Last Updated: Aug 26, 2020

These days, it’s safe to say that if you don’t have a keyword strategy, then you don’t have a digital business.

And if you haven’t yet made long tail keywords part of your strategy, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the competition and get found by potential customers in search. This is because long tail keywords matter today more than ever. In fact, by some estimates they now account for 70% of all search terms. And as mobile, as well as voice search, are picking up, it’s easier than ever for your potential customers to use long tail keywords in just about every search they do. Which means there will be a lot more targeted traffic heading your way, if only you’re able to create a keyword strategy that will allow you to draw this relevant traffic in.

If you own or operate an e-commerce site, then you probably know that the relationship between your brand and the search engines that direct traffic around the internet is crucial. That’s why both head keywords (main keywords) and long tail keywords matter so much. Each entails a slightly different strategy, which we’ll look into here. But both are now required to ensure that relevant traffic finds its way to your site.

But how can you hit the bullseye when it comes to a keyword strategy? How can you ensure that the keywords you’re using are going to draw in traffic and help you reach your conversion goals?

Let’s take a look now.


The Value of Long Tail Keywords

In many ways, businesses like Walmart are simply too big to compete with. Your major competitors can pound you into the dust on price due to increased buying power.

But the internet is a great equalizer, and it’s made many opportunities for smaller businesses and startups to compete on a similar playing field. Long tail keywords are one of those opportunities for smaller businesses to stand out. So say for example that you’re selling kids or baby products, you may not be able to compete with the big guys for things like “strollers” or even “stroller for toddlers,” but you could still compete for long tail keywords, “best strollers for rugged terrain,” or “how can I find the right stroller for my toddler?”

Long tail keywords describe the set of word search parameters that go beyond the two-word searches of the average head keyword. They are defined not by the number of words, but the rarity of search terms.

Sometimes, these outliers are called ‘real-word phrases’. They’re the kernel of searches that users make naturally, sometimes without knowing what specifically they’re looking for. People don’t usually think in two-word phrases like most keyword search is determined by.

Long tail key phrases often involve three, four, or even five-word searches, and are often question-based. For example, ‘What is the best mattress?’ or ‘Cheap pet groomers in Brooklyn.’

Long tail keywords involve a laser-targeted strategy, not a shotgun approach. You have to focus your long tail search to make it apply to customer preference for search.

Remember, up to 70% of search results are driven by long tail keywords today. That’s because the search engines use long tail keywords to differentiate and rank sites. It’s already the leading approach, and it’s on the rise.

Here’s a look at some of the things that a good long tail keyword strategy can do for you:


(Source: Shutterstock)

Higher Rankings – SEO is crucial for your website’s rankings, influenced by keywords that lead to the ultimate prize: high search volume. But it’s not just about ranking higher, it’s about ranking for the right keywords: something that long-tail is crucial for.

Lower Bounces Rates – Long tail keyword searchers—once they arrive on your site—also tend to stay longer and have a higher interest in multiple page viewing. That reduces your bounce rate—the number of users leaving your site before completing a transaction.

Greater Sales Conversions – Many of these searchers are interested in what you’re selling, as indicated in the keywords they’re using to find you. These visitors who search for something like, “where can I buy a stroller for hiking?” are much lower down in the funnel and closer to the point of conversion than someone who simply types in “strollers.”

The secret to long tail keyword search is that potential customers who visit your site are practically self-converting. Most of these searchers will have a clear interest in what your site offers.


Finding Keywords

Now, let’s look at some tips for finding relevant long tail keywords.

1.  Use Google Suggest
Head over to Google, and punch in some basic keywords in a certain niche. Say you’re selling strollers. This would be “best stroller” “baby stroller” or something similar. These are all basic SEO terms that someone might type into Google.

Tip: Use a private browser or your search results could be impacted by your search history.

Now search on each term by adding long tails to the head terms. These include long tail keyword terms such as ‘in the country,’ ‘in the city,’ ‘for twins,’ ‘for newborns,’ ‘for toddlers,’ ‘for cold places,’ ‘for windy places,’ ‘for hiking, ‘for shopping,’ ‘for durability,’ ‘for immediate delivery,’ or a thousand other potential searches.

Be creative, and remember to record your search terms and compare them over time. Keep them in Airtable, a Google Sheet, or something similar. The results can be a gold-mine for marketing insight.


2.   Use Google Related Search

Another great way to find long-tail suggestions is with Google’s related search feature. Simply type in your search phrase and see what Google suggests at the bottom of the first page.


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3.  Use a Keyword Tool

I’m a big fan of keyword selection tools, and there are some great tools out there like WordStream, Keyword Tool, or Longtail Pro.

Let’s take WordStream, for example:

First, you need to list your business sector, industry, and products and record them in Airtable or your spreadsheet.

These are formal category definitions used by the market. For example, your sector may be technology, your industry mobile phones, and your products a full range of low-cost handheld mobile devices that you can list. At least the main products, anyway.

These categories provide the keywords for your business, rather than the keywords for online search. The search engines will look for them as a basic structure with which to classify your site and to rank it. Therefore, it’s best to make sure you include the formal market definitions in your site text and make sure they’re prominently displayed.

Now you start with your keyword search—standard and longtail. Describe every keyword for each part of your business, including the two-word search names for each product, and enter them into the platform search bar.

It’s extremely useful to record these searches in your research spreadsheet. As you build your capability over months and years, this research will become your brain—that other people on your team can refer to, to evaluate trends and to make strategic estimates about how the search market evolves.

WordStream will also send you your searches by email, so you can just generate every kind of keyword and get a list sent right to you. Then, just copy and paste these into your spreadsheet, minimizing time and effort.

So, over time, ‘low-cost mobile’ search may be replaced with ‘good-value mobile’, or displaced by ‘latest-release mobile’, or ‘5G mobile,’ or searches using name brands. It’s important to track these trends and adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.

You’re discovering what your customers are searching for and applying this data to your business search performance—efficiently and fast—and this data is driven by marketing and flows of information you don’t control.


4.  Turn Questions Into Content

Taking a look at your analytics dashboard will show you which phrases visitors are using to find your site. This can be a great way to find long tail queries that are sending traffic your way. Some of these keywords may represent questions that your visitors are asking, that haven’t yet been answered in the form of content on your website. This is a great opportunity to turn those queries into articles, and those articles into opportunities to warm prospects, helping to give them the information that they need to go through with their purchases. So using our stroller example, a search of “what’s the best stroller for the winter,” could easily be turned into an informative write-up, while a search of “what’s the best stroller for 2020” is an opportunity to do a round-up post. Be creative, and try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes when trying to figure out what it is they want.

5.  Search Forums

Forums, like Reddit, are another good place to look for long tail keyword ideas. Try to find threads where people are asking questions that are generating plenty of good discussions to gauge how popular certain queries are and find questions to use as long tail keywords that you can answer in your website content.

Another valuable tool for any SEO strategy is Answer the Public, where you can see what questions are being asked, giving you plenty of good ideas for targeted content. AlsoAsked is another great site for keyword research. It’s in the Alpha stages, but it’s another fast and easy way to see what’s being searched, and find alternative keywords that may be relevant to your audience.


6.   Check on the Competition

Finally, see what your competitors are up to. Type in your long tail, and even head keywords into Google and take note of who’s ranking on the first page. Check out their site, and look for other, similar keywords on their page. Which keywords are they targeting? Or use a program like SurferSEO to gather insider intel on the competition. Type in the keywords you’re hoping to rank for into their Content Editor, and they’ll give you a list of competitors and more suggested keywords that you can tap into to compete with them.

See EXACTLY how I find keywords to target. This is my process!


The fact is, long tail keywords give you tools to compete against bigger players. By inserting long tail search terms on your website, you can capture those visitors who are not just mildly interested but looking to buy.

You can look at each part of your business, sector, industry, and product range and begin to generate long tail searches, which you then record in your database or spreadsheet.

Ideally, each search should be multiplied by the ‘real-world’ search options that online customers and users employ to find a product or service. Just keep using your WordStream platform (or platform of your choice) to add further inquiries.

Imagine every conceivable question that a potential customer might ask about your products and try to reduce it to as few words as possible—preferably under six but sometimes longer—and start to generate longtail keyword searches.

You need to record these again for the same reasons, but this is the rich stuff. If you can find searches that fall outside the standard 15-20 percent of ‘head keyword’ searches, there is a lot of traffic ready for redirection to your site.

In today’s race for online customers, it’s becoming more and more about recognizing trending search terms first, while the competition is slim. Just one critical search term might add a whole fleet of traffic if you can find it before the competition.

That’s what makes this strategy more focused and targeted. You aren’t cramming your site with as many common search terms as possible. You’re seeking out the most specific, trending terms that will bring customers straight to you. You have to be more dutiful and diligent—that means undertaking long tail research as often as you can—because the next keyword phrase that you add to your site might connect hundreds of new warm prospects with your website.


Are you ready to scale your e-commerce business? Reach out today for your FREE consultation. Let’s create a strategy that’ll help you to reach your big-picture marketing goals and drive your business to success. 


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