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What are long tail keywords and how to use them in your SEO strategy

17 June 2016 George Svash Leave a comment KEYWORD RESEARCH

Everyone heard about long tail keywords. But what are they, in particular? How to choose those very key phrases which are able to bring the desired results? Well, it’s not so hard to figure it out as it may seem.

What are long tail keywords

Long tail keywords is a very interesting SEO phenomenon. They got their name due to diagram that looks like a tail. In its turn, it shows that the popularity of a keyword and its length are interrelated.
The shortest queries are usually the most popular. They are also known as the “head” of the dragon and make up to 15% of all the queries. The keywords that have middle length represent another 15% of searches. As for the “tails”, they take the tastiest piece of cake – 70%. Let’s try to dive into the details to understand what keywords types exist and how to use them properly.

Keywords Groups

A keyword is a query that is put into search form by users to look for necessary information in the Internet space. A search engine, for its part, does its best to satisfy users needs and to show the pages that are most relevant to a query. As you know, every day millions of people use different search engines for millions of queries. To make work with keywords easier it is common practice to classify them.

Foremost, a keyword can be referred to the certain group depending on:

Users intents

  • Informational search query is made when users want to find information for the study. Their aim is to receive data of interest or research results of some subject.
  • Navigational search query is made for a certain website to be found.
  • Transactional search queries are put into the search form when a person wants to buy something. In this case, an internet user knows exactly what he wants to buy and search for the certain thing.


  • Head terms – short phrases consisted of 1-2 words.
  • Body terms – phrases made of 2-4 words.
  • Long tail keywords – long phrases of 4 and more words.


  • Highly competitive – keywords that have a high level of competition, they are those words which everyone want to use for climbing on the top positions. In other words, there are plenty of websites that compete for being found in a search engine by a certain keyword.
  • Low competitive – it means that not so many websites want to be on the first position by certain keyword.

Search volume

  • High volume – keywords that are often searched for.
  • low volume – keywords that are rarely searched for.

Now you will be able to classify each of your keywords used for the website promotion. Such classification should help you to correctly make keywords groups by the relevant pages. I have some common recommendations for this case. Let’s imagine you have an internet store, it will suit perfectly to promote sections and subsections by short informative queries and use long detail e-commerce terms for promoting pages with goods.

For example, if you have “summer dresses” as a keyword, it is a short informative keyword which has a highly competitive level and high search volume.

Keyword ideas

We can assume if a user searches it in a search engine, he (but probably she) wants to find some information about summer dresses. This keyword should be used on a page of “Dresses” section.

But when we change the keyword a little bit to “buy summer dresses online for cheap” we will see transactional long tail search query that has a low competitive level and low search volume.

Keyword ideas.2

And this is where the fun begins! Whenever someone googles such query it is obvious that their aim is to buy a summer dress. It is better to place this keyword on a page where the goods are. In such way, you will attract target customers.

Long tails benefits

Thanks to the example above we can clearly see most of the long tail keywords benefits.

  • They are able to bring target traffic. Such phrases can be perfectly detailed so they will attract target customers.
  • They bring conversions. Long transactional search query is put by a user who is ready to buy a product. If he gets to your website, he would probably make a purchase.
  • They help to take one of the TOP positions as, in most cases, using low competitive keywords it is easier to promote your website.

Besides that long tail keywords fit better to create a content. They often look pretty good as headers and subheaders which also smooths things down for promoting those queries to the TOP.

How to research long-tail keywords

A keyword list selection is a significant step. As a rule, a greatly selected keyword list consists of all possible keywords combinations and versions. It is made for a site to get in search engines sight by the maximal number of queries.

The average number of the keywords for a website is about 100-150. Of course, all depends on the website size. The most advantageous situation is when your website page can be found by several queries of the different types.

When you do the selection of keywords it is better to begin with short ones and then make them longer. As in the above example, let’s stop on “summer dresses” key phrase and try to make it longer by generating various long tail keyword phrases.

buy summer dresses online for cheap
buy summer dresses online
buy summer dresses online usa
summer dresses online shopping
long summer dresses free shipping
buy cocktail dresses online
buy best summer dress with discount

And so on. Thus, you get a chance to expand the keyword list much.

I understand that it is a bit cruel from my side to make you compose a long list by using selection method only. Luckily there are a lot of ways to automate this process.

  • There are many generators of key phrases that can automate the selection process. All you need to do is to enter website’s URL and a program will deliver you a list of recommended key terms. From some point, such function is useful, because even if you don’t receive a perfect list, you have something to work on. Due to the list, the process of additional keywords selection will be simpler.
  • Ask Google. When you enter a query to the Google search form, it will give you few other variants of it. When you finally click Enter and see the SERP, down the page Google will list some more of possible long tail queries. They are those phrases which, in Google’s opinion, are frequently searched for along with the keyword you’ve entered. So you can freely use them for expanding your own list.
  • Competitors may also be one of the long tail keywords sources. Enter any keyword into a search form, go to any of the first SERP results and open a source code of a page. There you should find keywords meta tag and H1-H6 tags.
  • Use Wikipedia. It has many lists inside of each article and links to associated articles as well.
  • Amazon.com is a very helpful source of e-commerce keywords. Some hints are hidden in such page attributes as Show results for, title, text below the title, text in ## Results for, bread crumbs and list of products.

Rank for long-tail keywords

So, we have done the list. Now it would be great to puzzle out what to do with this treasure. You may be surprised but there are no special actions because work with long tails should have the same algorithm as in the case of the shorties. You need to group them and link each of them to a relevant page. The optimal amount of keywords per page is 1-5. But it also depends on the size of the content. In the end, an article shouldn’t be loaded with keywords. Otherwise, the page will look over optimised.

To get the best results, let’s call to mind what Google focuses attention on when it ranks a page. Undoubtedly, the number of factors is huge and not all of them are known for sure. Nevertheless, the basic ones are very familiar.

  • Fill the meta tags. All the necessary information should be included to them. Always keep in mind that a user sees title tag content as a link to your website in SERP, and meta description as an actual description of it. Be responsible when you create content for meta tags because they сonvey the impression of a page before an internet user visits it. An excellent clickable title must be informative and have keywords by which a page is searched. In many instances, users are not watchful and pay attention only to first two words of a title. Nevertheless users, guided by this information, make a decision to go further or not. Care about your titles content, make it most relevant to users expectations. According to the last researches of users actions, internet audience badly reacts on capitalized titles.
  • Remember about headers in a page content. Here the title story repeats. Informative and capacious headers look better. Everyone would love to skim over an article to understand what it is about. Always keep in mind that Google doesn’t like high keyword density on a page. Perfect value is 0.5 – 2.5%. Although it depends, anyway.
  • The importance of internal linking can’t be ignored. If you have any chance to link to any of the existing articles – that’s awesome! In this regard, a long tail keyword must be set as an anchor to help your website pages to get to the TOP.
  • External links may be of benefit as well. Consider a guest post as an example. When you publish it as a guest, attach a link to your blog. Most juice to your page can be brought by links from domains with high authority.
  • Social networks have become one of the powerful SEO tools. They are able to attract a lot of visitors to your website by a short time. Thanks to this feature most webmasters decided to spend more time to promote social networks groups.

Myths about long tail keywords

There are so many misconceptions around usage of long tail keywords. Their beginnings have been laid pretty deep by some webmasters maximalism. Nope, guys! If you think that the longer tail keyword has, the better it works, then you are a little bit mistaken.

First things first

  1. “The longer the tail, the better the result.” Too long tail won’t give you the desired result. It will sweep the ground, get in the way and be pretty unuseful. Too long and too detail key phrase isn’t productive. Just imagine something like “where can I buy summer dress cheap in London”. Chances that someone will search for it are very low. There is no doubt that it isn’t competitive but its frequency will be 0. The optimal length of the phrase is 4-5 words. Such phrases show most effective work.
  2. “To promote a website I must use only long tail keywords.” But this statement is so wrong! If to be more precise, it does not work exactly this way. You can think so though if you are a maximalist and read something about how it is easy and nice to promote long tail keywords. But, as it has already been said, to get the best result all keywords kinds must be used. In such case, you will squeeze the maximum traffic juice. Definitely short and informative queries don’t ensure conversions, but they bring you visitors. And if a website’s content satisfies such users, they will come back and, probably, make a purchase. This work is done to get reputation and trust, and with some time, it will bring nice results.
  3. “Long tails will save a lot of money.” Such an opinion is a little bit wrong as well. Long tail keywords do help to cut spendings. But not that much and not always in the best way. Come to think of it, it’s logical: if you use low-competitive keywords with low search volume then there will be fewer clicks. Expected traffic won’t be received. Furthermore, there are expensive long tail keywords. The way out is in objective estimation of budget; if you are ready to pay a lot for the key phrase, then go for it!

Summing up the results we can say that long tail keywords are useful and needed but you should be able to use them. Different types and length of keywords are necessary metrics to consider while making a keyword list. That is the way to achieve the best result. There is a need to place the selected keyword in the right way, including them to those elements which Google pays attention to. Remember: there are no one-valued things in SEO. Don’t run to an extreme and you will definitely succeed.

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