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Why Your Business Should Focus on Long Tail Keywords


When business owners think of SEO, they most likely think of ranking #1 for the most obvious search terms in their area. And while those are arguably the most high-value single targets for your SEO efforts, these terms, such as "[SERVICE] in [CITY]," are also the most competitive.

Because of this, businesses should explore options for long tail keywords when doing keyword research for SEO campaigns.

Long tail keywords, on top of being easier targets, have a lot of unique advantages over their short tail brethren that can open up a lot of doors for businesses looking to increase conversions.

So the next time you're thinking about the importance of specific keywords in the grand scheme of your overall SEO strategy, keep the following points in mind!


Short-Tail Searchers Are Often at the Very Beginning of the Buying Process

I was recently in the market for a used car here in New Hampshire. The first thing I did was search for "used cars NH." That's a great example of a short tail keyword that many car buyers here in New Hampshire will use when looking to research used cars online.

Now, for used car dealers, that term drives a lot of traffic if you're able to get the #1 position. The problem is, there's no telling where that buyer is in the car buying process. But because the search did not include "dealership," "dealers," or anything specific, such as a city in New Hampshire, it's really tough to understand the bigger picture behind my search.

Long Tail Searchers Are Ready to Convert

After doing all of my research at the beginning of my buying process, I knew exactly what I wanted. Like most car buyers, that changed 20 times throughout my research, but I've made up my mind now and I contact the dealership that shows up for my specific, long tail search.

This is the main reason why it's so crucial to target long tail keywords. You want to attract customers who are intent on buying NOW!

Now, for products like iPhone cases, or any small purchase, the value in ranking for short tail keywords is much higher than for larger purchases. (People will often do a search, pick one that looks nice, buy it, and be done with it in less than 15 minutes.)

Optimizing for longtail keywords also pays dividends the same way short tail keywords do, as people search in many different ways, you'll often receive many more visits for questions, misspellings, and other related variations.

Focusing on Long Tail Keywords Can Inadvertently Help Short Tail Rankings

Google understands the relationships between different searches, and by becoming an authoritative site on 10 ultra-specific topics related to your business, you can easily boost your rankings for the most high-value short tail keywords as well.

This way of thinking about rankings not only ensures you achieve more success with your SEO efforts, it also means you don't fall into the shortcut pitfalls of thin content and paid links. Many businesses, or their SEO companies, turn to these risky practices after having trouble ranking for the most competitive keywords in a particular industry.

By taking a deeper look at the opportunities long tail keywords can open up for your business, you could discover you're sitting on a goldmine of conversion opportunities!



Originally published to on November 24, 2014. 

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