Most companies investing in digital marketing already know that content is king. However, the growing emphasis on content marketing and organic search means that standing out from the competition is harder than ever before.
Nowadays, it’s not smart to start creating content without doing some research beforehand. Blogging just for the sake of it, or relying on only the most popular search terms, could make it difficult to get your company seen by potential customers. This is where a strong long-tail keyword strategy can make the difference between being found on the Web and getting lost in the shuffle.
What Long-Tail Keywords Can Do for Your Company
Generally, when people think about optimizing their content for a search engine, they focus on the most popular search terms. These keywords — often short terms of general interest that are high in volume but low in specificity — are known as “head terms.”
The long-tail keyword is the distant relative of the head term and uses this general term as a jumping-off point to become more specific and complex. Where a head term would be something like “car insurance,” a long-tail keyword would be “cheapest liability car insurance.” While not as popular as head terms, long-tail keywords offer certain advantages that head terms don’t:
- Lower competition. If you’re selling insurance, for instance, chances are every other insurance company in your field is optimizing for “health insurance” or “life insurance.” However, not every company is optimizing for “catastrophic health insurance” or “what is term life insurance.” Focusing on these terms means skipping past the keywords with crowded search engine results pages and going straight to the relevant terms where you can stand out.
- Specificity and intent. When a person types in a more specific query, there’s usually a reason. Optimizing blog content for more specific keyword terms means being able to focus on the intent of a consumer, rather than just a general need. This increases the chances of someone sticking around after finding your website.
- Natural language. We’ve all seen examples of blatant marketing material masquerading as a blog post. These posts are often filled with spammy links and are worded awkwardly to fit a maximum number of head terms into a post. Long-tail keywords tend to be more natural, fitting the way people actually talk and write. This makes incorporating these keywords into blog content a much easier task.
Ultimately, a long-tail keyword strategy means greater engagement and reach for a company’s content. In our studies, we found that a long-tail keyword strategy nearly doubled the number of visits to a company’s blog within six months and resulted in higher conversions.
Find the Right Keywords for Your Business
Long-tail keywords may lead to greater reach, but without the right tools to find what people are searching for, enacting an effective long-tail strategy is impossible. Here are three free tools to help you find exactly what you need to begin implementing an effective strategy:
- Google Trends: Get to know what people are talking about. Google Trends can tell you the most popular search topics in the world right now (both in general and in your specific field).
- Übersuggest: When you start typing a search into Google, it tries to help with autocomplete suggestions. These keyword suggestions are based on what other people are actually searching for. Übersuggest lets you see all these related suggestions and more, which can give you a better idea of the range of terms people are using to look for your products.
- Google Keyword Planner: Once you have an idea of the basic search terms people are using, you can extrapolate the best keywords with Google’s Keyword Planner. Just input trending topics and auto-suggestions, and it will tell you the level of competition for keywords relevant to these topics.
Implementing a Long-Tail Keyword Strategy
Once you’ve found relevant long-tail keywords, the next step is implementing them successfully. Here are some tips to make your strategy more effective:
- Always take trending topics into consideration. If no one cares about the topic you’re writing about, then it’s not going to be effective from a marketing standpoint.
- If possible, insert keywords into the title, meta data, and body of the content. This helps Google determine relevancy. A word of caution, though: Don’t overdo the keywords. Apart from being a red flag for search engines, peppering in keywords too many times can give readers the queasy feeling of reading spam. Blog posts should always sound natural and sincere.
- Share your posts. Share your content on as many social media platforms as possible. The easier you make it for people to find your content, the more likely it is to be read and shared.
When implemented well, a long-tail keyword strategy can greatly increase traffic to your site, improve your conversion rate, and translate to a noticeable increase in revenue. Just remember: Like all effective marketing strategies, it takes time and patience to achieve results. This isn’t a magical overnight cure; it’s a strategy for those who are serious about growing their brand in the long run.