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Video 5.0 Long Tail Keywords and Intent Based Search (Time: 8.07)
In case you haven’t heard yet, long tail keywords matter: a lot.
Long-tail keywords are longer, and therefore usually much more specific keyword phrases that visitors use in search. Generally speaking, searchers who use these keywords are often more likely to be closer to a point-of-purchase; making them especially valuable keywords for you to target, if you know what you’re looking for.
Over the last few years, Google has shifted its method of keyword priority for top-ranking pages and search queries. Whereas for years it was mostly centered strictly on keywords and phrases, Google now aims to look more at intent-based search.
Google has shifted towards question-based search, which means that their search algorithm is looking more widely for related search terms, not verbatim core keywords.
Remember, keywords determine the success of your search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, so in the world of online marketing they are a universal currency.
Long tail keywords refers to a graph that shows a high incidence of an event at the start and a trail-off in a ‘long tail’ of low incidence. In Google search results, main keyword search terms account for about 10 to 15 percent of all searches and long tail keywords account for the rest.
Today, the long tail search business is far more valuable to Google and its advertisers who pay for search marketing. These advertisers bid on long tail keywords and the cost per click, and because there is less competition, the cost per click is lower.
To immediately discover some long tail research terms, there are a number of free tools that are available such as LongTailPro, WordStream, or Keyword Tool Pro. Just put your first search term into their search bar and see what you get.
The most basic example of long tail keywords is the ‘Searches related to’ section at the bottom of a Google search results page. This can be a great place to begin your long tail research. And remember to put your newly discovered terms into your database for future testing and reference. These long tail keywords are arguably more valuable than any of your previous existing SEO research.
Intent-based search simply means that online users don’t merely search on the exact term or two-word phrase that defines early or preliminary search. So they may start their search, as with our case example, with the phrase ‘baby stroller’. But over time they’ll tend to use a whole set of more specific searches like ‘best baby strollers with car seat’, ‘best stroller for baby and toddler’, or ‘best baby strollers 2020’. These are examples of long tail keywords.
Then there are even more specific search terms that are question-based. Examples of this might include ‘do I need a stroller for a newborn’, ‘can a 4-month old sit in a stroller’, or ‘what’s the best baby stroller on the market’. These are question-based keywords.
This is also called natural language search and it’s now the focus of a huge amount of search engine optimization, especially after Google’s announcement this year regarding changes to their entire search strategy.
According to research, highly specific multi-word phrases are easier for search engines to rank than the simple keywords that begin many searches because they add alternatives to the singular focus of a few high-ranking words that everyone uses.
The key point in long tail research is that with the billions of searches that happen online, a small minority of key or ‘head terms’ direct users straight to the massive sites that can afford to pay for this traffic—top-ranking pages like Yahoo.com which you simply can’t afford to compete with.
So, you play smart and realize that probably 80 percent of the searches for any product market are not defined by one or two keywords, and use this knowledge to your competitive advantage. Basic, catch-all keywords to build top-ranking pages and search queries are great when used correctly, but searching wider and looking for trends in search terms will separate you from the competition.
One key insight is that Google likes sites with more pages because they’ve found that bigger sites are more substantial. This means that by adding more pages, more keywords can be used and your pages can each carry less content per page, giving you faster load times. All of these factors affect your ranking.
So if 100 searches take place and 20 of them go directly to major sites, that still leaves 80 visitors that are up for grabs. These are yours to compete for.
The argument made by SEO specialists is that shorter head keywords create too much competition for organic page rankings that are too concentrated on a few terms and a few sites. And this competition for search actually reduces the completion rates for sales. Why compete against hundreds of sites when you could compete against a dozen?
This is important because essentially the long tail searches that people undertake appear more likely to deliver sales. So by incorporating your long tail keyword research into your website copy and advertising, you create higher conversion rates.
It’s proven that creating content and copywriting for SEO and PPC using long tail keywords aids users by directly answering their defined queries. In fact, some SEO experts have found success finding long tail keywords directly from questions asked in comment sections and online forums.
This also grants you a great source of structure for creating content. If one of your long tail keywords is ‘Do I need a stroller for a newborn infant?’ you can make this one of the headings in a piece of content. Not only are you pulling in people who searched this keyword phrase, but you’re also answering the exact question they’re asking.
Long tail keywords are valuable for businesses that want their content to rank in organic Google search queries or any other search engine. They’re potentially even more valuable for advertisers running paid search marketing campaigns.
By targeting longer, more specific long tail keywords in all your campaigns, you can get higher ad rankings on relevant searches without having to pay a premium for every click.
You can also try using keyword generators like keywordtool.io or Soovle to give you an edge when conducting keyword research. Or simply go to a variety of other top-ranking pages or online forums like Quora and look for their long tail search terms or auto-suggestions to add potential keywords to your database.
Keyword Research Method
Long tail keywords follow the trend of people searching specific questions and not just two or three-word phrases. Sticking with our ‘baby-stroller’ example, let’s do a little long tail keyword research.
We’re looking to find the questions being asked around those keywords. This keyword research can be used for SEO, web copy, and content creation. We will be inserting our data into a database like the Airtable templates we’ve discussed in previous training videos.
This database is your resource for future content creation in-house, or when passed over to writers who populate the website and produce copy. This should be treated as a key marketing resource.
I recommend that you set up two different tabs in your spreadsheet:
1. An SEO and content research template
2. A business template which covers search terms with a market focus
It’s easiest to fill in both tabs at the same time, as these long tail keywords apply to either database. You can then add to these tabs frequently over time.
You can also add another column into your spreadsheet data table identifying each query you undertake. It’s as easy as copying and pasting directly from your browser into your spreadsheet.
Answer the Public
Answer the Public identifies online search through its own algorithm for long tail keywords. It allows you to monitor trends and compare searches, as well as keep records of your research. This research tool takes some of the risk out of guesswork and feeds your marketing with new terms.
They offer a free trial for you to test their platform. Then it’s a monthly $99 subscription or annual billing of $948 upfront.
It’s also a very simple and straightforward plug-in for chrome and other browsers.
When you put in a search term, the plug-in automatically gives you alternative search terms and recommendations related to the original search query.
It displays your search terms as a very clear visualization or just as straight data in a table format. Either way, this allows you to expand your keyword search from these original terms.
Scroll down, adding terms to your database. You can also download into CS view, which is awesome.
You can save the images, as well.
As you scroll down further, the program gives you an ‘alphabetical search’ of all keywords it recommends. This should reveal some really good alternative search terms for you to look through.
Then you can review each term for traffic volumes, number of searches, and look at your targeting of particular searches. Naturally, all of this data should be added to your spreadsheet.
Also Asked takes your keyword terms and compares these to what other people are searching for. This platform offers a deeper level of search, although it’s still in its alpha phase. However, this means there are no costs, so you can look at this as a free research tool for now.
Also Asked shows “People Also Asked” searches, while Answer the Public shows “combinations of auto-complete” searches. So they aren’t quite the same but serve the same purpose.
Using our current ‘baby-stroller’ example, Also Asked offers long tail keywords such as ‘do you really need a stroller for a newborn?’ or ‘can a four-month-old sit in a stroller?’
These are keyword phrases directly asked by people in keyword searches. They are the tools with which to create your new site content and marketing support material. When added to your spreadsheet they can also be used for research into consumer behavior over time, allowing you to see how search changes through recording keywords.
These question-based searches can also be added to your FAQ pages and sales copy. For example, if a common question is ‘Do I need a stroller for a newborn?’ then you should add such a search query to your SEO content data table. Once passed on to a writer, they have this information to build content around as well as SEO.
This way, your content writers know what issues you‘re targeting and can incorporate these in when creating content and advertising copy.
Long tail keywords are particularly valuable in longer articles and long copy for use as sub-headings based on actual queries. So, even when somebody searches on the internet using that query, your long-form articles will load in their search results.
Long tail keyword marketing is all about keyword research over time to understand your potential customers and those who purchase your products and services.
If you’re going to use keywords as a critical tool for your marketing (and you should be), then you need to commit to a regular research practice that identifies both ‘head-terms’ and the ‘long tail terms’ that can make a substantial difference for your business.
This research is simple, but it requires effort. You need to build regular lists as often as possible, keep them in your research files, and have a bank of tools that give you a way of checking long tail keyword performance frequently.
Keywords should serve your website copy and your advertising, both of which need accurate and contemporary, up-to-the-minute search terms.
If you’d like help executing any of the strategies in this guide, please reach out today. I’m standing by, ready to help you scale your business.