Long Tail Keyword Research

Long Tail Keyword Research image.

The Strategies Of SEO Are Changing.

Due to the different technologies that are now employed such as RankBrain, Latent Semantic Indexing and voice search, SEO is changing to more solution led content rather than keyword led.

Short tail (2-3 words) keywords have been the focus of SEO agencies and campaigns and this is still the primary focus of clients who have done a little research into SEO techniques and strategies.  However the power of long tail keywords is finally being acknowledged on either side of the fence.

The amount of posts and videos by industry leaders and influencers such as Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel along with the rise of content marketing taken up by bloggers and content writers has helped to encourage people to understand that this is the future of on-page SEO.

The complex nature of Google algorithm means that Google has an ever increasing understanding of the users intent behind the search that they are performing, and rather than match the words in the search to the webpage that has those same words, Google can match the search intent with the best suited webpage to provide an appropriate resolution to the request.

Does this mean that keyword research is dead? Not at all. It in fact makes it more important than ever before! But how do we adapt keyword research in relation to this focus on identifying great long-tail keywords?

Focus on searcher intent

This should always be in your mind as the primary goal for all your activities. What is the searcher really trying to find out? How is your content going to help the user reach their goal?

Ultimately, the tools listed below are there to help you speed up this process and to provide ideas, but you can’t fully rely on them to produce an outstanding long-tail keyword strategy.

Take a bit of time to understand your target market, the length of the sales cycle or what factors influence their purchasing/conversion decisions.

You will be able to understand the type of search terms that can be targeted to provide the most value for your users. Better yet, you can understand the intent behind relevant searches and provide solutions.

Google’s Keyword Planner

This is a great tool to use, but it comes with a few restrictions of use. First, you need an Adwords account with at least one active account in use.

The Keyword Planner may have less specific data in comparison to the former ‘Keyword Tool’, but it does have some useful additions to help you with identifying valuable long-tail keywords.

The ‘Keyword ideas’ and ‘Ad group ideas’ function provides related search terms, helping you save time thinking of all the different variations.  Sift through the tabs (there were 700 keyword ideas in this example) to gain data on potential long-tail keyword ideas.

Using the filters available such as only looking for low and medium competition and searches that generate over a certain amount of searches per month will also help find potentially great new keywords that are not being utilised by your competition as good as they can be.

Even if you don’t find the perfect match for your strategy you should be able to acquire new idea ‘streams’ which should lead to more fruitful long-tail keywords.

Use Google’s suggestions

Do not underestimate how useful Google’s own suggestions within the Search Engine Results Pages are. They are not likely to be the central focus in your keyword strategy, but they can definitely be useful.

When performing a search for long-tail keywords Goole auto fills in a bunch of suggested searches underneath. These are generated from similar searches that have been performed on Google and can therefore be a great tool to discover long-tail related keywords to your initial search term.

Identify the value

Uurrggghhh. Value. Please Mr. Value, come and join the throng of other overused buzzwords.

Whatever terminology you use, this is the most important point that will be made in this article.

The keyword tools that are listed above will only get you so far in creating the highest performing content strategy possible.  Like with any keyword research, the suggestions and data are great starting points. However, there are other variables to consider which dictate the search terms that you target and the content you produce. Some examples of which may be:

  • The relevance to your product or service.
  • Demographics.
  • In house expertise and ability to create content on a specific subject.
  • Competition
  • Date and time decay

It should be a common practise to check the search results page before committing to a keyword and content strategy.

Google gives you a great insight in to what the users intent could be as well as the competition on each keyword.

When you are investing time and money into content creation for long-tail keywords, you want to be sure that what you are targeting is going to give you the best chance at generating the highest ROI. This doesn't necessarily mean the keyword with the highest impression rates, it means the one with the ones that will deliver the greatest results in relation to the amount of work required.

Keywords with a high search volume are great and if its possible for you to target them, then fantastic. Be aware, though, that there are quicker wins.

Using your keyword research, you should be able to look through the search results pages to understand which keywords have results which could be improved. Perhaps you feel like the searcher’s intent has not been completely satisfied, or that new information or updates have come out which makes the other results out of date. Whatever the reason, spotting these opportunities and using the SERPs to influence your content strategy is critical in a truly efficient campaign.