Using Long Tail Keyword Phrases Will Help Improve Your Site Rankings in the Search Engine Results Page

longtailI know my title is long and ridiculous, but it does help emphasize what long tail is all about. “Long tail” keywords are a string of three or more words that make up a phrase. The concept of long tail is pretty simple: Tap into the large amounts of search traffic using longer keyword phrases. Like traditional (one or two word) short tail keywords, long tail keywords define what is on the web page and what the website wants to be located under in search engines and on SERPs.

Search engine algorithms’ are getting more and more complex. When a website gets crawled by search engines, they are taking into account the keywords and phrases found in the indexable text of the web site. All indexable words on the page factor into which keywords and phrases the page ranks for. Of course, the frequency and placement of consecutive words are the biggest factors into which keywords and phrases rank the best.

Because of this fact, long tail keywords serve a dual purpose. They can refine search terms to a web page, as well as assist a searcher in locating something very specific. For example: if a consumer is looking to purchase “pink furry strawberry slippers” it makes more sense to search on the entire phrase than to put in “furry slippers,” “furry strawberries,” or “strawberry slippers” and attempt to filter through irrelevent search results.

Another big difference between short and long tail keyword phrases are the search results. If you were to search the keyword “counseling” in Google, you will receive 55,200,000 results. Then, if you look up the short tail keyword phrase “counseling jobs” in Google, it returns 10,900,000 results. Finally, if you enter the long tail keyword phrase “drug counseling jobs” in Google, it provides 323,000 results. Although the long tail keyword phrase is searched less than the shorter keyword phrases, there is much less SERP competition.

Using long tail keywords to corner a smaller market has just as much potential, if not more, than using short tail keywords in a larger, more exposed market. Some sites may discover that the long tail isn’t quite as rich in their market, while other sites will do far better by targeting the long tail. Either way, using long tail keywords where you can, will definitely give you the advantage over your competitors.

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8 Comments

  1. Jacob Brown says

    I’ve always agreed that “long tail phrases” were better than short term keywords. I always ask my clients, “what would type if you were searching for your type service?”

    Depending on the market you target, should give you direction for what types of keywords you should use, whether short or long tail.

    I personally think long tail can work for most markets. Who really just types “counseling” when they are really searching for “drug counseling jobs?” Like Greg Bay said, typing the keyword “counseling” in Google, you will receive 55,200,000 results, but typing the long tail keyword phrase “drug counseling jobs” in Google, it provides 323,000 results.

    The objective for keyword optimization is to allow your target audience to be able to find your website as easily as possible. With 55,200,000 results, I think it would be a heck of a lot harder to be found than if you were only going up against 323,000 results.

    I don’t think we should call it “long tail keyword phrase”, but “common sense”.

  2. Jaya says

    HI. very nice read. Take this scenario as an instance: I write an article about drug counseling jobs. I put in the keywords as ‘counseling’ as well as ‘drug counseling jobs’. I want to know whether the keyword counseling would increase the bounce rate of the article or not? And if it does , is it appropriate not to use the keyword counseling, rather make the keywords more precise by adding drug counseling jobs? Would a limited number of keywords get enough traffic to my post?

  3. Stuart Cross says

    Its of course intuitive but took a long time for peopelr to get tp grips with it.

    If someone comes to my website because they have typed “jewellery” into google then the chances are they are just a wet Sunday in January browser. If they use “heart pendant” as a keywords search then they have some idea of what they are looking for and more likely to convert. If they search “puffed heart white gold pendant” then they are seriously trying to find a particular product and even more likely to convert if they see something they like.

  4. Sheldon says

    I wanted to know does long tail keyword terms help improve shorttail keywords?

    Like say in my site dog breeders a hard word to rank for but if I target dog breeders in florida does this help the shorttail?

  5. Spunky Jones says

    After that last Google update my long tail keyword rankings took a hit. They are finally almost back to where they were. Not sure what happened, but it appeared to be something with that last update.

    I usually write my articles for people first and then tweak a little for search engines. I use long tail keywords in many of my blog posts. They don’t deliver tons of traffic, but they do deliver a nice trickle that is steady and targeted.

  6. Reiki Cursus says

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to use ltk’s in articles. Should I focus on just one per article or can I incorporate more.

    Thanks!

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