Long Tail Keywords: The Definitive Guide

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

This is the ultimate guide to long tail keywords.

In fact, long tails helped boost my organic traffic by 19.79% in 2 months.

Google Analytics traffic

And in today’s post I’ll show you EVERYTHING you need to know about long tail keywords.

Let’s dive right in.

What are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are search terms with relatively low search volume. 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 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 short tail 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.

That’s no joke.

On the other hand, look at a long tail version of that keyword, like “best SEO link building software”. That term has much less competition.

Google search – "best SEO link building software"

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

Reason #2: Long tail keywords convert REALLY well

Long tail searches aren’t just longer.

They’re also more specific.

In other words:

Search traffic from long tail terms tend to be much further along in the buyer cycle than traffic from popular 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 10 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. Google Correlate

Google Correlate is a little-known tool that shows you keywords that tend to correlate with one another.

For example, when people search for “SEO”, they also tend to search for things like:

  • Link building
  • Keyword research
  • Digital marketing
  • On-page SEO
  • SEO company

And Google Correlate reveals these “correlated” keywords.

Your first step is to go to Google Correlate.

Google correlate

Then, enter a keyword into the search field and click “Search Correlations”:

Google correlate – Search – "link building"

And take a look at keywords listed under “Correlated with”:

Google correlate – Search results

These are GREAT long tail keywords to jot down.

(Fun Fact: The number next to each keyword is the level of correlation. The closer the number is to 1, the more often it’s searched alongside the keyword you typed in).

And you can see even MORE correlated keywords by clicking on “Show More”.

Google correlate – Show more

4. 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?

5. 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

6. 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.

7. 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

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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, you have two options:

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

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

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed today’s guide to long tail keywords.

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

How do you currently find long tail terms?

Do you use a tool (like Ubersuggest?) Or maybe you have another strategy that works for you.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

9 Comments

  1. Hey Brian! Great post as usual. I am actually going through your complete SEO guide…:) amazing! thanks a lot.
    I just have a quick question when you say “to make this approach worthwhile, I’d need to bang out dozens (or even hundreds) of articles optimized around long tail terms.” on option 1.

    I am confused here. Do you mean that the long tail keyword cannot be the primary keyword? therefore you can sprinkle it through different posts? Because I understood you cannot use the same primary keyword in different posts. or am I wrong?

    thanks a lot for your kind reply! 🙂
    keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Isabella, good question. I meant that the traffic you get from one long tail keyword isn’t that much. So to make long tails worth it, you need to create dozens of hundreds of posts.

  2. Hi Brian,
    Great as always. With regards to “Option #2: Sprinkle Long Tail Keywords Into Your Content”, wouldn’t that be considered ‘keyword stuffing’? Just curious.

    1. Thanks Kaycee. Obviously, it depends on how you do it. But as long as you’re not using the same keyword over and over again or jamming terms that don’t make sense into your content, you’re not really keyword stuffing.

  3. Hey Brian,

    Great article thanks for taking the time to write it.

    I use WordPress and I’m just starting out.

    If I go with option 2 and use a short tailed keyword, how many times throughout the article would you recommend using each long tailed keyword in order to rank for many long tailed keywords?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Ian, there’s no hard and fast rule there. I’d just use as many long tails as you can while making sure that your content reads well.

  4. Hi Brian,
    I am a huge fan of backlinko. You create great content and I am really grateful for the amazing knowledge you share with us.

    I have one question to ask..
    I have a page in my country that ranks 1st for web design. I want to use long tail keywords like WordPress web design or web design for people with accessibility.

    I must create another page of blog and optimize content for this long tail keywords?

    I will have problems with my main page that ranks 1st page for web design?

    I should use canonical pointing my home page?
    What is the best practice?

    Many thanks

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