Long Tail Keywords

Long Tail Keywords

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are search terms with relatively low search volume and competition levels. Also, long tail terms tend to be longer in length (3+ words) than most other keyword types.

Long tail keywords

Even though few people search for individual long tail queries, when you add them together, long tails actually make up a large chunk of all Google searches.

Long tail keywords make up the majority of searches

(And that’s especially true now that more and more people are using voice search)

In fact, Ahrefs reports that 92% of all keywords get 10 or fewer searches per month.

Monthly search volume distribution of 1.9 billion search queries

In other words, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails.

Why are Long Tail Keywords Important For SEO?

There are two main reasons that you might want to focus on long tail keywords:

Reason #1: Long tail keywords aren’t that competitive

When it comes to SEO, long tails are MUCH less competitive than shorter “head terms”.

(Which makes them easier to rank for)

For example, a short tail keyword like “link building” has over 6 billion results in Google:

Google search – “link building”

So if you want to rank #1 in Google for that query, you need to outrank 6 billion other sites.

Yikes.

On the other hand, look at a long tail version of that keyword, like “best SEO link building software”.

Google search – "best SEO link building software"

That long tail keyword has a lot less competition than the head term “link building”.

This same idea also applies to Google Adwords (PPC). Long tail can be cheaper to bid on than super popular head terms.

Reason #2: Long tail keywords have high conversion rates

Long tail searches aren’t just longer.

They’re also more specific.

In other words:

People that search for long tail terms tend to be much further along in the buying cycle compared to folks searching for head terms.

For example, take a keyword like: “keto diet”.

Someone searching for keto diet is probably trying to learn what is it. Or how it works. Which means they’re not ready to buy anything.

But someone searching for a longer version of that term (like “keto diet supplement”) is MUCH closer to making a purchase.

Bottom Line? The traffic that you get from long tail terms tend to convert really well

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

Here are 9 ways to find long tail keywords.

1. Google “Searches Related to…”

Ever notice that when you scroll to the bottom of Google’s search results there’s a section called, “Searches related to…”?.

Google search – "best SEO link building software" – Related to

Well this little area is a gold mine for long tail keyword research.

Here’s exactly how to use it:

First, type in a keyword that you want to rank for.

Google search – "link building"

Second, scroll to the bottom of the page. And take a look at the “Searches related to…” for that keyword:

Google search – "link building" – Related section

And you’ll get handful of GREAT long tail terms that you can target.

Nice!

Pro Tip: Take one of the keywords from the “Searches related to…” area and pop that term into Google. Then, check out the “Searches related to…” results for THAT keyword. Rinse and repeat until you have a massive list of awesome keywords.

2. Answer The Public

Answer The Public is a helpful keyword research tool that generates question-focused keywords.

To use it, type a broad keyword into the field and click “Get Questions”:

Answer The Public – Get questions

The tool will then show you questions that people tend to ask about your topic:

Answer The Public – Reports

And because question keywords tend to be long, they’re pretty much automatically long tail terms.

You can even sort the data alphabetically:

Answer The Public – Reports – Alphabetical

And download the data as a CSV:

Answer The Public – Download CSV

3. Forums and Boards

Forums are one of my all-time favorite places to find new keyword ideas.

Think about it:

Where else can you find hundreds of people asking and answering questions about your site’s topic?

After all, if someone asks a question on a forum you KNOW that there are other people out there searching for that same question in Google.

To use forums for keyword research, head over to a forum where your target audience hangs out. You may know a few of these already.

If not, just use these handy search strings to find them:

  • “keyword” + “forum”
  • “keyword” + “board”
  • “keyword” + “powered by vbulletin”

You can also search for your keyword + discussions:

Google search – "fitness discussions"

Then, once you find an active foru, look at the titles of of the latest threads.

NerdFitness – Forum topics

Don’t forget to check out the words and phrases that people use in the thread itself.

NerdFitness – Cassava flour

Easy, right?

4. Google Autocomplete

You’ve probably seen Google Autocomplete in action before.

Google – Autocomplete

And it’s probably my favorite way to find long tails.

Why?

Because the suggestions that you get come straight from Google.

To use Google Autocomplete for keyword research, you can JUST enter a keyword:

Google – Autocomplete – "paleo diet"

OR

You can type in a keyword plus a letter:

Google – Autocomplete – "paleo diet r"

The only problem with this approach is that typing in “keyword a”, “keyword b” etc. is a GIANT pain.

Fortunately, long tail keyword generators like Ubersuggest and keywordtool.io both scrape Google Autocomplete data for you.

They both work pretty much the same way.

Just enter a seed keyword and click “search”:

KeywordTool – Search

And the tool will spit out hundreds of suggestions:

KeywordTool – Results

5. Soovle

Soovle is a free tool that collects keyword suggestions from Amazon, Wikipedia, Ask.com, and YouTube.

Soovle

Which means you can uncover untapped terms that are SUPER hard to find with any other keyword tool.

(Not to mention that the fact that you get keyword ideas from sites that your competition probably overlooks)

With that, here’s how to use it:

First, head over to Soovle and enter a broad keyword into the search field.

For example, if you were looking for coffee-related keywords, you could use the keyword “coffee”:

Soovle – Search

Soovle will automatically display suggested results from different websites:

Soovle – Results

You can also download the results in a CSV file by clicking the download icon in the top left corner of the page:

Soovle – Menu

Very cool.

6. People Also Ask Boxes

This is another easy way to find question keywords.

First, search for a keyword in Google search.

And keep an eye out for a “People also ask…” box in the SERPs.

Google – People also ask

These are questions that people ask around the topic of the keyword you typed in.

And if you expand one of the questions, you see an answer… plus Google will show you even MORE questions.

Google – People also ask – Expand

Pro Tip: Like with most things in the world of SEO, there’s an SEO tool that helps you find these “People also ask ” questions. It’s called WonderSearch.

WonderSearch

Just enter a keyword into it, and WonderSearch will give you a list of “People also ask” questions from the search results.

WonderSearch – Results

7. Google Search Console Performance Report

Sometimes the best keyword is one that you already rank for.

What do I mean?

If you’re like most people, you have a handful of pages sitting on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th page of Google.

And sometimes you’ll find that you rank in Google for long tail keywords that you’re not even optimizing for.

And when you give these pages some extra SEO attention, they’ll usually hit the first page within days or weeks.

You can easily find these 2nd and 3rd page keywords in the Google Search Console (GSC).

First, login to your GSC account and go to the Performance Report.

Search Console

Scroll down until you see “Queries”.

Search Console – Queries

These are keywords that you rank for on Google’s first page.

To find 2nd and 3rd page keywords, sort the list by “Position”:

Search Console – Position

And set the number of rows to show to “500”.

Keep scrolling down until you start to see positions 10-15.

Then, take a look at the keywords that are ranking in those positions:

Search Console – Position bottom

Put any promising keywords into the Google Keyword Planner to check their search volume.

If you find a keyword that makes sense for your site (and has decent search volume) click on that keyword.

And click on the “pages” tab:

Search Console – Pages

This will show you the page on your site that currently ranks for that keyword.

8. Google Trends

Google Trends is one of my all-time favorite keyword research tools.

About to kick off an SEO campaign? You definitely want to know whether or not interest in your keywords is growing (or falling).

Here’s how this works:

First, head over to Google Trends, and enter the keyword you want to rank for into the search field:

Google Trends

The tool will show you “interest over time” based on search volume and news headlines:

Google Trends – Interest

In this example, search volume for this term is pretty stable.

But for other keywords, like “Snapchat”, interest picked up suddenly and has now tapered off:

Google Trends – Interest – Snapchat

And other terms, like “Google Keyword Tool”, have a steady down trend:

Google Trends – Interest – Keyword tool

The best case scenarios is when you find a keyword (like “keto diet”) that’s trending up.

Google Trends – Interest, Keto diet

Pro Tip: Scroll down to “Related Queries”:

Google Trends – Related queries

Most of the keywords listed under “Queries” are little-known keywords that you won’t see in most other keyword research tools.

9. Quora

Quora is an extremely popular crowdsourced Q&A site.

It’s similar to to Yahoo! Answers. But with Quora, people’s responses are actually helpful 🙂

To use Quora, you need to create an account.

Once you’ve logged in, enter a broad keyword into the search bar at the top of any page:

Quora – Search

Like with forums, Quora will show you the most popular questions on that topic:

Quora – Search results

Some of the questions will be high-volume keywords that you can copy and paste into your list of potential keywords.

And others can help you brainstorm new keyword ideas in your niche.

For example, in our baking example above, this question is probably too long to be a popular keyword:

Quora – Bake without eggs

But when I entered the shortened version of the question, “bake without eggs”, into the Google Keyword Planner, I found a list of keywords that could easily be used as the topic of a high quality article. They also have relatively high search volume:

Keyword Planner – Bake without eggs

This is where Quora shines: giving you laterally related keyword and topic ideas that you may not have thought of on your own.

How to Use Long Tail Keywords

When it comes to using long tail keywords in your content, you have two options:

Option #1: Create a Piece of Content Optimized Around That Term

Your first option to create a new blog post that’s optimized around the long tail keyword that you just found.

For example, a few months ago I found the long tail keyword: “how to get more YouTube subscribers”.

And I created a post that was optimized around that long tail term.

Backlinko – YouTube Subscribers

Because that keyword wasn’t that competitive, it quickly cracked Google’s first page.

Google search – YouTube subscribers

(And it currently ranks in the top 5 for my target keyword)

The downside of this approach is that you need to pump out A LOT of content.

For example, the keyword “how to get more YouTube subscribers” only gets around 3k monthly searches.

Even if my post got 100% of the clicks from people searching for that term (which is impossible), that post would only increase my traffic by 3k visitors per month… MAX.

And in reality, I probably only get 500-700 clicks per month from that keyword.

So to make this approach worthwhile, I’d need to bang out dozens (or even hundreds) of articles optimized around long tail terms.

Option #2: Sprinkle Long Tail Keywords Into Your Content

Your other option is to optimize your page around a short tail or “Medium tail” keyword. Then, incorporate long tail keywords into your content.

For example, I recently published this list of my favorite free SEO tools.

Backlinko – Best Free SEO Tools

Obviously, I used on-page SEO to optimize my page around my main keyword: “free SEO tools”.

But I also sprinkled in long tail keyword phrases into my content.

Backlinko – SEO Tools – Phrases

And because I used a bunch of long tails in my post, it currently ranks in Google for 1,100 different keywords:

Ahrefs – SEO Tools

Learn More

Advanced Keyword Research Tutorial (5-Step Blueprint): Learn how to find long tail keywords, short tail keywords and everything in-between in this video tutorial.

How to Choose Keywords for SEO: So you’ve found a bunch of long tail keywords. Now what? This guide will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

On Page SEO – 9 Actionable Techniques That Work: This video will show you how (and where) to use long tail keywords in your content.