How To Drive Content Marketing Using Long-Tail Keywords

Websites can gain valuable SEO traffic when focusing on specific, long-tail search terms. Furthermore, the traffic will be highly targeted and potentially convert better.

Keyword research is the cornerstone of an SEO marketing campaign. No doubt, your business will have optimised its main webpages towards the most searched-for terms in your niche. These ‘head terms’ are great for landing pages but there will be millions of other keywords, ready and waiting to drive traffic to your website.

These keywords tend to be variations of main keywords, or extended and specific ‘long-tail’ versions. For example:

Whilst long-tail keywords aren’t as commonly searched for, collectively they make up as much as 70% of all searches. That’s a huge amount. So, whilst head term keyword research is great and all, it’s the tip of the iceberg. Meanwhile, Google are boosting the prominence of ads for commercial keywords, and search is becoming continually more competitive. Therefore, having a long-tail keyword strategy is one of the hottest tips for modern SEO.

Try as you might to rank for “cheap laptops”, the ads are taking all the clicks!

Why long-tail keywords are super-awesome.

Long tail keywords have many special qualities. Here are three favourites:

  1. They’re less competitive

Ranking on Google has never been easy, and it’s getting tougher and tougher for newcomers. Time is a major ranking factor and, if you’re the owner of a fresh new domain, your competitors have years on you. In which time, they’ll likely have attained a half decent backlink profile (natural or otherwise). So, trying to muscle your way into the top set for the most popular keywords could be an uphill climb.

As mentioned above, most websites optimise for popular head terms. Those with the most search volume. So, it stands to reason that long-tail keywords have less competition.

  1. The user intent is clearer

Taking our “laptops” example, what does the person searching really want to find? There are many possibilities:

  • Pictures of…
  • Types of…
  • To find the nearest…
  • To read about…
  • Latest news…
  • Expert reviews…
  • Places to buy…
  • Recommendations on…

Even if you rank number one, it doesn’t guarantee you’re what the person is looking for because they could be looking for virtually anything. Whereas, the intent is much clearer with long-tail keywords. You can be sure that those searching for “good laptop for video editing” are looking for good laptops for video editing.

By targeting long tail keywords, you can create content meeting an exact demand and know you’re going to attract traffic with a specific intent. In this case, an “Ultimate Guide to Laptops for Video Editing” would be perfect and if you can leverage this intent…

  1. They convert better

Research indicates that long tail keywords are 66 percent more profitable than the head keywords.

Helping customers who are researching can increase the chances of them purchasing from you. For example, creating an article containing 5 bleeding-edge “laptops that are better than MacBook pros” would enable you to rank for this long-tail keyword. If you can provide the customer with a great alternative to a MacBook Pro, they are likely to hit the buy button.

When someone knows exactly what they’re looking to buy, they’ll search for it in a long-tail string. For instance: Cheap + Brand + Model + Colour + Location. If you can appear in Google for these types of searches, your visitors are ready to buy, credit cards in-hand. This is why it’s so important to optimise site-wide, not just the main pages.

Using long-tail keywords to produce a content strategy

Simply put, base your content on long-tail keyword research.

Next time you’re trying to think of something interesting to write about on your blog:

  1. Enter your topic into answerthepublic.com. This (gift of a) platform will offer up a ton of queries that people search for around the topic.
  2. Then add the list to Google AdWords to generate a list of search volumes.
  3. Export and add a filter, then order by the number of searches. Voila.
  4. Make the table look pretty and share with senior stakeholders. They’ll think you’re a creative genius.

By following this process, you can quickly* generate content ideas which will keep you going for a while.

*Quick doesn’t necessarily mean good – a little human intervention, strategic thinking and common sense is required.

Putting this into practice

Sticking with the laptops example, if you’re a specialist, independent electronics retailer, you may struggle to outrank the national chains for the big, generic “laptop” keywords. However, as high-end laptops specialist, you are perfectly positioned to advise on best specs for niche requirements.

By drilling down into deeper keywords, you can discover plenty of opportunities to create niche content such as “laptops for engineering students”. This has the potential outrank the competition.

Why stop at engineering students? It’s just as likely that students of all disciples will want the best laptops for their needs:

Any of the suggested long-tail keywords lend themselves perfectly to an article title.

This kind of insight can inform not only your content marketing but your entire website strategy. You could go one step further and dedicate a portion of your websites main navigation to it, i.e.:

  • com/students
  • com/students/engineering
  • com/students/music-editing
  • com/students/photoshop-editing

By creating content based on long-tail queries backed up with search data, you can also be certain that there is an audience for your content. Otherwise, ideas for articles might be based on just guesswork.

What are the traffic potentials for targeting long-tail keywords?

There are a few important factors to be aware of when estimating potential traffic and weighing up what long-tail keywords to priorities within your content strategy:

Google AdWords data is less robust for niche keywords

Obviously, AdWords isn’t the only keyword tool, but it is a go-to and most other tools rely heavily on AdWords data too. Whilst AdWords isn’t built for content marketing, long-tail query research, it’s free and it’s nice and easy to get search volumes out of the platform. Used in conjunction with a content ideas tool like answerthepublic.com, it can be very powerful.

However, as a general rule, the more niche the keyword, the smaller the data set is, and the less effective AdWords is. A great way to test this is to compare the impressions your website gets in Search Console with the search volumes in AdWords. Below is a list of keywords taken from a music blog.

We have compared the difference between monthly search volumes and impressions. This demonstrates that there are many more searches for niche terms than AdWords would lead you to believe. As you can see, the difference is quite strong in some cases.

So, don’t be too swayed by the search volumes it provides. The numbers are more indicative than accurate. It’s great for big, timeless, historic keywords, but pretty limited for anything new and trending. This is particularly important when you consider that around 15% of all Google searches are new and never searched for before.

For instance, the popularity of “fidget spinners” came from nowhere. AdWords could never have helped with a pre-emptive content marketing strategy.

The meteoric rise of Fidget Spinners! (and predictable decline…)

Pages optimised for one keyword, are optimised for many

Going back to our laptop examples, by optimising for the term “laptops with dedicated graphics”, there is the potential to optimise for a far greater pool of keywords:

Bearing in mind that AdWords data isn’t always accurate for more niche terms, the total search volumes and traffic could be far greater than AdWords suggests.

Google’s strong understanding of synonyms

Google uses a machine-learning system called “RankBrain” (which is a part of the overall Hummingbird Algorithm). It greatly improves Google understanding of synonyms. In fact, it’s reportedly the third most influential aspect of the overall algorithm and it means that you don’t have to be as keyword-prescriptive as you used to.

For instance, search for “powerful laptops for gaming” and these are the top results:

Notice how they make no reference of “powerful” in the titles?

This becomes an even more important factor in the mobile space, as more and more people become accustomed to voice-search. People search differently what they talk than when they write. Voice-search queries tend to be conversational, question orientated and even more “long-tail”. Google’s machine-learning and understanding of language enable them to present better results for virtually any query imaginable.

So, the traffic potentials for search-optimised content could be a lot higher than predictable.

Takeaways & conclusions

By using long-tail keyword research to inform your content marketing strategy, you can:

  • Meet the search demands of researching customers
  • Drive targeted traffic
  • That’s more valuable and likely to covert
  • The numbers of searches are potentially greater than AdWords data suggests
  • Plus, you have the potential to appear for a large number of similar keywords
  • Which is extends even further due to Google’s understanding of synonyms

There are also other benefits of integrating SEO and content marketing. These include using high-quality content to drive link acquisition through Digital PR, as well as increase the likelihood of gaining links naturally.

All in all, making Search-Optimised Content one of the most effective digital marketing strategies you can deploy.

And don’t forget – Glaze are pretty good at this stuff. Get in touch for more information and ways we can help your business grow through digital marketing, today.