Longtail Keywords for SEO : Find, Use, Thrive.

longtail keywords for targeted traffic

Many people (including SEOs) don't properly understand what longtail keywords are, so I thought I could ask my friend the Diplodocus to help illustrate the idea. While longtail keywords do usually have more words in the search phrase then head keywords, this isn't the key point.  What is key is the specificity and relative uniqueness of the search.  There is also usually a smaller amount of monthly searches.  Simply put, longtail keywords are more specific, lower search volume searches that tend to have much lower competition for ranking then do most head keywords.  Because of this, using these longtail keywords naturally for page titles, in meta descriptions, in your content, in your social campaigns, and really anywhere naturally can bring direct targeted traffic to your website.  Like everything else you do online, the use of longtail keywords needs to be a contribution to the internet, not a manipulation of it. However, with proper etiquette and a strong strategy, longtail keywords are a very power way to drive visitors with relatively little work once the content and optimization have been completed.


Who Cares About Penguin and Panda!

Well, most of us in the online marketing world do but the point is that with longtail keywords, you can care significantly less.  Not because you are immune, but because you won't be doing anything that would even remotely trigger a penalty.  Yup, that's right, very often there is no need to build backlinks or send social signals.  No need for viral content, or optimizing every last detail of a content piece.  With longtail keywords – especially when you have really isolated long competition longtail keywords – you can simply get your page indexed and ranked on the first page just because it exists.

Yes, I know, the Google algorithm is complex and there are over 200 different correlations related to why pages rank.  But here's a secret… Google is a giant index!  When there is little or no competition, they are simply looking for either an exact match (best) or the next most relevant result to match your search, period. 


Manual Ways To Uncover Longtail Keywords Using GKWT

Alright, so this isn't revolutionary information, but as you know, using the Google Keyword Tool, you can uncover a lot of longtail keywords.  Google offers up to around 800 related results when you search on GKWT.  Depending on the niche, I can general generate up to 200 LTKW (longtail keywords) from the first search like this.  Here are a couple more tips to increase this number still using the free GKWT:


Switch out of [exact] and back to 'broad'

Although using GKWT is generally best done and most accurate (for our purposes) when searching using the [exact] parameter, once you have established a seed base of keywords, if you enter those into the tool and then search broad terms only, you’ll get a lot more variation.  Don’t be selective on based on volume, just grab terms that are related to your seed terms.  Now armed with more keywords, enter them back into the [exact] search to filter out any that have no volume.  For whatever reason, Google won’t always show you all of the related [exact] terms when you only search in [exact].  Bringing keywords over from broad can expand your list.


Double dip your search in the GKWT cheese

Not sure what that heading means, but I know what I meant:  GKWT won't always give you all related terms the first time through.  Do a thorough once over of the initial keywords they give you, pulling the most relevant.  Now, re-enter those back as your new seed keywords and believe it or not, Google will give you more! 

See what Google is giving you under "seaches related to"

Take your top 5 primary LTWK and Google them.  What does Google give you as related results at the bottom of the first page?

Google Searches Related To Suggestions

These may or may not have much volume, but you know Google considers them relevant.  I wrote about ways to use these relevant keywords that Google provides in a post here.


Using Multiple Longtail Keywords On One Blog Post or Page

Again, a longtail keyword isn't defined by its search volume or number of words in the phrase.  Yes, there is consistency with this, but it isn't the key point.  You could have a longtail keyword with 5000 exact monthly searches or one with less than 10.  That said, who should you decide when to use a LTKW in a page title or paragraph heading?  How many should you use on a page?  Well, this is relative, but here are some tips to get the most out of your longtails:


Unless you want to build links and invest time and money, don't get competitive

There is no point in building pages using longtail keywords that are completive, unless your plan from the beginning is to do the work necessary to compete.  Just like head keywords, LTKW that are completive will require a sustained investment of time and energy to build relevance and authority.  The beauty of many LTKW is that they are low competition or even zero competition.  Don't get cocky.  Make sure you know how to judge keyword competition.


Mixing search longtail keywords on one page based on search volume

So if I had a massive content budget and endless time, I would create one page for every single LTWK that I wanted to use.  Unfortunately, spending time and money to optimize a page for a LTWK that has less than a few hundred monthly exact searches may not create a positive ROI.  Instead, you can find a higher monthly search volume LTKW to use for the primary page title / theme and incorporate lower search volume LTKWs into paragraph headings and general text.  For example:

  • Primary LTKW with monthly search volume of 500+ gets incorporated into my page title
  • Secondary LTKW with monthly search volume of 200 – 500 gets used as an H2 – H4 paragraph heading
  • Third level LTKW with monthly search volume of 50 – 200 gets sprinkled naturally into the body text.

Not only have I found a way to use these LTKWs on one page, but I am creating a theme of relevancy on that page for the search engines to understand.


Don't Over Do It With Longtail Keywords

The two most frequent things I see people doing with LTKWs that simply aren't effective or can lead to trouble are targeting competitive LTKWs, and using too many and in an unnatural way on their websites.  This post is meant as somewhat of a guide and while not techical, assumes that you are practicing solid and contributary website publishing.  That is, you are a real business adding quality content to the internet.  Armed with longtail keywords, someone like this can fluorish.  Just armed with longtail keywords and not much else and you won't get very far. 




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