best practices

The benefits of long-tail keywords for SEO

Photo of Mikayla Fuller
by   Mikayla Fuller
June 27, 2022

SEO can get complicated, but it really comes down to one thing: keyword ranking. Keyword ranking refers to your website’s spot on the search results page for a particular search term. If you have a website, without a doubt you want to rank higher on search terms related to your business. It’s important to use a mix of short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords to improve your rankings because ranking higher means getting seen by more people and driving more traffic to the website which inevitably converts more leads into sales. Sign us up! 

It is quite competitive to rank on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other search engine. Ranking high for a search term (or, search query) means that your website will be closer to the #1 spot on the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for that term on search engines. Improving your SEO takes time, well-thought-out content strategies, and consistently refreshing content. Today, we’d like to hone our focus on the benefits of long-tail keywords for SEO, and why you should be incorporating long-tail key phrases into your content. 

Short-tail keywords vs. long-tail keywords 

“Keywords” is a pretty popular term we’ve all heard before. But, if you’re new to the world of marketing and SEO, you might be muddled about what keywords are exactly and why they matter for your website. Keywords are the words and phrases people use to look for things on the internet. They can include anything from very broad topics like ‘support as a service,’ or more detailed search queries such as, ‘how support as a service can enable better customer service.’

Basically, if a user searches for something and your website matches those keywords, your site will show up higher on the SERP. Google has developed a formula that it uses to scan your website and rank it for each keyword. If the content on your site matches the search terms a user is looking for, your site will rank better and you’ll show up higher in results. Keywords fall into two categories: short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. 

What are short-tail keywords?

Any search term that is made up of no more than three words qualifies as a short-tail keyword. Also known as focus keywords or head terms, short-tail keywords are extremely broad. Inherently, this makes them high-volume search terms. Examples of short-tail keywords include, ‘technical support’ or ‘voice support.’ Since these are broad topics, they are searched frequently and it is difficult to rank for them. 

Using popular keywords alone is not enough to improve your SEO rankings. When creating content, place yourself in the user’s shoes. What would you search for if you were looking for information on a topic? Then, include this information on your website. Ranking for quality, relevant keywords can bring the right kind of new visitors to your site, increase sales, and expand brand awareness. A holistic content strategy that yields rewards should incorporate an umbrella of both short-tail and long-tail keywords. 

What are long-tail keywords? 

Longer and more specific terms are known as long-tail keywords or key phrases. Incorporating long-tail keywords on your site is a creative solution to help you rank for competitive keywords. Using the short-term keywords discussed prior, these would become long-tail key phrases if they were more in-depth. Examples of long-tail keywords are, ‘why is tech support crucial to UX,’ or ‘why is voice support a vital inbound call center solution.’ 

Typically, long-tail key phrases have a lower search volume than focus keywords. However, if used correctly, key phrases can bring immense value. Take this as an example: if you are a company that sells clothing, most likely your website will not appear in the first results of an organic search for “clothes” because it’s just too competitive. This is especially true for smaller businesses. But, if you specialize in retro and vintage style dresses, then key phrases such as “beige vintage-style sundresses” is going to bring in traffic of customers who are looking for that exact product. 

Here’s the scoop: long-tail keywords get less search traffic. The shorter the keyword is, the higher the search volume it has. So why bother? I’m glad you asked! Long-tail keywords allow you to gradually get more traffic to your website and help your business get found by new audiences who are looking for the exact product you’re offering. When users begin searching for a service it starts out with short-tail keywords. Then, when they conduct their own research on what they really want, they narrow their search down, resulting in key phrases. 

According to ThinkwithGoogle… 

The long tail could provide an untapped opportunity to connect with potential customers. Invest in these areas and see volumes grow.” 

Although key phrases are searched less, the conversions are much higher. The average conversion rate for a long-tail keyword is 4.15% higher than head terms. (Seerinteractive) If you aren’t using long-tail keywords, you’re missing out on connecting with customers who are looking for you. 

How to integrate long-tail keywords into your website 

It can be a struggle to come up with new ways to bring traffic to your site, but long-tail key phrases are a high-return, low-risk approach to delivering a stream of customers who want what you have to offer. Incorporating key phrases can be simple, using these 5 tips:

1. Establish your niche and determine its profitability 

There is something that makes your business different than any other. Whatever that is, take it and run. Identifying your niche allows you to get detailed with targeting and connect with a community that needs your services. As your business grows, it’s natural for your niche market to grow with it. In fact, Harvard Business Review says that large markets can grow from niche ones. Whatever your niche is, use as many relevant key phrases as possible on your site to increase your rankings. 

2. Research, research, research 

Platforms like Ubersuggest and Semrush are great resources for discovering new keywords and their search volume. You’ll want to be picky with your long-tail keywords and make sure that these search terms reflect your business. It doesn’t hurt to check out what phrases your competitors are using as well. 

3. Utilize intent-based targeting 

Intent-based targeting is a way of improving your marketing effectiveness by targeting prospects based on their purchase intent. One way to do this is by creating buyer personas to help you better understand the people searching for your products. Questions to ask when establishing your buyer persona are: what questions do users have? What information are they looking for? What do they need? And, how are they searching for it? It’s your job to help them find it, and key phrases are king for SEO. 

4. Use long-tail keywords naturally in your content

Once you’ve found your keywords, your niche, and your audience, it’s time to add them to your website. There are many ways to add organic keywords to your site and propel traffic. One of the most popular ways to do so is with blogs. Aim to add your keywords in: 

  • The URL
  • The title and H1 tags
  • The first sentence or at least the first paragraph 
  • Subheads 
  • Image file names and alt text 
  • The meta description 
  • In links to related content

5. Refresh your content often with new long-tail keywords 

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel every time you create content. Truthfully, that would be exhausting. A better approach is to create a schedule that works for you where you’re writing new blogs and updating old blogs consistently. Keeping your content evergreen makes this a simple task. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to update valuable content quarterly, semi-quarterly, or annually depending on the content. This means updating any old information, adding internal links to recent content, and refreshing old keywords with new keywords. 

Influx can help

Your business may be growing at a rate that’s difficult to maintain, or you may be wishing for a helping hand to free up your time for more important tasks. A 24/7 support team of trained professionals can give you the confidence needed to flex and scale your business. Let us help you achieve your goals. Contact Influx today!

About the author

Photo of Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla Fuller

Mikayla is an avid copywriter. If she’s not out on an adventure, you can find her somewhere with a book in hand.