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How to choose the best long-tail keywords

Difficulty: Intermediate

If you’re new to SEO, it can often be difficult to know exactly what keywords you should be using to help to get your website to rank.

However, it doesn’t have to be something you should just disregard because it’s too confusing and overwhelming.
Before you discover how to choose the best keywords, it helps to know why it matters in the first place. Understanding this will help you to avoid disregarding the importance of keywords as part of your SEO strategy.

Why keywords are important

Keywords won’t just help your website improve its rankings on search engines.

There are numerous other benefits you might not be aware of. These include:

  • Being able to use keywords in your title, meta descriptions and alt tags
  • You will know what secondary phrases to use throughout your content
  • You will have a deeper understanding of your audience, as you will know the keywords they use to search for your business.

So what are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are very specific phrases, and as such they don’t get searched as frequently.

These are generally phrases which are at least three words long, although this doesn’t always have to be the case.
Long-tail keywords are useful to use as they are dramatically easier to rank for than general keywords. This is because there will be far more competition for general keywords than for long-tail keywords. If you’ve got a new website and you’re trying to get it to rank on Google’s first page, you’ve got a better chance if you use long-tail keywords.

Why they’re good for conversions

Long-tail keywords are great ways to help boost both traffic and conversions.

So what are the benefits, and why are they good for conversions?

  • Cheaper than advertising: if you don’t want to undertake an SEO strategy, your other option is to consider advertising. Your best options are through Google Ads or paid advertising through social media. However, this can often be very costly, as you are paying per click for what is often very competitive keywords. However, the cheaper keywords often have a lower search volume.
  • Easier to rank: as mentioned above, because the long-tail keywords are less competitive, it is easier to rank in search engines.
  • Customer journey: people who are searching long-tail keywords are further along in the customer journey. Rather than just discovering their need for a particular product or service, they are often finished undertaking research, and are ready to purchase a product. Therefore, you want people who are looking for something more specific, and who is using long-tail keywords.

How to choose the best long-tail keywords

Once you know what long-tail keywords are and why they are so important, the next thing you need to know is how to choose the best ones.

So how do you know you’ve picked the best long-tail keywords?

1. Keyword research

The first thing you should do is undertake keyword research. There are a bunch of tools you can use for this, however, one of the best is Google Keyword Planner. Have a brainstorming session and come up with phrases you think your target audience will be searching to find your website. You can then put these keywords into the “word or phrase” box. You can even make this search more precise and defined by adding categories or locations.

Google Keyword Planner will generate a list of keywords that are appropriate to be used for your website. The tool will also tell you how much competition each keyword will have on Google Ads. Not planning on running an Google Ads campaign? That’s not a problem - you can still use this tool. By looking at how much competition each keyword has, you’ll be able to get an idea of how hard it will be to rank organically for that particular phrase.

2. Expand your keyword list

Once you’ve completed your original keyword list, it doesn’t mean you always have to stick to this list. In fact, it’s a good idea to look at places other than automated keyword generators.

One of the best places to look is at Google’s autocomplete feature. When you type a phrase into Google’s search bar, it will start to autocomplete it, and come up with a list of other options. This will give you an idea of other phrases that people are searching for that you may not have thought of previously. You can also look at the related search terms, which appear at the bottom of Google’s search results.

3. Don’t just look at numbers

When you’re looking at how competitive and searched certain keywords are, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers. After all, you’re going to want to use the keywords that are searched the most. You want to try and aim to get ranking on page one for a term that is searched less, rather than being on a low page for a term that is searched frequently.

4. Use long-tail keywords correctly

It’s important to make sure the phrases you use are specific to your content, rather than just the phrases that are popular and commonly searched for. There’s no point finding a great phrase if it’s unnatural and can’t be written into content. This will hinder your SEO progress, rather than help improve your ranking.

Consider where you can use your long-tail keywords. They don’t just have to be used within the body of your content. You can include them in other places too, such as the page title, headings, and subheadings. Be aware of where you use your long-tail keywords - it’s best to include them toward the start of your content.

Following these steps will allow you to know you are choosing the best possible keywords, and will have a campaign with the best ROI.


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