails you found in your research, and be able to scoop up traffic that you hadn’t even anticipated.
Long-tail keywords, when properly researched, can make your SEO strategy much more effective. They’re great for quickly attracting qualified traffic to your blog or website.
Once you’ve started to rank for long-tail keywords and have built some topical authority, you can then move onto targeting the more competitive search queries.
There are a variety of free methods to find the perfect long-tail keywords for you, but with paid keyword research tools like Ahrefs, you can supercharge your efforts and start ranking for new keywords fast!
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