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Content Marketing 18 min read January 12, 2023

A Beginner's Guide to Leveraging Long Tail Keywords for Content Success

Top eCommerce Lead Generation Strategies

Technical SEO expert and Google Analytics 4 trainer at PRAGM
SEO is getting more and more challenging. Keywords are getting more and more competitive. Ads take up more space. Algorithmic updates like the Helpful Content Update are impacting the way we think about SEO content. AI content produced without human supervision is also trending.

If you want to create sustainable content that will rank for years to come, you need to focus on human-centered content that leverages long-tail keywords. These types of queries offer big opportunities for marketers.

Here’s a concrete, actionable guide for anyone looking to harness the power of the long tail in SEO.

SEO Definition Of A Long-Tail Keyword

Long tail keywords get their name from their position on the search demand curve. The concept of the long tail is not SEO-centric. It was created by Chris Anderson in 2004 to conceptualize a business strategy focused on products with low demand but high attractiveness to a niche market, not on high demand and easy-to-find products.

For SEO, the long tail theory emphasizes the same principles: niche, low search volume keywords offer significant advantages. Compared to head terms (see below), those long tail queries are less competitive, they are, therefore, often easier to rank for. However, depending on your niche, you will often see other SEO specialists target them, making competition different for each industry. Also, they are usually composed of more than three words, which makes them more qualified because they offer clearer search intents.

Head terms, on the contrary, are short (one to three words), hard to rank for, and more general. Even if they drive more potential traffic, they usually are very broad and don’t provide clear insights regarding what users are looking for. Trying to rank on head terms is more difficult and usually offers limited ROI. It is not realistic for smaller or newer websites to hope to rank on head terms easily.

Keyword Research SEO Tools To Find Long-Tail Keywords

So, how do we find these types of keywords? This isn’t an exact science, there is no clear blueprint because it depends on the industry, the brand, and the editorial calendar. Here are some tried and true tips to help you get started:

How To Use Keyword Research Tools

Tools such as Serpstat allow you to get keyword suggestions based on initial ideas, specified pages, domains, and more. This is the best way to start. You can use Serpstat in the following ways:
  • Put in a specific URL as a starting point to get some initial keywords;
Checkout page
Serpstat Domain Analysis → Keywords report
  • Put in a competitor domain to see what you get;
  • Type in a specific idea/query to see all variations tied to this keyword;
Checkout page
Serpstat Keyword Research → Keywords Selection
  • Type in a specific query and get related keywords to help you map all of your long-tail opportunities;
  • Or mix all these approaches! That’s what most SEO specialists do.
Pro tip: You have the possibility to filter the search terms based on their lengths. This is great for identifying the long tail keywords (and filtering out head terms).
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You Can Also Get Started In Google Autocomplete

Start by thinking about the keywords your targeted audience could use. Go to Google and check the autocomplete suggestions. Put your ideas in a spreadsheet. Then, go into your dedicated tool and analyze the long-tail keywords ideas that you selected, as well as the related terms. Export the lists and select the keywords which seem to offer the best potential.

Go Check Out What Long-Tail Keywords Your Competitors Use

Another great way to find long-tail keywords is to analyze which terms your competitors rank for. To do so, specify the domain in Serptat, load the list of keywords it ranks on and use the keywords length filter.

You can even use your tool keyword gap analysis report to help you along., Another very useful tool is the Domain vs. Domain report in Serpstat, which we previously mentioned. It lets you check common (and uncommon) keywords between your domain and your competitors’. It can also compare multiple domains to let you know what your competitors have in common but that you do not have.

A Concrete Process To Find Opportunities

People often reuse standard query structures that you can also try to target. But first, you need to check if they actually apply to your niche and if there are no other opportunities associated with the keywords in question.

Here are examples of standard queries that could be used for the HR companies (in the NYC area) niche:
  • Best + keyword: best HR companies
  • Keyword + city: HR companies NYC
  • Keyword + state: HR companies in New York
  • Top + keyword: top HR companies
  • Keyword variation + best: HR firms, companies, etc., are variations
  • Industry + keyword: HR firm for small business
Build your list and get data in Serpstat for each term. Don’t forget to check related terms and potential variations that the tool could suggest.

Identifying Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities That Already Exist On Your Site

Don’t forget to conduct the same type of analysis for your own domain(s) to find potential opportunities. You could already be ranking on long-tail keywords. But if your content is not focused on this type of query, it is possible that it/they could be ranking poorly on those. If you do not produce content in the format that aligns best with search intent, it could also be holding you back.

How To Pick The Right Long-Tail Keyword

As a general rule, the best keywords are the ones that show a clear interest in your offer and that allow you to connect with your targeted audience. Long tail keywords often provide you with interesting insights regarding these key aspects.

Therefore, you need to analyze the queries your tools can provide you and select the ones which make the most sense in that regard. This implies some analysis, but Serptat, and the other tools of that type, offer different sorts of filtering, which can help you in the process.

Picking the right keyword involves more than clear intent and low competition. You must also consider the different types of long tail keywords a potential customer will use along their customer journey.
Understanding search intent is crucial for keyword research

Informational Long-Tail Keywords

Depending on your industry and niche, you could discover terms that express user intent to find detailed information regarding the topics you are trying to target. Informational queries are very useful. They help attract customers looking for what you offer. Informational long-tail keywords are often used to reach and engage with folks that are at the beginning stages of their customer journey.

Here is an example: “best earplugs for sleeping small ears” (average monthly volume of 30 in the US on the 13th of December 2023). This query is very niche and gives us a clear view of users’ intentions: They are looking for a list of products or details regarding the best earplugs for small ears to use while sleeping.

SEO expert tip: Informational long-tail keywords often take the form of questions. FAQs, reviews, and comparisons… are great content types to aim at them.

Navigational Long-Tail Keywords

Navigational long-tail keywords are usually focused on finding a page or a website. They often include branded terms or/and services/products. They might even integrate a location or modifiers such as “near me”, “cheap”, “prices”... “login bank of america” shows, for instance, a clear need to access the bank account access page.

They are directed towards specific content, sometimes some product or section pages. They can allow you to identify potential page opportunities. For instance, if you notice that some people are looking for a product category that doesn’t have a dedicated page (or provides a poor experience), it might be a good idea to create a great one to rank as well as possible but also to offer the best experience for the user.

Transactional Long-Tail Keywords

You will also find purely transactional keywords, which are linked to searches for products or sorts of items, and show a (quite) clear intention to convert. They can be quite similar to navigational long-tail keywords since they can aim at very specific product or category pages. “cheap galaxy s22”, for instance.

Those queries can be important to use in your category and product pages, but not only. Discounts or even special promotions can, for instance, offer great potential to target them.
SEO expert tip: Very often, long-tail queries that show a transactional intent are highly competitive. This means that you have to focus on providing very high-quality content that aligns even better with customer search intent than the competition.

Harnessing the Potential of Long-Tail Keywords for Maximum Content Impact

The key benefit of long-tail keywords is that they are higher intent queries, queries that lead to conversions more often than head terms.
Myriam Jessier, Founder of PRAGM SEO Agency. Quote from the Serpstat webinar.
In this section, we will discuss how you can use long-tail keywords to improve SEO. Once you have identified the best long-tail keywords for your business, you need to make sure to use them.

Transform Content Strategies With Long-Tail Keywords

Solid keyword research is going to help you structure your content on your website and also on your pages. People will often use long-tail terms when searching for businesses and products. Refined, longer, more specific queries help them find exactly what they want. Using the same approach to content can make your site easier to find and rank better.

You will have to use them in your topic clusters. Topic clusters are a great way to signal to Google that you are an expert in a specific topic. Google is moving away from keywords to entity SEO. The aim is to understand the content better, more like humans do. The best approach for a topic cluster is to use long-tail keywords to flesh out the structure.

How To Structure Your SEO Content

You will have a central topic and subtopics that are related to the main topic.

For example, let’s say you want to talk about Google Tag Manager. First, you would need to explain what it is, but then, you will quickly identify long-tail queries related to the central topic that should be discussed in separate articles. In the case of Google Tag Manager, people often want to know more about how to install and use this tool with their specific CMS. As a result, you will find long-tail opportunities such as:

  • Add GTM to Squarespace
  • Where to put GTM script in Wix
  • How to install GTM on WordPress
  • Shopify GTM data layer

Once your keyword research is completed (or at least the initial analysis) and your clusters identified, you will move onto the content planning phase of your topic cluster.

Within your pages, you should apply a similar strategy: choose main and secondary keywords and develop subtopics focused on your secondary keywords. Your main keywords will be at the core of the content, the secondary ones will allow you to target additional angles.

Here is the outline for the “how to install GTM on WordPress” article:

H1: How to install GTM on WordPress
       H2: Create a Google Tag Manager account
       H2: Install the GTM plug-in for WordPress
       H2: Authorize the plug-in to access your GTM account
       H2: Add Tracking Tags to the container
             H3: GTM tag types
      H2: Publish the Container and Test the Tags
      H2: Testing the Installation to Ensure Proper Functionality

The Content Types That Work Best For Long-Tail Content

The content that works best for the long tail covers a topic in-depth, right down to the nerdy little details. Long tail content provides more information and is more likely to rank on search engines because it answers a specific question and underlying user need. The content types that work best for long-tail content are how-to articles, tutorials, case studies, interviews, reviews, and FAQ content.

For e-commerce, product pages should, by nature, use long-tail content. Subcategories and blog articles can do the same, depending on the topics you work on. For the other sorts of websites, it depends on the topics you develop. The more detailed you go, the more long-tail your content should be. For B2B long tail content, many elements are already too competitive. One quick way to get started would be to use template keywords. Create useful resources in the form of checklists, Word documents, PDFs, and more.

What Pages Attract the Most Traffic?

Long-Tail Queries Make For Great Internal Link Anchors

Having a strong internal linking strategy is an essential part of any successful SEO topic cluster. It can influence both the navigability of a website as well as rankings.

One great way to build comprehensive and effective internal linking is to leverage long-tail queries. By including long tail queries as anchor text, you can not only add clarity and context to your inlinks, but also optimize them for search engine bots.

Use your cluster strategies to identify which pages should be linked to each other and which long-tail queries should be used as anchors.

Internal Linking For SEO: Everything You Need To Know

Conclusion: Harness Long-Tail Queries For More Organic Traffic

Long tail keywords are absolutely essential for your SEO strategy. You need to find the ones which make the most sense for your brand and offer, and build your content around them. If you fail to do so, you will often struggle to develop an efficient organic visibility. Harvest your SEO keywords research tools to find the terms with potential and optimize your content to make sure you use them.
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The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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