You’ve surely heard that long tail keywords help you rank higher.

But, is it the truth?

Indeed it should be the truth.

Then why you are not ranking for the long tail keywords you target?

A lot of things have changed recently when it comes to long tail keywords.

According to these changes you need to adopt and tweak the strategies you’ve been using for keyword research since years.

Well, here in this guide let me introduce you about long tail keyword research, the modern way.

Some of these strategies are so effective and actionable that you’ll regret not knowing them earlier.

What are long tail keywords? Long tail keywords are the search queries that people type in Google that often comprises of 4 or more words in it. They are more specific and search intent is clear.

There are three types of keywords when it comes to intent:

  1. Informational keywords: Here people are searching for pure information, the typical how-to and why-to keywords (where people are not looking to buy any product).
  2. Commercial keywords: Here people are researching about buying any product, comparing the products, looking for alternatives, and much more.
  3. Transactional keywords: Here people are entering the keyword prior to buying a product. Typically if the keyword contains the terms like “buy”, “discount” in it, it’s a transactional keyword
  4. Navigational keywords: These keywords are used by people when navigating to a certain place both on the web or in the real life. Keywords that include terms like “directions”, “how far is”, “login page”, “registration page”, so on.

Why long tail keywords?

Long tail

Clear intent

Long tail keywords have very specific intent because there’ll be more words in it.

If you consider the below keywords:

  • apartments
  • apartments in Houston
  • apartments in Houston under 1000
  • 3 bedroom apartments in Houston under 1000

You can easily see that as the length of the keyword become longer, it’s easy for you to figure out the intent behind the search query.

For content marketers, if there are more words in the query, they can exactly tailor the content marketing strategy for the search intent.

Higher conversions

As the intent behind the search is clear in case of long tail keywords, you can target these keywords and expect higher conversions.

Would you wish to rank for the term “apartments”, or rather for the term “apartments in Houston under 1000”?

If you are clever, enough you would choose the second one.

Because in the first keyword, the intent is not clear. Apartments? What? Why? Where?

But in case of the second one, the intent is clear and is a commercial or buyer-intent keyword. These kind of keywords give you more conversion rate out of the traffic and especially very beneficial for people running Google Ads to cut costs along with higher ad relevance score.

In fact, the long tail keywords are 2.5% more effective than short tail ones.

Why long tail?

According to Neil Patel, at KISSmetrics long-tail keywords account for 87% of the conversions which is a great number. The statistic is from 2013, I’m sure that number has only been increased ever since.

Voice search advantage

Voice search is booming for a reason. It is a fact that searching with your voice is 3.7x faster than typing (source), and people love talking rather than typing the text.

In fact, it is projected that voice search constitutes to 50% of all the searches by the year 2020 according to ComScore.

Most of these voice search queries are longer and more particular. Due to the natural conversational language used in the voice queries, they will be of 4.2 words length in average as opposed to text queries which average at 3.2 words.

This means, if you are optimizing your content for long tail conversational keywords, it means you are also optimizing the content for voice search.

Low competition

It’s comparatively easy to rank for long tail keywords compared to their shorter counterparts.

Because as the length of the keyword becomes longer, fewer websites target those keywords.

If you have good onpage and offpage SEO in place, ranking for long tail keywords will be easy compared to the fathead keywords.

Researching the seed keywords or topics

Before you dive into the long tail keyword research process, you need to first come up with seed keywords or topics that you want to rank for in Google.

This section was not crucial, years ago. But due to the fact that, now Google ranks the pages for a topic over individual keywords, it’s essential for you to come up the topics you need to rank for.

How to come up with topics?

You need to first come up with your ideal customer avatar, by mapping down the following of your ideal customer.

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Behavior
  • Technographics

Now based on this, you need to determine what content you need to cover on your site to lure in those audience.

Your topics can be very broad like – paleo, low-carb diet, ketogenic diet, so on.

Seed keyword research

Now you need to find the seed keyword, which you’ll further plugin into some of the long tail keyword research tools to generate more keywords to target in your keyword.

Based on how effectively you do the seed keyword research, you’ll uncover more and more hidden gems (easy to rank long tail keywords).

For every topic you researched in the previous step, you need to find at least more than 5 seed keywords, to begin with.

For example, your topic is “low-carb diet”, the seed keywords may be:

  • Benefits of low-carb diet
  • High protein low-carb diet
  • Low-carb diet plan
  • Low-carb diet recipes
  • So on.
Seed keyword research

You can search for queries like.

  • “Keyword” + “forum”
  • “Keyword” + “discussion”
  • So on.
Finding seed keywords using forum

When you browse forums related to your niche of interest, you come across many seed keyword ideas that you can plug into any one of the long tail keyword research tools.

Keyword ideas from the navigation bar

You can also get great seed keyword ideas from the navigation bar or the FAQ pages of a niche site in your topic of interest.

Tools for long tail keyword research

For doing long-tail keyword research, there are many free and as well as paid tools. But, shortlisting the keywords that are most effective for your business and also that are easy to rank is the most important part you need to focus on.

You also need to remember that the rankings are not guaranteed cause of the fact you have used long tail keywords in your content. The ranking depends upon various factors like quality of content, and also off-page SEO factors.

Before doing the below keyword research, I highly advise you to install an extension called KeywordsEverywhere, it displays the search volume and CPC data for the keywords in Google search, YouTube search, and in many places.

Google Suggest (Free)

When it comes to helping you to come up with long tail keyword ideas, Google Suggest is the first place you need to look at.

For this, first, you need to determine the seed keyword for your topic and now move the text cursor in front of various individual words in the keyword.

Google Suggest keyword research
Altering the position of the text cursor in Google Suggest

Like this, altering the position of the text cursor inside your seed keyword uncovers more and more long tail keyword ideas.

UberSuggest (Free)

In order to take this a step further, you can make use tools like UberSuggest, which suggests you an endless number of suggestions.

Ubersuggest for keyword research

It displays you the search volume, CPC, scores for paid difficulty and SEO difficulty.

Again, the search volume is sometimes highly unreliable and also the number of keywords unveiled is comparatively less when compared to popular paid tools which I’ll discuss.

SEMrush keyword research tool (Freemium)

SEMrush has by far the largest keyword index right now compared to any other tools. As of writing this blog post, SEMrush database contains more than 7.7 billion keywords.

SEMrush keyword research tool

It gives you essential data regarding the keyword like search volume, CPC, trend, etc.

Most important sections here are phrase match and related keywords section.

The area where SEMrush shines is in “related keywords”. It updates the related keywords in real-time by tapping into clickstream and it’s own data.

Analyzing SEMrush for related keywords

In this SEMrush’s keyword magic tool, you can carry out the four kinds of keyword research

  1. Broad match
  2. Phrase match
  3. Exact match
  4. Related

You can select any one of the these depending upon the breadth and depth of the topic you cover. The above options are great for both LSI keyword research and researching the subtopics to include in your article.

In addition to this, you can filter the keyword suggestions by the number of words in them, the occurrence of any words, keyword difficulty, and much more as you can see in the above screenshot.

They also have a keyword difficulty score tool, wherein you can enter some of the keywords you’re willing to target in your article, and it returns the score denoting how difficult is it to rank for those keywords.

Keyword difficulty score tool
Grouping difficulty scores as high, medium and low

According to SEMrush knowledge base, above is how you analyze whether the keyword is competitive or not by looking at the KD scores.

Normally, for most of the niche, I would go for keywords that have a KD score of below 50% and even lower.

Akshay strongly recommends: SEMrush Review: A Must Have Tool for Bloggers and Marketers

Tapping into your data for keyword research

Make use of Google search console

You heard it right. You can make use of Google search console for researching the keywords, for which your site is already appearing.

Google search console
Keywords with impressions but no clicks

For this, you need to go under “Search analytics”.

Click on the checkbox in front of impressions. Look for the keywords for which there are no clicks and more impressions.

Now head over to those blog posts, optimize them for the above long tail keywords by adding new relevant content. By this, you eventually start ranking higher and start driving traffic from various keywords.

Finding not provided keywords in Google Analytics

Last year Google encrypted all the search terms. This is to protect the privacy of users. This is a great dismay for the Webmasters. Most of the organic keywords are now not provided.

At start, Google encrypted 70% of the search terms. But now, the percentage increased to 90%. Now the organic traffic section in the Google Analytics is cluttered with the keyword “not provided”. Now how can you know, for what term the visitor is landing on your page?

Even now, you also can determine the organic keywords by which visitors landed on your blog. It is easy with a simple hack.

Even though you can get these unknown keywords via Webmaster tools, you cannot determine the bounce rate, average visit time, location, browser and others with it.

You can find all those unknown keywords in Google Analytics. Back again!

The goal of this tutorial is to link Google Webmaster tools and Analytics to gain insights into organic keywords.

For this tutorial, you need to have Google Webmaster and Analytics account, as you may have expected.

Login to Google Analytics and Webmaster tools. Go to Google Analytics. Under Acquisition, select Search Engine Optimization and click Queries.

You will be presented a screen as below.

Set up Webmaster Tools data-sharing

Click on “Set up Webmaster Tools data sharing” button.

Now select the property, fill in the form as shown below in the image. Click edit below the last option (Webmaster tools site).

Link Google Analytics and Webmaster account

Now in the next window, you may have to select among multiple sites. Select the site for which you want to find not provided keywords and then hit save button.

Now you will be taken to the previous form. Hit save button there.

Now you can find all the keywords that visitors searched in Google for your blog. You can find those organic keywords at Search Engine Optimization section in Google Analytics. The keywords data is 2 days old.

The keyword data is imported from the Google Webmasters account.

In Google Analytics, more details are added to the keywords. Like landing pages, the bounce rate of organic traffic, etc. are added.
You can also add secondary dimensions to search queries. It helps you togain an insightful view.

Now you have three features in Google Analytics unlocked. Queries, Landing pages and Geographical summary. All search impressions, clicks, positions for queries, landing pages, geolocation in order.

Google Analytics gives you an insightful view on organic traffic. Although data given is 2 days old, but it is highly beneficial to analyze your competition and improve your SERP visibility.

Wrapping up

In short you need to always go with long tail keywords for your blog posts as it have specific intent to it. And also, it has low competition than its shorter counterparts.

Before writing any blog post, you need to come up with the main keyword you need to target and also make a list of long tail keywords or the subheadings you need to explain upon. With this, you get additional traffic to your blog post in addition to that of the main keyword.

I hope you found this post helpful. What are your favorite keyword research strategies, let me know then down below.