long-tail_keywords_lemurLong-tail keywords aren’t some mystical SEO marketing phrase meant to confuse you with a dazzling smoke and mirrors show. They are a part of a powerful inbound marketing strategy that can drive qualified traffic to your website. The tricky part is finding the right ones your customers use, putting them into practice, and analyzing their performance. Let’s blow away the smoke and uncover the secrets of using long-tail keywords.

What is a Long-tail Keyword?

Unlike more traditional versions of keywords, long-tail keywords are usually longer than three words and relate to a phrase that a person would type into a search engine like Google and help people narrow down their searches.These phrases are what you will build content around. Long-tail keywords are in contrast with short-tail keywords that generate more general search results.

How about an example to simplify things? Imagine you’re the marketing manager for a travel agency that sells tropical vacations; the first keywords that come to mind and that you want to try and rank for are “Caribbean Vacation”, or “Beach Destination.” These are known as short-tail keywords. When these words are typed into Google they will return an incredible number of search results for vacation services and destination. So many your head will spin off and you’ll quickly become overwhelmed. These results will be very general, nearly impossible to rank organically for, and will bring poor quality traffic. Why? Because traditional and out-of-date SEO practices try to target these broad short-tail keywords, as well as huge companies that can generate content on mass scale. It’s the question of being a little fish in a big pool or a big fish in a small pool.

As a marketer without a large budget to compete for the harder-to-rank for keywords, you’ll have to take a different way to success. Say hello to long-tail keywords. Using our example travel agency again, you may want to focus on long-tail keyword phrases like this:

  • Best US Virgin Island Beaches
  • All-Inclusive Resorts on Grand Cayman
  • Cheap Flights from New York to Dominican Republic
  • Vacation Villas in Georgetown Great Exuma Bahamas
  • Cheap Hotels on Palm Beach Aruba

Get the idea?

Why target with Long Tail Keywords?


Long-tail keywords are buyer specific. It’s like hitting a target with an arrow instead of a shotgun. Traditionally, marketers haven’t been targeting these long-tails, they go after the high traffic popular keywords. Long-tail keywords receive a lower amount of search volume, however this creates an opportunity for anyone targeting them. Less traffic means less competition, making it easier to rank. At the end of the day we want high search engine rankings!

The key is to get ranked for as many long-tail keyword phrases as possible. You won’t generate a lot of traffic from ranking for one or two long-tail phrases. You need to use the power of your business blog and construct a content strategy that will having you ranking for dozens and dozens of long-tail keyword phrases. Leads searching for the exact information you are offering will be much more qualified.

Where to find your Long-tail Keywords

You may be saying, “Okay, I need to produce content to rank for long-tail keywords but how do I know what people are typing into Google?” “Which phrases do I focus on?”

There are several great free tools on the internet you can use to find long-tail keywords that match your businesses services. I’ll list a couple of my favorite tools and then I’ll tell you the most important tool to use when searching for keyword phrases.

Tool #1

You know how when you start typing into Google’s search box it comes up with phrases it thinks you might be looking for, well that’s great place to start! You can use the KeyWordToolDominator.com tool to bring up a complete list of these Google suggestions all in one place at the same time. Then add them to your keyword list to target.

Tool #2

Another great tool for finding long-tail keywords is SEMRush.com. Simply type in a couple keywords and it will generate a list of related keywords to choose from. It will also give you an estimation of the search traffic those keywords will generate and how much you can expect to pay if those words were being used in a CPC campaign.

The HubSpot portal also has a excellent keyword tool for finding related keyword phrases.

Tool #3: The Most Important Tool

The most important place you can find long-tail keyword is from your customers. This is one of the reasons why building Buyer Personas is so important to Inbound Marketing. During the process of creating these Buyer Personas you’ll conduct interviews of many different types of customers. You’ll begin to see trends on what interests them, pain-points you can solve, and what motivates them to buy.

From this Buyer Persona information you’ll create a list of long-tail keyword phrases that you can create blog posts around. These blog posts will have you ranking for the very things your ideal customers are searching for. No smoke and mirrors, no magical secret sauce—just the power of long-tail keywords and Inbound Marketing. Boom.

(Source elance.com long-tail image graph – http://www.elliance.com/aha/infographics/long-tail-seo.aspx )