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Incorporate long tail keywords into the mix for SEO success

One of the first steps of an SEO campaign is keyword research. The keywords lay the groundwork for the campaign and influence every decision that is made thereafter. Two of the most important things to pay attention to when conducting keyword research are the relevancy of the keyword and its search volume. For most website owners that are just getting started with SEO, it’s not advisable to after the high search volume keywords right away, even though those are the ones that appear to be the most attractive to target. A high search volume also means high competition and it could take years to begin to see any traction. The best bet is to focus on keywords that are somewhere in the middle, the ones that have search volume but aren’t as broad or competitive. These keywords are often referred to as long tail keywords because they include more than one word in the phrase.

Long tail keywords should be utilized because:

There is less competition
Broad keywords have a high search volume, but also are extremely competitive. Think about the number of sites that will rank for something as broad as “shoes”. If you operate a small local shoe shop you are never going to rank for “shoes” due to competition from well established retailers like Zappos, DSW, or Macy’s. In order to niche it down to a more specific (long tail) keyword, think about your specialty. Do you sell red rock climbing shoes? “Red rock climbing shoes” may have a lower search volume, but there’s also less competition.

There is a higher conversion rate

When someone searches using a long tail keyword it usually means that they have already spent some time doing their research and are narrowing their search by looking for something more specific. When people search using a broad keyword it often means that the searcher is still in research mode and therefore those searches don’t convert as well. If someone already knows that they want “red rock climbing shoes” and you offer high quality red rock climbing shoes at a reasonable price, there’s a good chance that that searcher will convert.

It keeps the campaign natural
In order to succeed in SEO it’s important to create and share content that includes the keywords that you are targeting. If you continually use the same keywords and keyword anchor text links over and over it could indicate to the search engines that you are a spammer trying to game the system. Using different long tail variations throughout content and as anchor text helps to keep things natural.

It is less expensive for PPC
SEO is extremely important, but it’s a long term process. If you are looking for results that are more immediate it’s recommended to also run a PPC campaign. PPC can be very expensive, especially if you are going after very competitive keywords. To help avoid these high fees, you can go after long tail keywords. There may not be as much traffic, but they will still bring targeted visitors to your site.

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