For webmasters, content developers, and business owners alike, search engine optimization, or SEO, is an essential part of driving search traffic to your website. There are several ways to enhance SEO and improve rank and visibility on search engine results pages, but using long-tail keywords remains one of the most important and effective strategies for increased optimization. Long-tail keywords are specific keyword phrases, containing approximately three to six words, which generate the most relevant results concordant with your search.
Keywords: What Are They Used For?
Keywords provide the foundation for search engine optimization. They are the words or phrases that, when entered into search engines such as Google and Yahoo, yield hundreds of results pages in seconds. Search engines expedite and simplify the research process, but it is important to remember that the quality and relevancy of the results you see depends largely on the keywords and phrases you specified at the start of your search. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons associated with short- and long-tail keywords in more detail.
Short-tail keywords are succinct and consist only of one or two words. Many users, especially those conducting general research on a given topic, find the copious results pages generated by short-tail keywords both expedient and informative. From a business and marketing perspective, however, short-tail keywords are costly, competitive, and largely unsustainable. While popular head terms like digital marketing and online blogging generate high volumes of organic search traffic (that is, the shorter the keyword, the higher the volume), they tend to have abysmally low conversion rates. This may seem paradoxical, but it actually makes perfect sense. Remember that, of the millions of searches in which your chosen keywords appear, only a handful of the users who encounter them are your target audience. Although your search traffic volume is high, the trade-off is that very few users will actually browse your site and/or become a customer.
Conversely, long-tail keywords are lengthier and tend to yield more specific and relevant results. Many users, especially those looking for a certain business, product, or service, prefer long-tail keywords as a way to streamline and refine their search. Which of the following search terms do you think will return the best, most specific results – socks or red and black argyle socks for men?
While long-tail keywords typically generate less organic search traffic (that is, the longer the keyword, the less the volume), what they lack in volume, they make up for with consistent, stable conversion rates. The targeted nature of long-tail search traffic—coupled with lower costs, minimal competition, and relevant clicks and queries—increases the probability that you will find your ideal customers, and that your ideal customers will, in turn, find you.
Why Long-Tail Keywords Are Essential for SEO
• According to web experts*, long-tail keywords account for 70% of all search volume traffic, which suggests that most of your website traffic is contingent upon, and generated by, long-tail searches. If you want further proof, data from Google Analytics will likely support the assertion that a majority of the queries made with respect to your website or the products and services you offer contain long-tail keywords.
• A robust correlation exists between long-tail keywords and increased conversion rates. Statistics indicate that the average conversion rate for long-tail keywords is 36%. Although conversation rates are constantly in flux (and vary depending on the products being sold and the demand for them at a given time) the specificity of long-tail keywords increases the likelihood that customers will visit your site and purchase from your company.
• As an addendum to the preceding point, even if a customer does not make a purchase during their initial visit, if they find your website useful—that is, if your website features products and information specific to their needs—they are likely to return and share your site with others.
• Long-tail keywords have a higher optimization ranking than short-tail keywords. While the type of search potential customers perform depends entirely on the type of business you own (and on the type of traffic you hope to generate), long-tail keywords outperform short-tail terms in four out of five categories including competition, focus, cost, and conversion rate.
Data Source: SEOPressor
• Done correctly, long-tail keywords provide useful and necessary context to your digital content. Without proper context, the intent and use of your selected keywords may confuse or mislead users, or even direct them to a different web page or website altogether, and thereby return the exact opposite results you want. Popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo give higher ranking and visibility to keywords that are contextualized in sentences, paragraphs, webpages, etc.
• How people search for information on the internet is, without a doubt, changing rapidly. Voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are revolutionizing information input, output, and the role of SEO generally. Long-tail keywords will drive voice searches in the future, but first, voice assistants must be trained to receive, process, and compute long-tail keywords into relevant information as effectively as search engines do.
Although this blog focuses on using long-tail keywords to improve SEO, it is important to remember that keyword marketing is unique for every business; there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for keyword searches. That said, current SEO campaigns emphasize the importance of the user experience and intent, so, whichever keywords you choose—long-tail or short-tail—make them as user-friendly as possible. If you want to learn more about how long-tail keywords enhance your online SEO and/or how to successfully integrate them in your digital marketing efforts, Perfexion, Inc. is here to help. We specialize in managing and maximizing our clients’ web content, ranking, and search results traffic.
Contact us to learn more!