Getting your page listed at the top of any search engine result page is like standing on a three-tiered podium after a major competition; sure, second and third place still gets you recognition, but you want the gold. Aside from paying for ads, there are a few tweaks that you can make to the content of your site in order to get your page listed higher in search engines and for implementing a truly successful inbound marketing strategy, but the most successful tactic to use for your website is utilizing long tail keywords within your website and inbound marketing content.

Keywords that are only one to two words long are known as head terms, and don’t exactly do your website any favors. These keywords are highly competitive and often result in a lower ROI (more on that later). For example, if you operate a furniture store, it is much more difficult to rank in search engines for a phrase like “living room furniture” because there are hundreds of other companies and big-box stores that are competing to rank for that same phrase. Whereas, you could target something more along the lines of “reclaimed wood living room furniture”. These types of long tail keywords are phrases of five to six words that are more specific to a product or service that you offer and present a better opportunity to show up in search engine rankings to those that are your most qualified buyers.

As another example, let’s pretend that you’re a shoe manufacturer that is working on specifically targeting women who want to get in shape. Instead of selecting a head term such as generic as “shoes”, “fitness shoes”, or “women’s fitness shoes”, a long tail keyword that would most likely result in more conversions could be something like “women’s shoes for toning”.

Discover some of the key reasons why long tail keywords are important to your inbound marketing strategy and best at drawing your target audience, plus how to implement them within your website and content.

Comparing the Buyer’s Journey & Keywords

example of buyer journey

When someone is looking for something, whether it is a product, service, or just an answer, they go through what is called the buyer’s journey. There are three stages in the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision, and they play an essential role in the inbound marketing methodology. When someone is in the awareness Stage, they are at the beginning of their research and discovery process when they are looking for a basic understanding of the pain they are experiencing and/or category product or service they are in need of. Once they identify what they’re pain or problem is, they start to research possible solutions in the Consideration Stage. And finally, they make their way into the Decision Stage when they have identified similar vendors or products that provide that exact solution they need and weighing which would be the best fit for them.

How Long Tail Keywords Work in the Buyer’s Journey

Often times, people will use head terms or just broad questions or topics for research during the awareness stage because they do not have a deep enough understanding of what might be a solution or answer to their problem. For example, if someone discovered that their pet was scratching and itching a lot, they might search online to find out reasons “why my dog is itching constantly” (Awareness Phase).

Then they might come across an article that mentions some possible causes of the dog’s itchiness including fleas, and as a result, that person might check their dog to discover that they do indeed have fleas. Then they head back to the internet to find out “ways to remove fleas from dog” (Consideration Phase) and come across your article or web page that has detailed information on flea removal, including your business’ best flea medicine.

In terms of your company, it is much easier to rank for and drive qualified traffic to your website by targeting phrases like “ways to remove fleas from dogs” or “best flea medicines for dogs”, than it is to target simply “flea removal”. When people search for these types of head terms, there are a lot more companies that provide similar solutions, competing for the same audience, and the person searching may be looking for a variety of things related to fleas and flea removal (not just medicines). In this case, they could be looking for natural flea removal techniques, what fleas look like or how their pet got the fleas. But when a user searches “best flea medicines for dogs,” it is clear that they are specifically looking for a solution to this problem that your company offers.

Focus on Niche Keyword Phrases

Although the keyword “best flea medicines for dogs” will have less monthly searches than “fleas”, it’s very likely that there will be more qualified traffic coming your way, which means higher chances of converting leads and customers. Capturing a niche audience means that you have identified a specific need that the user has, and you have an answer to their problem. Using long tail keywords when targeting a niche audience will most likely result in higher-converting visitors, a lower bounce rate and better on-page metrics.

Long Tail Keywords in Advertising

Along with having lower competition, long tail keywords require a lower cost-per-click for paid advertising. Because a lot more people search for “fleas,” the bid will be higher on that keyword in order to gain a better spot in the paid advertising ranks. However, because there is less competition for “best flea medicines for dogs,” you won’t have to bid as much for the keyword. In a nutshell:

less competition → lower cost

less but more qualified traffic → more conversions

woman holding a mobile phone and cup of coffee

How Mobile Searches Influence Keywords

The recent Google algorithm change that basically required all websites to be responsive (easily accessed and user-friendly on mobile devices) brought many changes in the world of SEO, but also created the realization that mobile device usage is a large target audience for any web page. Although the increase in mobile phone usage most directly affects pageviews and minor fixes to site links, it has also affected the way users search for things.

Instead of taking the time to type out a search query, users now have the option to press a button and simply talk to their phones, creating a more natural language for search queries; as if they were asking a friend. If in a crunch for time, someone can now just open Google Now and ask, “What’s a good Mediterranean recipe to make?” or “What’s the average price for a flight from New York to Paris?” Again, that’s where having a content strategy around long tail keywords is important to capitalize on and draw the right traffic to your website.

In essence, long tail keywords allow you to target a specific audience (your ideal customers) in a much less competitive arena, saving you time, money and time guessing.

What has been your experience using long tail keywords for your website or do you have additional questions on how to do this for your business? Let us know