What is a Long Tail Keyword and Why Should I Care?


In the crowded world of competing online marketing strategies, keywords still remain a proven way to get visitors to your business website. Search engines may change their criteria, and consumers may alter their interests, but keywords will always be a viable door through which a consumer can find a business online. So, how keywords are utilised in a marketing strategy is critical to the business being found online among all of its competitors.

First though, there needs to be a distinction made between the two main keyword categories: short tail and long tail. The obvious difference between the two is the length, since the accepted long tail keywords definition is a group of three or more search words combined. Short tail keywords are typically one or two words, and are much more general and simplified. An example of a short tail keyword would be “used cars”, whereas the long tail version might be “used cars for sale Derby”. The more accurate the search words, the more defined the results

Consumer Search Patterns and the Importance of Long Tail Keywords

As contradictory as it may sound by the name, inserting long tail keywords into your content is often the shortest path to your business when a customer conducts an online search. Not just any consumer either. Casual searchers are more likely to enter general search terms (“used cars”) because they are only looking for general information. Maybe they want to buy a vehicle in the future, but aren’t yet positioned to make a move, so they’re just window shopping. The person who searches using long tail keywords, on the other hand, knows exactly what he is looking for and is more likely ready to make a purchase.

Shake Off the Competition

By their very nature, long tail keywords cut out much of the competition when used instead of short tail keywords. When people are ready to make a purchase, they will typically use more defined search words. So, the businesses that rely on short tail keywords will lose out. How? Search engines will rank a web page higher if its content contains the same long tail keywords used in the search. However, just how does one determine which long tail keywords to use?

How to Target Long Tail Keywords

The pitfalls presented by Google’s Panda algorithm are an excellent example of why it’s not wise to go it alone when determining how to find long tail keywords to use in business online marketing efforts. Targeting such odious practices as keyword stuffing and content farms, Google’s latest algorithm incarnation decimated the search ranking of some businesses by upwards of 90%. Fortunately, there are ways to recover, including the addition of more value added content and the use of the right, strategically placed long tail keywords.

Of course, the internet is awash with tips on how to assess which are the right keyword phrases to use. But given the possibility of severe ranking penalties being imposed by Google and other search engines, it’s just not worth going it alone. To that end, there are professional services available that can assist in, not only finding the right long tail keywords to drive traffic to your website, but also in navigating Google’s ever changing algorithm schemes

Long tail keywords can play an important role in achieving higher search results, and they’re an invaluable tool for getting the right people to your website. The consumers who reach your site as a result of long tail keywords know exactly what they’re looking for, and are primed and ready to buy. Be very cautious of how you use them, though. If you don’t fully understand how Google and other search engines rank search results, it’s a wise move to consult a good Inbound Marketing Agency so your long tail keywords don’t inadvertently lower your results ranking, instead of improving it.

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Article by Will Williamson