Oftentimes I work with clients that have prioritized content creation on their website, but are only asking about long tail keyword research after the fact. The old days of simply plugging in a generic keyword that you want to rank for at the last minute is gone. Long tail keyword research needs to dictate content, not just supplement it.
Nate Dame of searchengineland.com makes the essential point that “most online experiences start with keywords – so marketers should, too.” Think about it. If your customers are starting their search with a specific keyword or phrase, shouldn’t research into that long tail keyword take precedence when figuring out what you should write about to provide value to your website? It’s a simple thought, but it often goes overlooked.
How Long Tail Keyword Research Works
Effective keyword research will show you what users want. Writing content and adding related keywords after the fact will not.
While you may hit the bullseye with your content (in terms of meeting customers’ needs/wants) on occasion, you’re essentially playing a guessing game. Long tail keyword research will give you an even better chance of you reaching your target audience. Putting in the work before hand allows you to spend your resources more efficiently by creating more targeted content for your audience. That way, you’re guaranteed that your content will perform better and you’re not leaving it up to chance.
The essence of long tail keyword content marketing is to place your pages in the direct search path of a specific group of people.
There’s no use trying to optimize your website and web pages for a one word keyword. There’s just too much competition out that from business with more resources than you. That’s OK. Being the small business that you are, you only want to connect with a specific set of online searchers anyway. You want to produce content that will interest and benefit your niche audience. Using long tail keywords may gain you less traffic, but the traffic you do receive will be more meaningful to your business.
Not only will long tail keyword research help determine what topics, phrases, and terms to target at the start of your writing process, but it will also clue you into the type of content users are looking for. For example, if the majority of searches surrounding your topic keyword are question based, you may want to create a more basic how-to article, as opposed to the more technical piece you may have originally thought was needed.
Conducting long tail keyword research before creating your content will also allow you to gain better insight into what Google is prioritizing for certain subjects or even industries. By analyzing the SERP (search engine results page) of your target keyword, you can see what type of content and results you’re competing against. Understanding factors such as recency, content length, page load speed, related topics/search terms, and content type (video, images, infographic etc.) will help to reveal what type of results Google prefers and ranks highest.
Optimize Your Website for Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are keywords of at least three words. The more targeted the keyword, the higher your result will rank for specific search queries. That’s the goal, that’s what you should always be aiming for! As we talked about before, you want to use long tail keywords because those are the types of searches your ideal customers are performing online. Having web pages optimized for long tail keyword searches will 1) help to increase your SERP rank and 2) put you in the path of your ideal customers.
So here’s how you do it!
1. Selecting Your Long Tail Keyword
To start off, you need to use some sort of SEO research tool where you can conduct your long tail keyword research.
If you don’t use a keyword research tool yet, here are some to check out:
– Google Keyword Planner
– Moz’s Keyword Explorer
Once you settle on an SEO research tool, you need to actually choose your keyword or phrase you want to optimize for.
Ask yourself these questions when deciding what keyword to use:
– How much monthly traffic is this term/ phrase getting? (Remember, you don’t want a keyword with too much traffic! You’re result is more likely to rank lower)
– What’s the competition like for this particular term/ phrase?
– How difficult is it to rank well with this term/ phrase?
2. Writing Your Content
Once you choose a keyword or phrase you want to use, you need to start writing your content. While you want to make sure to include your keyword or phrase where it makes sense, make sure to stay away from keyword stuffing. Google has taken great strides to prioritize only the best content for web searchers and keyword stuffing will cause your result to end up at the very bottom of the results pages. However, you do want to make sure to include variations of your keyword and related keywords as well.
Google prioritizes comprehensive and thorough content. When you write about a specific topic, you’ll naturally start to include other related and relevant terms. Using related keywords in your web content shows Google that you’re presenting an in-depth and actionable contribution to the topic conversation. It helps to build your credibility as a valid information source online and will help web searchers actually resolve an issue, or answer a question they may have.
Most importantly, write your content for web searchers, not search engines. Searchers are the ones that will continue to visit your site, purchase your product and/ or services, and continue to support your small business over others. Write about what they want to know and write it in a way they can understand.
As a small business, you need to prioritize long tail keyword research. Using more specific keywords on your website and web pages will allow your pages to be found by high quality prospects. Build your content around your long tail keywords in order to attract those niche customers you actually want!