11 Reasons You Need to Focus on Long-Tail Keywords for SEO

11 Reasons You Need to Focus on Long-Tail Keywords for SEO

That’s the value of long-tail keywords, but it’s not all they do. Long-tail keywords are how people actually search the Internet The entire point of Google’s search business is to present users with the right information based on their searches. Long-tail keywords help us do that. Long-tail keywords fuel your blog strategy I’ve mentioned it a few times, but I want to make this its own point. Here’s how long-tail keywords in blogs look to search engines. Each customer will come to you at a different point in the sales funnel, and you need to lead them to the negotiation and closing parts of the funnel. Long-tail keywords are the way to do it. Google even has a Structured Data Tool for checking the schema on your site. Posts focused on long-tail keywords provide more value to the reader The top digital marketing techniques of 2017 are content marketing and big data, according to a recent study by Smart Insights. The more keyword research you do, the more you’ll find that long-tail keywords are already fueling your organic search traffic.

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seo long tail

It’s hard not to be repetitive when you blog as much as I do.

I’ve brought up long-tail keywords a lot throughout my blog posts. That’s because I focus a lot on them.

They’re the foundation of an effective SEO strategy. Long-tail keywords account for 70% of all web searches.

search demand curve

I’ve spent so much time explaining how to find and use them, but it occurred to me that I never took the time to explain why they’re so important.

Obviously, the 70% statistic I just quoted is a big part of it, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

It doesn’t paint the big picture.

Long-tail keywords are how you generate organic search traffic to your website. They’re the holy grail of SEO.

The purpose of this post is to explain in detail (with supporting facts and examples) why long-tail keywords are so important to your SEO efforts.

1. Long-tail keywords are how you outrank the competition

New York-based SaaS company Conductor recently performed a comprehensive, nine-month study of its keyword rankings within Google’s search engines.

It found that long-tail keywords with and without on-page optimization were impacted more than single-word head terms.

average keyword rank movement for head vs long tail

What this means is that long-tail keywords are your path to overtaking the competition.

Even if it’s a search query they’re already covering, you can gain traction with a better-optimized post.

Let’s take a look at a few virtual reality-related keyword searches in Google Keyword Planner.

Virtual Reality Keyword Planner

Although “VR” has over 1 million monthly searches, and “virtual reality” has fewer than one million searches, the competition and costs are high.

Consumers who are searching for these high-level keywords are likely interested in the VR industry, but they might not be buying anything.

If you’re actually making a VR product, it’s probably a game, app, or headset.

We can tighten SEO and compete in our niche by looking for more refined keyword queries.

VR games

Best VR games, best VR apps, and best virtual reality apps all have a worthy search volume. They’re much closer to the sale, too.

If I wab=nt to buy a VR game, I’m not searching the generic term “VR.”

Instead, I’m likely searching blogs for the “Best VR games” to decide which one I should buy.

Even if I know specifically which game I want, long-tail keywords can still be useful.

Here’s a good visualization for Arkham VR.

Arkham VR

As we add and change keywords around, we find different searches with different results.

If we target enough of these long-tail keywords with a review of Arkham VR and listings of other PSVR games, we can become the PSVR experts.

From there, we can expand to become experts in everything related to VR.

That’s the value of long-tail keywords, but it’s not all they do.

2. Long-tail keywords are how people actually search the Internet

The entire point of Google’s search business is to present users with the right information based on their searches.

If I search for “SEO Trends to Prepare for in 2018,” it’s because I’m specifically searching for information on these trends.

SEO Trends 2018

Some savvy SEO already wrote a 2018 SEO trend article in April 2017.

This is all well and good, but a lot has changed in online search between then and now. A lot more is going to change in the future, too.

That’s why Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal waited until December 2016 to list 2017 trends and will do the same for 2018.

As a digital marketing expert, I won’t be looking for “SEO.” I’ll be interested in “SEO trends,” “SEO brand success stories,” and other long-tail keywords.

One of the biggest SEO trends for both 2017 and 2018 is mobile search optimization.

Expert Roundup 1024x514

In May 2016, Google raised the character limit in SERP titles and descriptions.

With an extra word displayed, long-tail keywords are an even more vital part of mobile site optimization.

Just keep in mind that people are typically only searching for one of three reasons: to do something, learn something, or go somewhere.

Keep this in mind when you’re planning your keyword campaigns.

3. Long-tail keywords provide context to your content

Google has always pushed contextual search, and with its 2017 Hummingbird update, it’s only digging its heels deeper in the sand.

For those of you who don’t know why it’s called Hummingbird, Google’s updates follow a theme.

Android updates are named alphabetically after desserts.

You can find monuments to each sweet treat spread throughout Google’s Mountain View, CA, campus.

Meanwhile, Google’s search algorithm updates are named after animals.

Google Hummingbird Algorithm Updates

With each successive update, these animals have been thinning the SERP herd of weak or dying results.

Panda and Penguin were especially feared by SEO experts.

Hummingbird adjusted search algorithms to match exact phrasing more often and to deepen their understanding of context.

Essentially, Google is focused on long-tail keywords and strengthening their search results.

You should be too!

4. Long-tail keywords have better conversion rates

According to recent research by WordStream, the top 10% of landing pages convert at 11.45%.


That’s a huge difference!

But, again, it doesn’t tell the entire story. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of conversion rates spread across different web properties.

search conversion rate distribution

More realistically, you’re experiencing a 2-5% conversion rate on your website.

Maybe even less, if you’re just starting.

You’re not going to magically increase to 30% overnight just by adding a few long-tail keywords into your website.

That’s not the point.

There’s no “easy button” for life.

What long-tail keywords will do is solidify your CRO funnel through organic search traffic.

With fewer than 25% of web pages ever being viewed, you can’t afford to not pay attention.

It’s cheaper to research these longer terms and write blog posts related to them than it is to pay for a PPC campaign on each of them.

Still, a solid PPC campaign can be a great placeholder until your SEO efforts are done.

It’s a process, and Google understands this.

That’s why my next point is true.

5. Long-tail keywords help you rank for single keywords

We ultimately do want to rank high in the SERPs for short keywords.

Long-tail keywords help us do that.

Let’s take a look…