A long tailed keyword is basically a more descriptive version of a keyword, so instead of searching for ‘jacket’ you might search for ‘black leather jacket UK’. On an individual basis they do not account for a particularly large number of searches but they are far more likely to result in sales. In terms of converting traffic into customers, this is the second most valuable kind of search term as people are very late on in the buying stage, they know exactly what they want and are far more likely to buy.
In terms of a marketing campaign they can form a really effective part of your strategy, there tends to be less competition in the search engines for these kinds of phrases and so it requires less work to achieve higher rankings. So it may be worth generating 50 targetted people to come to your website rather than 150 people who don’t really know what they want.
It can also help you to achieve high search engine rankings for the shorter keywords too, in fact one of the best ways to get these meaty keywords is to target long tailed key phrases that include the words that you are really after. It kind of has a knock on effect to your current efforts.
Research has shown that using long-tailed keywords can increase your conversion rate by around 200% compared to short keywords and so this gives a great opportunity for a business. In fact as a smaller business in a highly competitive market, it gives you a way to be able to compete and gain results as often trying to compete with a national chain can be cost prohibitive.
So when you are working out a strategy for SEO or PPC, think about striking the right balance between the volume of searches, how competitive those searches are and the likely conversion rates. By looking at these different elements you can create a campaign specifically targetted to your budget, overall objectives and specific product range.
Sounds a bit melodramatic but Keyword Research is where it all starts out. If you are looking at lead generation and increasing traffic to your website then keyword research is a must. Before you do anything else you need to understand what people are physically typing into the search engines, you need to understand any trends and look for gaps in the market. You need to look at each individual keyword as a market in it’s own right remember as people often use different words to search for the same thing.
Google Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword tool is free to all and is a good place to start. It allows you to enter keywords related to your industry and will return results of search volume on a global and national level. It will also give you suggestions for other related keywords that you may wish to consider. Alongside search volume it also helps you to gain an understanding of the level of competition for each keyword. You see, it’s not necessarily the best thing to target just the high volume keywords particularly if you are starting from scratch, these are usually the most competitive and therefore the ones that will take the most work and time to get results with. I’m not saying don’t go after them, but just that you may want to consider what we call long-tailed key phrase first.
Long-Tailed Key phrases
This basically means where someone has used more words in the search bar, it is usually more descriptive of exactly what it is that they are searching for. There are a few reasons to try and target these first for SEO:
- Less competition to get high rankings
- Less time required to achieve higher rankings
- This will also help in your bid to go after more generalised keywords
- Higher conversion rate for those searching
- Qualified traffic and so lower bounce rate and better overall results
By rankings I mean that your website appears in the first few results on the first page that a search engine returns. With a key phrase that has less competition it is much easier for you to convince the search engines that your website is the most relevant and thus bringing you good results much more quickly.
Getting results for ‘other’ keywords
If the keyword I really want is yellow shoes, but I know that this is incredibly competitive I can start by targetting long-tailed keywords that have a respectable level of searches such as ‘flat yellow shoes’ (these are pure examples, I haven’t done the research. This will help me in my bid to go after the more general keyword because I will already be ranking well for a related phrase.
Increased Conversion and Quality Traffic
By going after long-tailed key phrases you are increasing your chances of converting those visitors into customers. The more specific people are about what they want the more likely they are to buy as long as you offer exactly what they are searching for. This also gives you quality traffic as the vast majority of people visiting your website are truly interested in your offering. There’s no point having 10,000 visitors if they are all looking for black shoes and you only sell yellow shoes!
So going back to my starting point. Spend the time and effort on understanding your market before you get caught up in having a pretty website designed or going for keywords that you ‘think’ people are looking for. It’ much easier to change things at the beginning than finding out after the first year when you haven’t achieved any sales.
Keyword research is so important, I can’t stress enough how much. Any kind of campaign online must never be attempted until you have a thorough understand of the things that people are actually physically typing into the search engines. All too often companies assume they know what people are looking for, but in reality it can be completely different. Each keyphrase is it’s own individual market, so in order to understand which ones to target you need to know the volume of searches for each term, how competitive they are and whether you are able to compete against other websites.
You also need to bear in mind that often it is better to first target long-tailed keyphrases, here are some reasons why:
- It is easier to get organic rankings for these terms
- You often pay a lower click cost for your paid advertising campaigns
- They are less competitive
- They often have a higher conversion rate as the searches are so much more specific
In terms of SEO it is a balancing act between volume and what you can realistically achieve high rankings for. By targetting longer tailed keyphrases first it then helps when you come to go after much more generic phrases as you already have some SEO juice with what you have achieved.
So search out those long-tailed keyphrases, make sure you understand which ones you are targetting and then build your campaign based around this. If you follow these simple steps then you will be well on your way to using your keyword research to have a successful online campaign.