Ranking number one for a one or two word search phrase seems to be every website owners dream. However, sometimes it’s better to go for long tail search phrases which are more specific and have less competition.
When Ask.com was released it encouraged users to ‘talk’ to the search engine in a conversational manner. Which made it quite popular, especially with people who were new to the internet.
Years later when 65.8% of the UK population have smartphones and more and more people use voice search, long tail keyphrases are more important than ever.
What are long tailed search terms / key phrases?
Long tailed search terms are search terms which are made up of three or more words. For example, ‘dog treats’ would be a short tail search phrase. Whereas ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ would be a long tail search phrase.
Long tailed search terms are easier to rank for
It’s much easier to rank for long tail search terms. As there is much less competition for a long search term.
For example for the search term ‘dog treats’ there are 112,000,000 results. But for ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ there are 40,000,000 results. While 40 million is still a lot of results, it’s much less than 112 million results.
Generally, the longer the search term you want to rank for is the less competition there will be.
Long tail searches provide more accurate search results for users
Short tail keyphrases can be quite vague. Whereas long tail keyphrases are more specific. Meaning you get results which are more accurate and much closer to what you were searching for.
Keeping with the dog treat example. If you search for ‘dog treats’, you get a list of fairly big well known retailers selling dog treats. If you search for ‘how do I make homemade dog treats’ you get a list of articles which tell you how to make homemade dog treats.
This means the search results answer your problem or question much better than a vague short tailed search term.
Studies have also found that people using long tail search terms have higher conversion rates than those using short tail search terms, which makes sense because long tail phrases are more specific meaning that person knows what they’re looking and is closer to converting.
Long tail searches are more conversational and natural
Being able to use a search term which is quite conversational is easy and natural for us to do. It also means search engines are much easier to use for people who don’t use the internet all that often or are new to it.
More conversational search terms are even more important since Google has released Voice Search which means people will ‘talk’ to Google in a conversational manner and ask things like ‘how do I made homemade dog treats’ rather than ‘homemade dog treats recipes’.
Long tail search terms with well with content marketing
Long tail search phrases work well with content marketing, especially if you’re creating titles which are quite conversation or are a question themselves.
For example, we know that for us our most popular blog post are how tos and people search for things like ‘how business use hashtags in Facebook’ which we know links to our blog post we recently posted about how businesses can use Facebook hashtags.
Long tail search terms help you
Up until recently you could figure out what your most popular type of content was and what people were searching for to reach your website by looking at the organic search terms in Google Analytics. Google have recently put a stop to this to protect users, which means all search terms will now show up as ‘not provided’.
To find out what your most popular content or pages are look at how many visits each page gets.
For example, if your website sells gardening gifts and one of your most visited pages is a pink gardening set, you know that your visitors are interested in gardening gifts which appeal to women and may be buying for their wife, girlfriend, mother or sister.
Long tail search terms will help you rank well for short tail search terms
Search engines, Google especially, are doing their very best to provide users with the best answers to their searches and are doing so by encouraging them to be more specific, conversational and use long tail search terms. If you aim to rank well for long tail search terms it will also help you rank well for short tail search terms.
Sticking with the dog treat example, imagine you create content such as;
- How do I make homemade dog treats
- Why are organic dog treats are better for your dog
- How many dog treats should I give my dog a day
- Dog treats for dogs with food allergies
- Dog treats for dogs on a diet
As you can see all of the above points have ‘dog treats’ in the title which is a short tail search term in itself, so it will benefit your short tail rankings.
You don’t need to focus on just long tail or just short tail; it’s possible to do both, especially if your long tail phrases contain a short tail phrase. It’s important not to rule long tail phrases out because they get less searches; yes, they do get less searches but people using long tail searches know what they’re looking for and are more likely to convert.
If you’re a business based in Burntwood, Lichfield, Cannock, Staffordshire or the West Midlandsand need help creating opportunities to sell by improving your websites SEO and search rankings, get in touch to find out how we can help you. Call us on 01543 387 047 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, why not check out more of our SEO blogs here.