We hear the phrase “long tail keyword,” but for most individuals not well versed in SEO, it’s a bit of an anathema.

What are long tail keywords, why are they valuable and how do I find them? Let’s take a look.

Short, popular phrases generate a large volume of searches in the world of keywords. Think, “Luxury Hotels.” While a relatively broad keyword, individuals across the world are searching for it.

As such, if you are visible on the first page of a SERP (search engine results page), you may garner a lot of website traffic as a result. But how valuable is that traffic when there is no specificity to the keyword? Likely, not very.

Conversely, longer keywords with more detail will have less search volume but provide more value.

Let’s explore the keyword “Luxury hotel in San Francisco with a day spa.” This keyword will have a lower amount of searches on a monthly basis than broader keywords like “San Francisco Hotel.”

However, an individual searching for this keyword is sure to be your target guest if you are indeed a luxury hotel in San Francisco with a day spa, therefore making this long tail keyword valuable.

Why use the term “long tail?” The curve in the chart below represents search volume vs the number of keywords.

Note that as you move lower in search volume, the total number of keywords increases to infinity with a much higher conversion rate.


Now that we know what long tail keywords are and why they’re valuable, but how do we find them?

Here are four different methods:

  1. Google Analytics – At this point, we understand the implications of search encryption and (not provided); however, there are still search engines that pass keyword-level information via organic search. Those keywords can be a treasure trove of long tail keywords that individuals are using to find your website. This is not an exhaustive list, but it should be useful in your research.
  2. Google Keyword Planner – Utilize Google’s keyword planning tool to find inspiration based upon your broad keywords. Once you’ve plugged them in, Google will generate hundreds of keyword variations with estimated costs, competition, and average monthly searches.
  3. Competition – See what keywords your competitors are using on their websites and within their advertising (SEMrush can provide a taste of what your competitors are advertising). Take this information with a grain of salt as your competitor may or may not be correct in what they are targeting
  4. Google Adwords – Are you running PPC campaigns? Are you using broad match keywords (a matching option implemented by the search engines which matches your ad against a keyword and related terms)? If so, you have a veritable plethora of keywords at your fingertips.

To check, visit one of your adgroups. Under “details,” select “Search Terms” – > “All.” This report gives all of the keyword variations for which your ad was served. You may find great keywords to utilize in your marketing efforts and you also may find negative keywords to add (but that is a discussion for another day).

With the understanding of long tail keywords and how to find them, you are now poised to take advantage of highly-valuable, low-competition keywords sure to drive conversion.

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