Everything you need to know about long-tail keywords
In the daily routine of an SEO agency, you quickly become a long-tail keyword tamer. Here you can learn what long-tail keywords are, why your company needs them and where you can find them.
What are long tail keywords
Keywords are search terms or search phrases, such as those entered on Google. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are search queries that are searched for only rarely. Why they are called that becomes clear when you plot keywords and how often they are searched for (search volume) on a graph. Here, a steep downward curve is created. On the left, there are few keywords that have a large search volume and on the right, there are many keywords that have little search volume. This is how the graph draws a long tail behind it
A long-tail keyword definition would be because of this:
Longtail keywords are keywords that are very specific. Therefore, they have a low search volume and are less competitive.
Examples of long tail keywords
The best way to understand this graph and long-tail keywords is with a few examples.
Longtail Keyword Example 1: CLOTHES make people
Let's say you want to sell dresses online. The keywords for the topic "dresses" behave as shown in the graphic above. 90,000 people search for dresses on Google per month in Germany. On the graph, this would put it on the far left, making it Short Tail Keyword. "Birthday dresses" is already much less searched for with 1,000 searches per month and "dresses for 16th birthday" only 210 people per month. The latter would be a long-tail keyword. In the graphic, the long, low line means that there are a lot of keywords that have little search volume.
More examples of dresses longtail keywords (all have the same search volume): neckholder dress white, oktoberfest dress, olive green dress, pleated dress green, princess dress kids, slipover dress, rock n roll dress, red glitter dress...
Longtail Keyword Example 2: the RECIPE to success
Okay, the last example was so far so simple. The more words you add, the less search volume a keyword has, which makes it a long-tail keyword. That's true as a general rule of thumb, but when comparing two search queries, it often misdirects. For example, "pancake recipe" has 368,000 monthly searches and "recipe" has 27,100. That something is specific does not necessarily mean that it is searched for less frequently. This is true for the two short tail keywords "pancake recipe " and "recipe", but also for long tail keywords. Little quiz round: what has more monthly searches: a) potato recipes quick and easy b) potato soup recipe or c) potato recipe. The correct order is a,b,c. There is a trap built into the question, did you see it? Because I deliberately left out "potato recipes" (plural) in the question, because that has significantly more searches than all three others combined. The challenge here is in the details. Generally, web pages on Google that use the singular (potato recipe) will be found even if Google users search for the plural (potato recipes), but identical phrases are preferred by Google as a rule of thumb.
Longtail Keyword Example 3: You GROW at your tasks.
Let's take the example from earlier even further and look at keywords on the topic of plants. Hibiscus, palm and monstera are keywords with a higher search volume than the generic term "plant". They also show us another aspect of long-tail keywords. This is because the generic term does not always have to appear. For example, "Yucca palm overwintering" does not contain the word plant, but would be a long-tail keyword on the plant topic. Of course, the same is true for the previous examples. If you google "potato soup with sausages", you don't have to add the word recipe to the search query to get a recipe suggestion.
But once again back to the plants. Because one important type of long-tail keywords has not even been introduced yet. Questions! Examples here are "Which plant does not need light", "How many pumpkins per plant" or "When do I plant potatoes". Questions are usually keywords with comparatively few search queries. That makes them long-tail keywords. Most of the time, we don't Google in complete sentences, but questions still have great importance as keywords, which will be discussed later.
Hopefully, these examples make it clear what long tail and short tail keywords are. But they also raise two questions: What do you need long-tail keywords for and how can you find them?
Advantages of long-tail keywords
As mentioned above, the high search volumes of short tail keywords are very popular because you can reach as many potential customers as possible. Nevertheless, long tail keywords are important components for any website.
As mentioned above, with long-tail keywords you have less competition. For example, "dress red" has 59 million results on Google. For "dress red long sleeve lace" there are only 2 million. Especially in highly competitive industries, such as travel, textile or real estate, long-tail keywords offer a real chance to find your niche.
The end of the customer journey
Customer journey refers to the (figurative) path that a customer takes until a purchase or other conversion is made. A customer searches "houseplant", after finding more information here he might search "houseplant flowering", then "orchid" and then "orchid purple" Of course, the customer may already go to a link at "houseplant" and buy a houseplant. Any search query can be the last of the journey. That's why detailed search queries like "houseplant for dark corners" are valuable. But if the customer is to the point where they are searching for something very specific, for example "orchid purple", they already know what they want and are more likely to make a transaction.
Importance of questions for SEO
Questions are very important long tail keywords. On the one hand, they are often asked via voice search of a voice assistant. An example would be "Alexa, how long do potatoes need until they are cooked?" or "Okay Google, at how many degrees do potatoes have to go into the oven?
But questions are also a help for Google. With the search query "potato soup", for example, Google concludes that a potato soup recipe is being searched for and suggests some. With more general search queries such as "potato", it is difficult to guess what exactly the user is looking for or wants to know. Here, Google often suggests various questions that can be asked in this context. By using questions as long-tail keywords, your information can be placed prominently and find its target audience.
Long-tail keywords can be bundled with each other or with short-tail keywords. For example, on a page about red dresses, you will not rank well with the keyword "black dresses" because it is a highly competitive short-tail keyword, even if you include "black dresses" in the text. It's different for long-tail keywords, as they are less contested. So a page for blue dresses can also rank well for "blue dresses wedding guest long" and "blue dresses festive knee length" under certain circumstances. If you notice a field full of very specific long-tail keywords, you can try to combine several in the text. But always keep in mind: Content is King. Google rewards high quality content where users find what they are looking for. So only include long-tail keywords if the user really finds what he is looking for on your page.
Research for topics
Remember that part in the text where it says that Google rewards using exactly the right wording? It's actually significantly more complicated than that. Because Google is getting a little smarter every day. The term semantic search means that Google understands more and more the meaning and not just the individual terms. This means that you can also be well placed on Google for keywords that never appear in your text. For example, a potato soup recipe may never contain the word recipe and Google still knows that it is a recipe. For now, exact phrases still matter when it comes to rankings. But the smarter Google's algorithm gets, the more valuable good content will be instead of exact search phrases.
What does this mean for long-tail keywords? Even though you may have to pay less attention to the exact formulation of long-tail keywords in the future, keyword research is elementary. For example, in a blog post about yucca palms, you notice the keyword "winterize yucca palm" during keyword research. The obvious interest in this topic lets you know that this would be a good topic for a paragraph or your own blog post.
How to find Longtail KeyWords?
Searching for long-tail keywords can be as time-consuming and as expensive as it suits your project. The autofill function on Google can give you a first idea of what people are googling.
Of course, only long-tail KWs are included here that also contain what you enter. For example, "plant" does not suggest yucca palm.
The search suggestions at the bottom of the page are a bit more stretched. Here are sporadic search queries that do not contain the exact wording.
These two methods bring only limited results, so they are only conditionally sufficient even for small projects. On the other hand, there are tools that provide a remedy here.
Longtail Keywords Tools
In the examples we use many keywords and numbers, where do they come from? There are many keyword tools, only a limited selection is presented below.
For the examples we have Semrush used. This is a very comprehensive SEO tool in a corresponding price range. Among many other functions, this also has a keyword tool. For us as SEO and content agency an extensive coverage of the topic is elementary. Pure keyword tools, for example the KW Finder from Mangools, are less diversified. Here you can also have keywords suggested that do not necessarily contain the wording, but are still relevant.
A free tool for keywords is AnswerThePublic. No search volumes are displayed here, but a wide selection of questions and other long-tail keywords are presented.
Digression: Buy Long Tail Keywords on Etsy
Lists with thousands of long-tail keywords on various topics can be purchased on Etsy. These lists are all in English, so they are not relevant for most German companies anyway. But if someone still offers you keyword lists for sale, be warned: you won't be happy with them. Maybe they are cheaper than some tools, but even the free tools are preferable to such lists. Keyword lists become obsolete pretty quickly. Some topics become relevant and others disappear from the surface. Also, they are so vague and extensive that they are supposed to help a wide field, but end up being too vague and extensive to actually help anyone. Because you need keywords that fit your topic exactly, not keywords that are a bit relevant everywhere. That's wasted money, which as an SEO manager and Swabian, I advise everyone against.
Longtail keywords are the best way to bypass highly competitive keywords and find your specific target audience. As Munich SEO Agency we are skilled in finding the right keywords for you and are happy to support you in your goals.