For the last six years or so, long-tail keywords have been used by SEOs as a popular way to gain search traffic. According to a recent infographic created by HitTail, 70% of all search queries are for long-tail terms. With this said, targeting long-tail keyword phrases in your SEO strategy can be an incredibly powerful technique for building up your organic search engine traffic. Research suggests that long-tail keywords are easier to rank for, the competition is lower, and using them may result in more conversions than the more popular core, or head keywords.
Google can answer questions
Google is essentially becoming more and more like a person. Just like you’d ask a friend “Will it rain today?” or “Where is Bloomingdales?” Google can provide answers as results.
For mobile users, there’s Google Now, a system that provides answers through voice commands in natural language. This means that more and more web users will be typing in, or speaking their queries on Google. While some users might just type or say “Bloomingdales,” many will likely type or ask “Where is Bloomingdales?”
Familiarize yourself with Google Now, as this is the future of search. If you are one of the many iPhone or Android users, you’re likely already used it. I can’t even count how many times I’ve “talked” to Siri, asking “her” long-tail questions. I’ve asked Siri about everything from sports scores to the weather to how old Lebron James is. What I’m doing is having conversations with a search engine, and I’m not the only one out there doing so.
While some long-tail keywords may not drive as much traffic to your site, they are more likely to bring much more qualified visitors. And while many SEO professionals are focused on ranking at the top of the first page, isn’t the overall goal in most cases to increase conversions? Whether it’s to make people click, buy, or sign up, making people commit to an action that ultimately converts to revenue is the goal.
When a user searches for just “Bloomingdales,” you’re not as sure what he or she wants to do. Maybe it’s a student who is writing a paper about the history of the store, or a person just trying to get general information about what the store sells. However, when the user searches “where is Bloomingdales?” it’s a safer bet that he or she wants to go to the store in the near future. The user intent is much clearer: he or she wants to know where the nearest Bloomingdales is in order to go buy something there.
If you had to guess, which search query is more likely to result in a conversion?
Highly relevant results
Core keyword searches with high levels of competition and search volume rarely yield highly relevant results. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, provide results that are highly relevant, which can translate to a higher conversion rate for sites ranking at the top for long-tail searches (these also have less competition).
Ranking high for competitive core keywords can be incredibly tough, which is why long-tail keywords can make a huge difference. Sometimes, instead of fighting for a single #1 spot for a difficult keyword, it may be wiser to rank #1 for 100 long-tail keywords. In most cases you’ll have more users who are actually looking for your product or service, higher converting traffic, a lower bounce rate and better time-on-page metrics.