When was the last time you searched online using a single word for your search? “Shoes?”
The sheer number of possible results for a single word, in most cases, makes such a search useless, both for the searcher and for the marketer trying to rank for a common term.
Most searchers are looking for something more specific, which narrows down their search to the most relevant results. For marketers and SEO types, these more specific searches also mean an opportunity to rank higher, if they get their keywords right. That is where long tail keywords come in. Long tail keywords are the three or four word phrases that are very specific to what a company is selling.
Here’s a quick example of how different the search results can be in going from a single common search term to a specific long tail keyword.
Watch how the number of results drops as we become more specific with this search:
I know 161,000 results are still a lot to compete with, but doesn’t that sound better than 343 million?
In addition to increasing your chances of ranking high for the term, using long tail keywords will likely attract higher-quality prospects, because they are looking for exactly what you have to offer. They are also typically closer to the stage of being ready to buy.
So where can you incorporate these long tail keywords to optimize your inbound marketing? Let’s look at four key areas:
If you are using a blog to attract visitors to your website, your blog is an obvious place to start. As you use analytics to identify keywords that you want to target, build blog posts around specific long tail keywords.
In our example above, you might want to write posts with images of stamped concrete patios you have created in the Chicago area, how to choose a vendor to create a patio for you and what typical costs are in the Chicago area, or a description of how stamped concrete patios are built.
Content offers and landing pages
If you know that a certain long tail keyword has strong potential to attract your target customer base, consider creating downloadable content offers around that theme. Then be sure that your headings, images and other features on the associated landing page use that long tail keyword combination.
As a part of his inbound marketing, our patio builder might want to create a checklist for a year of maintenance for a stamped concrete patio in Chicago or a calculator for estimating the cost.
Internal website pages
If your internal website pages include product or service descriptions, use those pages to highlight specific long tail keywords. While your wording may not precisely duplicate the keyword phrase, it should be similar enough to capture the search engine’s attention. Using an SEO planning template like this to plan out targeted keywords or phrases for each page of your website can help you organize SEO efforts for the best possible results.
Assuming our concrete company likely does more than stamped concrete patios, the company website could include pages for stamped concrete patios, exposed aggregate patios, plain concrete patios, driveways and sidewalks.
Meta descriptions and microdata
Technically, meta descriptions and microdata aren’t separate from blog posts, landing pages and informational pages, but they are a part of each of those pages that is easy to overlook. These behind-the-scenes bits of information are key to how search engines read and display your page, so it’s worthwhile to take the time to include long tail keywords in your coding.
Of course, keywords aren’t the only factors in determining search engine rankings, but taking the time to choose both shorter and longer keywords and phrases can help you capture the leads you are looking for. Learn how to determine just what the return is on your time spent optimizing for keywords along with the ROI of other marketing efforts with our ebook: Unlock the ROI of Your Marketing with Analytics.