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How-To: Find and Use Long-tail Keywords

Optimizing Your Search Learn how to optimize your keyword research and use long-tail keywords for better SEO.

Keyword research, the foundation for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is an integral part in delivering quality content to relevant consumers. Today, getting organic content to reach a target audience can seem near impossible when competing against hundreds of similar businesses. You may have already tried using keywords in the past with little to results. Without the right keywords, all of your time and effort dedicated towards creating quality content can easily go to waste. So how do you figure out what keywords to use? Finding keywords is more than just searching for an individual product you carry or a type of service you provide. You need to tune your thinking to the mind of your consumers. What is the process they go through to search for businesses like yours? What problems are they trying to solve? If they are looking to install a fence in their yard, you can expect them to search for something like, “types of wooden fences.” This phrase itself is a long-tail keyword and can be used to tailor content around for ranking higher in search results. Follow this guide and you’ll learn how to discover long-tail keywords to help promote your content to prospective customers: 

Keywords and SEO

The relationship between keywords and SEO has changed drastically over the past decade and continues to change rapidly. Antiquated methods of stuffing content and web pages with keywords no longer produces the results it once had. Search engines have become smarter and now use semantics to gather search results with greater relevancy. When entering a Google search for eating healthy, articles with relevant words caloriesdiet, and lose weight, are given greater authority and rank higher in search results. This change has made it crucial to create genuine content in order to reach the appropriate consumers.

Keywords and Long-tail Keywords

A keyword, by standard definition, is a concept of great significance. In relevance to SEO, keywords represent the overall context of the page. Google looks to these keywords as one signifier of a webpage’s authority, so it’s important to create the context of your website and its content around the right keywords. When creating content, think of your keywords as the overall topic to guide your writing. Considering this, you need to put yourself in the mind of your target audience and think about what exactly they’re searching for. That said, keywords by themselves are less specific and become extremely competitive when trying to rank high on search engines.

This is where long-tail keywords come in. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are very specific. If you are a fence installation company, you probably won’t rank high when someone searches for the keyword fence; but if your company specializes in CedarTech fence installation in New Jersey, you have a good chance at ranking high for searches like NJ CedarTech fencing, install fencing New Jersey, or CedarTech installation.

Why Use Long-tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are valuable for reaching the first page in organic search results and deciding on what keywords to use when creating Adwords campaigns. Finding the right long-tail keywords to use can help businesses reach customers who are searching for a solution. Typically, consumers are using long-tail keywords in their searches when they are late in the buying cycle. The businesses who are savvy enough to create content that is most relevant to these long-tail keywords are more likely to reach the top of search results, ultimately having the best chance at making a sale.

How to Find Quality Keywords

There is no clear-cut answer to what the best long-tail keyword is for your business. What you need to consider is the process your target audience will go through when searching for a solution. Before you start your search you need to consider, what services, products, and solutions you provide as a business and the problems that they solve. This will give you a general idea of what keywords people start with to search for businesses like yours. Now you have to find long-tail keywords that will help you rank high in organic searches. Here are a few methods in finding quality long-tail keywords:

  1. Google Adwords Keyword Planner Use the AdWords Keyword planner to find long-tail keywords.

Google’s Keyword Planner is a free tool that provides you with insights on keywords relative to your business and their performance in Google’s search engine. If you’re having trouble coming up with long-tail keywords yourself, this tool can help get you started. Use the following tips to create a starting list of keywords:

  • If you’re not sure what keywords are good to start with, use the Search for new keywords option. Fill in all of the entry fields with your company’s information. Under Keyword filters select medium and low competition; these keywords will be easier to rank for organically. If you plan on running ads, you can search for high competition keywords, but they will also be more expensive. Once you complete the form, click Get ideas.          Search for new keywords or use your current long-tail keyword list.
  • Now Google has provided you with Ad group ideas which contain sets of keywords relevant to the search form you filled in. You’re going to want to go after low competition words with the highest monthly searches. Note that since I targeted a specific state, my average monthly searches may seem low, but this the target audience that is most likely going to pay for my service. Sort the result by average monthly searches and try clicking into some of the ad groups.        Look through ad groups or at specific keywords to see the competition.
  • From the Ad groups list, I chose to look into Fence Cost because of its relatively high monthly search volume and low competition. Now it gives you a list of long-tail keywords and their values. It looks like cost to install fence could be a good long-tail keyword for my company. It is important to remember during this entire process to focus on words that are relevant and true to what your company provides. A keyword suggestion like commercial fence installation wouldn’t be relevant to me if my company only installs fences for private homes. Try and gather as many relative keywords to your company to focus your content around. Optimize your long tail keyword search with specific search terms.
  • If you already have a list of long-tail keywords you can use the Get search volume option to check their quality.
  1. Google Search Suggestions

Google's Search Suggestions feature can give you ideas for keywords.

An easy way of finding some long-tail keyword ideas is one that is often overlooked. Try using Google’s predictive search suggestions to help guide your keyword research. These suggestions typically provide synonyms for keyword phrases that are often used by other searchers. All of these long-tail keywords look like they could be worth looking into because they relate to my fence company. Take your long-tail keyword suggestions and enter them into Google’s Keyword Planner to get a better idea of their quality and search volume.

  1. Google Related Searches Google Related Searches provides relative longtail keywords.

Google also provides a related search section at the bottom of their search page. I would definitely want to stay away from mr fence and home depot fence because they have no relevance to my company. Also, it wouldn't be worth me using chain link fence if my company doesn’t sell them. Remember to only go after the keywords that are the most genuine to what your company provides. Again, if you decide to use any of these keywords, double check their quality in the keyword planner.

  1. WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool 

WordStream is a free keyword tool and is an alternative search source.

Outside of Google you can find many other keyword search tools. With so many people using Google to find keywords, it can be helpful to use other sources outside of Google to get different suggestions. WordStream is one example. Try entering in some of your keywords here to find other suggestions. We still recommend checking the quality of these words using Google’s Keyword Planner since WordStream’s free tool doesn’t display the keyword’s search volumes and competition.

  1. Quora Question-and-Answer Website

Use Quora for SEO and long tail keyword research.

Quora can be a great tool for helping you get in the mind of your potential customers. Users come here to ask questions and that's exactly what they’re doing when searching on Google. Right off the bat I was given the two great suggestion of pool fence installation and fence repair services. You can use these keyword suggestions as-is or feel free to tailor them to suit your company’s services appropriately. As always, check the quality of these keywords to make sure you have a chance of ranking high in searches.

Start Using Your Keywords

Using the methods shown, you should now be able to create a quality list of keywords in which you can rank high for. Keep in mind, SEO rules are constantly changing and Google search results no longer have a one-to-one correlation with a web page’s keyword frequency and a user's search entry. Using keywords in page titles, header tags, and meta descriptions is still an important factor for SEO, but it’s essential to use your keywords in a natural way while creating content that is genuine to your products and services.

 

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Topics: Marketing, How to

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