What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
We might be familiar with the expression ‘Long-Tail Keywords‘ before, but how would you define them? Basically, they are keywords that use 3 or more words(some people say 2 will do). However, in practice, since most keywords contain at least 2 or more words, we are going to describe them as keywords that target niche markets, as opposed to generic audiences.
Possibly that hasn't cleared the matter up for you? It’s understandable! Allow me to explain further. Take for instance that you want to target the keywords: ‘New York Taxi Cabs’. Now, you’ll find that this is extremely difficult. After all, these listings are in the thousands! However, when you do your keyword research, you might find that the keywords: ‘New York Local Taxi Cab Locations’ is much a much easier task to accomplish when ranking.
Now, obviously, there is a reason why it is much easier to rank for the longer-tail keyword. There is a smaller target audience. It is a niche term, one that appeals to a small sector of the net audience. Obviously, the term ‘New York Taxi Cab’, being general in nature, is designed to appeal to bigger audiences, and will get more traffic…and more competition. So, why would you want to target a long-tail keyword that will have less searches?
Reason Number 1: Easier To Get Ranked
Most people will be targeting the shorter keywords. After all, it is far more popular. However, its strength is also it’s weakness. As mentioned, it will take a long time, and massive effort, to rank for that keyword. However, the term ‘New York Local Taxi Cab Locations’ is much easier to rank for, since the competition is less.
Therefore, this weakness in that long-tail keyword is your strength. If you were to target that, you would get two great advantages. 1stly, you would get more organic traffic, why? Imagine that ‘New York Taxi Cab’ gets 15k searches a month. Now, ‘New York Local Taxi Cab Locations’ gets only 1.5k. Not good? Wrong! If you were number 1 on Google for ‘New York Local Taxi Cab Locations’, you might get 400 searches a month. However, if you targeted ‘New York Taxi Cab’, which gets 15k searches, and you are on page 10, you might only get 150 searches a month, since there are so many ahead of you!
Need More Persuasion? Consider this piece from Moz.
“This means if you had a monopoly over the top 1,000 search terms across all search engines (which is impossible), you’d still be missing out on 89.4% of all search traffic. There’s so much traffic in the tail it is hard to even comprehend. To illustrate, if search were represented by a tiny lizard with a one-inch head, the tail of that lizard would stretch for 221 miles.”
Reason Number 2: It’s Where Google Trends Are Heading
A 2nd benefit relates to the fact that Google has expanded it’s ‘exact match’ keywords to now include close variants. This means that keywords now include synonyms and miss spelling. Those close match keywords will obviously also include long-tail keywords, since they are close matches to the exact keyword phrases.
These close match keyword changes by Google started some time ago with plurals, misspellings and close variants, However, recently, it has expanded to synonyms and re-ordering of the words. Can you see how this will benefit your use of long-tail keywords?
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