What is Long-Tail Search and Why Is It Important?

Sinoun Chea

Long-tail search are target keyword phrases that consist of at least three words. For example, “shoes” or “running shoes” would be considered a short-tail search keyword, whereas “blue nike running shoes” would be considered a long-tail search keyword. So in other words, long-tail is specific, short-tail is generic.

If you truly understand SEO, you should naturally practice what is good for the USER, not necessarily what’s good for the search engine. I’m a strong believer that you will be successful in your overall SEO if this is how you roll. You will also naturally succeed in having relevant long-tail keywords in your site.

Long-tail keyword phrases are used to define what is on a website, which equals targeted traffic, less competition, and better conversion. Below I explain the importance of incorporating long tail keywords in your marketing strategy.

Targeted Traffic

In the past, searching for generic keywords would deliver quality pages to an Internet searcher. However, with online competition growing each day, users have adapted their searching habits and naturally search long term search keywords.

I watch my 9 and half year old sister do searches on Google and she is a pro at finding what she needs! She keeps it specific because she knows she’ll find what she’s looking for. She finds what she’s looking for by combining many short-tail keywords, which is essentially what long-tail keywords are. So keep in mind that focusing on long-tail keywords won’t let you miss your generic keywords!

According to SmallBizTrends.com, over 70% of all Internet search inquiries are for long tail keyword phrases. People naturally search long-tail keywords because they know exactly what they are looking for, and don’t want to waste their time searching through results that possibly won’t apply to them. Think about it, how often do you search using one or two words?

The graph below should give you a visual idea of competition pattern for long-tail.

Less Competition

Using long tail keywords also means you will have less competition. The longer the keywords, the less likely other sites would match that exact keyword. Let’s take a look at an example. I did a search on Google to find the following results:

shoes = 68,000,000 results
women’s shoes = 1,000,000 results
nike women’s running shoes = 22,000 results
blue nike women’s running shoes = 590 results

Notice how the number of results go down with more specific keywords. With less competition of other sites matching a keyword, you’re not only getting more targeted traffic, but more likely to convert better as well. Quality over quantity is always a winning strategy.

Better Conversion

As mentioned before, when you use long tail keywords, you are going to acquire visitors who are looking for very specific products or services on your site. When visitors are able to find this information very quickly, it increases you site’s conversion rate, which means more visitors will be turned into customers. When long-tail bring in visitors who convert better, you can ensure a better ROI (Return on Investment) rate.

Long-tail = Better user experience = Better conversions

Failure to Use Long Tail Keywords May Leave You Behind Your Competition

Since long tail keywords are quickly becoming the norm, a failure to use this type of marketing may cause you to lose ground to your competitors, especially if your competitors begin to use long tail keywords before you do. Don’t let this happen to you, for the strongest Internet presence, target long tail keywords that are important to your site, and begin to use them as soon as possible.

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Sinoun Chea

I help small businesses Do Better Online™. When businesses thrive, people also thrive. #morethanjustbusiness

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