Siri, What's a Long-Tail Keyword?

By Caroline Moore, October 22, 2014

Thanks to Brooke’s post last week, you all know what keywords are. But you may not know that there are different types of keywords. There’s your typical, broad head terms,’ which are short and comprehensive keywords that rack up tons of varied search results.

And then there’s long-tail keywords, the undervalued and underutilized tool that can make a serious difference in your ROI. So let’s discuss the pros of long-tail keywords, the new secret weapon in your marketing campaign.

But First, What Is It?

long-tail keyword is a more focused and specific keyword phrase. In other words, you’re tailoring your keyword to more precisely reflect what you’re offering and what searchers are looking for. Long-tail keywords bridge the gap between your business and what customers are searching for.

Let's say you’re selling iPhone 6 waterproof cases, so instead of using ‘iPhone case’ as your keyword, you would use the phrase ‘iPhone 6 waterproof case.’ So why do this?

SEO Pros

How do long-tail keywords help with search engine optimization? Long-tail keywords are so specific to what you’re offering, fewer businesses will use the same ones as you. With less competition, your site is way more likely to show up in a good position.

Your website will get less traffic, but it will get more quality traffic. I know what you’re thinking. That sounds kind of contradictory, but allow me to explain.

"Head" terms get more hits than long-tail keywords because of how broad they are. However, the people who search using head terms usually don’t know what they’re in the market for. So if they do happen upon your website, they’re less likely to click through to a sale. They don’t know what they want! They’re just browsing, in that research stage, not very far down in the sales funnel.

But people who search using long-tail keywords know exactly what they’re looking for (your product or service). Their search query is so specific that there’s a much higher chance that your site will be relevant to what they want. So when they get to your site, they’re more likely to convert. They know what they want, and they’re ready to do something about it.

Using long-tail keywords may bring you less traffic, but it will bring you more of the right kind of traffic: people who are looking for what you can offer them, people who will make a purchase. They'll bring in a narrower audience than head terms, but more of your targeted audience.

Long-tail keywords sound pretty sweet so far. Let’s keep going!

PPC Pros

How do long-tail keywords help with pay per click ads?

Everyone wants to use head terms because they get lots of hits. But this means they’re expensive. Lots of people bidding for the same words means the prices get jacked up.

Long-tail keywords are more specific and used less often, which means less people are bidding on them. So they cost less!

Why spend tons of money on head terms that are less likely to convert, when you can spend less money and probably get more sales?

Let’s do the math: saving money + getting quality traffic = WIN.

This also improves your ROI, because you’re spending less money to get more conversions. Using long-tail keywords seems like a no-brainer.

Pros of the Future

The way people search for information is transforming. Instead of searching for broad terms in the way we’ve gotten used to, people are now turning to search engines and their phones as if they're pals to have a conversation with. Instead of just typing ‘iPhone,’ someone may type ‘What is an iPhone?’ (though I’m not sure who’s asking that question nowadays.)

When someone has a question, Google, Bing, Siri, and so on are expected to spit out the answer.

"How do I style my hair like Miley Cyrus?" "Where can I find great chocolate cake?" "What is the best price for a Dr. Seuss book?"

These questions are likely to use long-tail keywords. They’re specific. They’re focused. They refine the search to find exactly what the searcher wants.

This is the future of search. Intent is clear, making it easier to use long-tail keywords to bridge that gap with your product or service.

The Biggest Pro of All

Long-tail keywords produce better, more profitable results! So why not use them? If you couldn’t tell, there really are no cons. But remember, this is the future, so this secret weapon won’t stay secret for long.

Now if you’ll excuse me… "Siri, about that chocolate cake?"

Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore

Caroline Moore a former eZanga Content Marketing Intern. You can often find her singing groovy tunes, Netflix-ing (it’s a verb), or meandering Main Street in search of a great chai latte, preferably iced. Check her out on LinkedIn. More Articles by Caroline Moore