Improving SEO | How to Use Long Tail Keywords

Make Some Serious Google Gains Using Long Tail Keywords

Let’s face it, SEO is hard. Getting your website to rank number one for your dream keyword can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you’re in a highly competitive market. Don’t be too put off though, it just means you have to be a little more savvy!

Using ‘longtail keywords’ you could quickly and more easily corner off your own little piece of the market, with less effort. What’s more, if you play it right, you could even bring better traffic, which will convert at a higher rate than your original, single, keyword! What’s not to like about long tail? Quicker results, less effort and better traffic! Simple!

Ok, it’s not that straight forward, but developing a Search Engine Optimisation plan aimed at long tail keywords should definitely be on your to do list. Here’s how…

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Here’s a keyword: ‘marketing’

Here’s a long tail keyword: ‘digital marketing agency in Sheffield’

Basically a long tail keyword is an elaboration on any single word which people may search. Whilst these generally receive less monthly search volume, they do offer up some great business opportunities, especially if you think about extra information, such as location and buyer intent.

Popular Long Tail Keywords

In it’s quest to be all encompassing, Google has spent plenty of time delivering ever more specific results on their SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages), which, in turn, has pushed consumers to use increasingly specific search terms.

Whilst generic terms such as ‘Tiling’ are still packing major monthly volume, clearly defined long tail terms are increasingly popular, with some repetitive searches becoming a staple of SEO strategy. So what are the popular long tail terms people use regularly?

Location terms

With the introduction of voice search, ‘Service in Location’ (SIL) has seen an impressive rise.

Service in Location searches are just that, a search for a service, in a specific area, such as ‘Tiling in Sheffield’.

SIL search terms are a major draw for businesses, as you can target customers in your area. This can be especially important if you’re providing trades or services, which can’t be delivered nationwide. Expect to see a higher click through rate, with higher conversions than traffic brought by generic terms.

Tip: Don’t just think about your city when devising your long tail, location based keywords, smaller districts can often be much less competitive, whilst still delivering decent traffic.

Buyer Intent

Buyer intent long tail terms should definitely be included in your SEO and content strategy, after all, it signals that your traffic is ready to buy!

Buyer intent terms indicate which stage of the journey a customer may be, when they use a specific long tail keyword, for example; ‘Buy decorative tiling’ (hopefully, you’ve grasped the importance of ranking for terms like this, over ‘decorative tiling’!).

As well as ‘Buy Now’, other buyer intent terms include; ‘sale’, ‘order’, ‘book’ (a biggie in the restaurant and service industry) and ‘quote’. Think about the services your business offers and how customers may access them.

Offers & Extras

Sometimes, users search products and services based on the offers and extras that may be available, particularly if they’ve already searched elsewhere.

Take our tile customer for example. they may have searched elsewhere, they may have found the perfect tiles at the right price. They may have even added the tiles to basket, only to find a whopping, unexpected delivery charge, which made them abandon cart in a flash. That’s where long tail terms with offers and extras come in!

Targeting terms such as ‘free delivery’, ‘next day delivery’ and ‘in stock’ could help you pull conversions in, that would otherwise end up elsewhere!

An added bonus of targeting these types of long tail keywords is that click through rates should be through the roof, with bounce rates being extremely low; this will have an overall positive impact on your total search engine optimisation.

What Are The Benefits of Long Tail Keywords?

Faster Results

Unlike generic terms, which can be highly competitive and dense, long tail keywords are often easier to rank for (not always!). This means your content marketing and link building strategy could see Google page one ranking much quicker than your other organic rankings.

Better Click Through Rates (CTR’s)

When users make long tail searches, they’re looking for something specific. If you can generate solid rankings on long tail SERP’s you’ll see a major improvement on your click through rates, ultimately, this will help improve your overall SEO.

Rich Snippets

Google’s Rich Snippet feature highlights the most comprehensive results, usually in a drop down box, above all other organic listings. These can improve organic traffic by a massive 40%, so they’re well worth getting hold of.

How do you develop rich snippets? As always, it’s a numbers game with Google, but highly targeted, quality long tail content can quickly show up in Rich Snippets. FAQ’s and How To’s are good strategy for attracting snippets, be sure to incorporate solid question and answer content into your long tail content SEO strategy.

Featured Snippets SEO Sheffield
Featured snippets for ‘Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe’. These sit well above the other organic listings.

Higher Conversions

Let’s take a look at two scenarios we’ve touched on above, thinking about which will see the most sales;

a) ‘Decorative Tiling’

b) ‘Buy decorating tiling in Sheffield, free delivery’

When you put generic terms and long tail side by side, it’s pretty obvious why you need to be including a solid long tail keyword strategy into your organic marketing! Reaching page one for the right terms could see your sales jump through the roof!

How To Develop Your Long Tail Keyword List

Listen To Your Customers

Your existing customers can provide some good insight, which can help develop your long tail content. This is particularly true of FAQ’s.

Make a list of all the questions your customers pose, whether it’s face to face, on social media, on the phone, or in email; any that crop up often can be addressed in a comprehensive bit of content. If nothing else, this will set you apart from competition, but with a bit of luck (and solid schema markup) you could see your site taking that important Rich Snippet spot; hello Google page one!

Categorise Your Products

If you’re running a shop, online or otherwise, consider categorising all your products into specific categories.

If you haven’t segmented your products yet, start by listing all the attributes; colour, material, use, that sort of thing. Once you’ve got a clear idea of the attributes of each product you can then put them into the right category.

Don’t be put off by thinking you have to put one product in one category. There are plenty of occasions where one product will fit in multiple categories.

These categories will really help you connect your potential customers with your products, such as ‘White Tennis Trainers for Men’.

Tip: Think outside the box with your attributes! For example, ‘White Tennis Trainers for Men’ is a perfect category, but how about getting more niche? ‘Wide Fit White Tennis Trainers for Men’ may have less searches, but it’s still going to bring in sales!

Answer The Public

Answer the Public is a great, free tool which can help you develop long tail search terms from a single generic keyword. Using the Answer The Public search bar, you can input any term you like, which will ping back a whole host of long tail terms, including prefixes, such as ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘who’. There’s also comparisons and an A-Z related database available on most terms, all of which can be downloaded.

Recent updates limit you to three daily searches, unless you choose the premium option, but with some clever forethought, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Answer The Public Long Tail Keyword Results
A typical Answer The Public result for ‘Marketing’. There’s plenty to get stuck into here!

Ask Google (Yeah, You Can Actually Do That)

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool you can integrate into your site, which over time, will tell you exactly what your site is ranking for.

Setting your results parameters to around three months (there are longer and shorter options available) will give you plenty of ideas. You’ll find that your site is already ranking (in the depths of position 70+) for some pretty juicy long tail terms; these can form the basis of your long tail content.

Our site for example was ranking around 50 for the term ‘WordPress websites Sheffield’, whilst we were focusing on ‘web design’ as a generic term. Being WordPress experts (even if we do say so ourselves) it was a no brainer to jump on that long tail term and really ramp up our content around; WordPress Websites and all things Sheffield. Since then, we’ve been creeping up the rankings, converting enquiries from clients looking specifically for WordPress sites.

Check Out Your Competition

Your competitors may already be targeting long tail keywords, which you can target too, once you know what they are.

Using software such as SEM Rush can help you figure out what your competitors are ranking for (including single keywords too) and identify any gaps in your site, to theirs.

There’s a free trial available on SEM which is handy, but as always, you are limited on features, so it pays to plan ahead and determine which sites you’d like to crawl and what sort of information you’d like to glean.

Using the search bar, simply enter your competitor’s URL to run a site wide scan. SEM Rush will deliver you plenty of data to get stuck into, including keywords, current position, traffic generated (from each keyword) and the competitive score of each word, which you can use to determine the low hanging fruit available.

There are SEM Rush alternatives out there, but we find their platform to be the most straight forward. If you’re using the paid version, you can even monitor your site daily, using ‘Projects’, essentially, a ‘one stop shop’ for your SEO, including organic insights, keyword rankings, social media analytics and much more; it’s well worth checking out.

Using Long Tail Keywords In Your Marketing Strategy

So you’ve done your research, found your long tail keywords, now what? It’s time to build your content strategy, aimed squarley at ranking for your target terms. Your ideal goal should be to achieve a Google page one ranking (generally, this is position 8 or lower), with Rich Snippets and Featured Snippets as an added bonus.

There are a few tried and tested methods for adding long tail content to your site, but be aware, no one likes content that’s disjointed! No matter what you do, always write content for the reader, avoid keyword stuffing or ‘shoe-horning’ a term in there for the sake of it. Good content is always easy to read, engaging and simple.

Here’s a few ways you can easily bring long term keywords into your content marketing and SEO strategy…

Frequently Asked Questions

We love FAQ’s because they’re Google Rich Snippet friendly, easy to write and pretty helpful for potential customers too. If you spend a lot of time asking the same old questions day in day out, why wouldn’t you want to write an FAQ?

You can create Frequently Asked Questions content across your entire service range if you like, but remember to break things down into sensible areas (we would do an FAQ on SEO and a separate one on Web Design for example).

Remember to keep answers concise, with your layout being; one question, one answer, short and sweet.

If you really want to get technical, you can even add Schema Markup to your FAQ’s to give them a little helping hand in the search engine stakes!

Product Category Pages

If you get creative with category pages, you can easily target some niche, high conversion long tails. Take a look at this page we developed for Bootygoals, see what we did?

By building out a ‘Gluten Free Protein for Women’ page, we helped quickly get their site infront of customers ready to buy, which would have otherwise taken months if we’d targeted more simple protein terms.

Your category pages can be anything you like, ideally, niche terms are your best bet for quick wins, but don’t get too granular, otherwise the work to return ratio will be way out.

Once you’ve decided on some decent category pages, your on page copy should do the trick; try to include an ‘about x’, ‘what are the benefits of x’ and ‘what are the features of x’.

TIP: Keep mobile in mind when laying out your category pages! Don’t put copy over user experience, in short, keep lengthy text to the foot of category pages, with products still getting main billing.

Long Tail Landing Pages

Landing pages are a great way to deliver super specific content and really ramp up those conversions.

Approach your landing pages in a similar way you would Product Category Pages, making sure not to duplicate content!

We like to approach landing pages by imagining we were running a paid search campaign to the site in question; if a user reached your new page after clicking on an ad, would they convert, or leave?


The ultimate tried and tested method for adding keywords, and long tail keywords to your website’s armory; blogging is still the number one tool we recommend for content.

We’re not going to teach granny how to suck eggs, you should already know the benefits of blogging, but just to help you out, here’s a few simple blogging tips to keep in mind:

  • Write for readers, not your keyword
  • Write with authority
  • Be sure to include some external links where necessary
  • Include internal links (without going overboard) to boost bounce rate
  • Not all blogs will convert, think about where your reader will be in their purchasing journey

Measuring Your Long Tail Keyword Performance

Using some of the same tools you used to compile your long tail keyword list, you can also devise a pretty water tight performance monitoring method. Here’s the tools we’d recommend to monitor your long tail performance…

Google Search Console

Search Console will give you an up to date insight into what keywords you’re ranking for. Using a bit of common sense, you can monitor changes (including increase and decline) in position.

We recommend monitoring your site over a period of three months, keeping an eye on your targeted terms, monitoring their average position to see if your content strategy is paying off. Don’t get too disheartened using GSC, it can be tempting to look at the numbers day to day (which is perfectly fine), but you won’t see results overnight!

Keep On Top Of The Figures

Here’s something to keep in mind with Search Console; if you rank for a new keyword, your average position (sitewide) will go down. Why? Think about this; you currently rank for three terms, which are of little value, all in position one. That means your average position is one. Great! Right? No. Like we’ve just said, these terms bring little to no traffic to your site and certainly don’t contribute to conversions.

Now, after a solid content push, you rank for a fourth term, which starts at position 77, all of a sudden your average position has dropped off a cliff (20 at mean, 38 at median!), this isn’t a problem, so don’t panic, it’s all about pushing those relevant terms forward.

SEM Rush

Whilst SEM Rush uses data from multiple sources, including GSC, it n be valuable in its own right for monitoring keywords for a few reasons.

Firstly, as we say, it pulls in information from multiple sources, so it’s not all about Google. This can be beneficial as it can give you a wider picture, including Bing and other search engines, which shouldn’t be ignored.

Secondly, SEM doesn’t update ranking changes daily. So how is that a bonus? We find the monthly updates much more beneficial, especially when working towards a set strategy, as it can help focus efforts, without jumping on every slight movement your site may see. This is particularly important if you’re managing the SEO and digital marketing on behalf of your company, as stakeholders will need clear, month on month reporting, without too much clutter.

The Wrap Up

If you’ve made it this far, good on you! We’re pretty impressed. That said, if you put some of the above into practice, we guarantee your site will see some major improvements in long tail keyword rankings. In our wrap up, we’d like to remind you how important it is to stay focussed; pick a few key areas and push as hard as you can to get your site ranking for them, don’t be tempted to flit from one idea to the next.

The rule: if it’s not page one, it’s not done.

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