Many bloggers believe the best way to get organic search traffic is to optimize their content for the most popular search terms. They go to tools like Google Ads Keyword Planner, find the most trafficked queries, and embed those terms into their webpages. The inherent problem with this strategy is the sheer volume of competition. The most popular keywords are usually the most general, and therefore many other bloggers and websites, many of which are inevitably more popular and trusted than yours, are also targeting those high-level topics from various angles. So how can you help your blog or website rise above the pack?
The answer lies in long tail keywords, which are search terms that are at least four words long. When you integrate these longer keywords into your webpages or blog posts to closely mirror the specific search queries of your readers, search engines can more easily match your particular page or post to users who search for similar queries. Long tail search terms will certainly have less traffic, but they will come from users more acutely targeted toward your content.
Longer Search Queries and the Expectation of Immediate Results
To better understand long tail keywords, its useful to understand user behavior and expectations when it comes to search engines these days. More and more search engine users today are searching with fully-worded questions and expect their questions to be immediately answered. For better or for worse, many users are generally are not looking to spend great amounts of time reading lengthy articles to gain a full understanding of various topics surrounding their questions. Rather, they want their questions answered as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Being that search engines are in the business of giving their users what they want, they are programmed to provide the webpages that they believe provide the best, most reliable information to match their users’ queries. In many cases, websites with high domain authority will be the top results. For questions about cars, an article from Car Advice may be the top result. For questions about finance, an article from Money Insider may come in first.
But there are many questions out there that the big online publications have not answered. It is within those niches that your website can shine. If you spearhead your webpage or blog post with carefully placed long tail keywords designed to match users’ specific search terms, search engines like Google and Bing will begin to display your content for those queries.
An Example from Cheap Simple Living
As an example, one of the best performing articles on Cheap Simple Living that can demonstrate the power of long tail keywords is “How to Find the Best Prenatal Vitamin with the Right Kind of Folate”. This post was designed to answer a common question about the different sources of folate present in various brands of prenatal vitamins. Since its publication last year, this post has brought in steady traffic from all over the world.
There are of course many websites with higher domain authority than Cheap Simple Living that discuss the topic of prenatal vitamins. Big-name websites like WebMD.com, Health.com, and MayoClinic.org all cover topic of the best prenatal vitamins.
But if you search for the long tail keyword “best prenatal vitamin with the right kind of folate,” our article rises above the rest. The highly targeted keyword embedded within the post’s title, url, and content tells Google that our post is a thorough answer to user’s queries about the topic of folate in prenatal vitamins.
Had we titled our post simply “Best Types of Prenatal Vitamins” without specifically target the topic of folate and indicating to Google that our content dealt with that specific question, our post would likely still be buried under hundreds of other websites targeting the same general topic of types of prenatal vitamins.
Getting users to land on your website is big biggest challenge of search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Once a user crosses that hurdle and lands on your website, the door is opened for them to click around your other content, subscribe to your newsletter, or make a purchase. And the best way to attract users from organic search traffic is to present the exact information they are looking for to begin with, and that means meeting them at their questions. Targeting long tail keywords to match specific queries and questions help you do just that.
Remember that long tail keyword searches will continue to become more and more common as more web traffic takes place on mobile devices. Users are now able to simply speak their colloquial questions to Siri or Google Assistant in conversational English, like “how do I ___” or “what’s the best ___,” and have those digital assistants quickly return useful answers from search engines. Your goal is to position your content to be the closest match and most useful information on the Web to pair with those users’ long-tail questions.