Long-Tail Keywords: Meaning & Best Practices




Updated 2/16/2024

Discover the power of long-tail keywords for SEO with this guide. Learn what they are, why they’re essential, and how to use them effectively.

long tail keywords - a bunch of keys and leaves

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific keyword phrases with lower search volume and competition metrics.

They’re called “long-tail” because if you plot the frequency of keywords, these will fall into the long tail of the distribution graph.

For example, “women’s leather boots” is a common keyword. A corresponding long-tail keyword might be “women’s black ankle boots size 8”. The specificity of the search is harder to target, but can produce better engagement since it’s more actionable and closer to the bottom of the conversion funnel.

Importance of Long-Tail Keywords

These are crucial to SEO strategies for several reasons:

  1. Less Competition: These keywords are more specific, meaning fewer websites compete for them. This can make it easier to rank highly in search engine results.
  2. Targeted Traffic: While they attract less traffic, the traffic they do attract is more targeted. This often leads to higher conversion rates, as users searching with these keywords often know exactly what they’re looking for.
  3. Voice Search: With the rise of voice search, people are more likely to use full sentences or specific phrases, making long-tail keywords more relevant. While these searches are often purely informational, optimizing for them can produce positive branding results and consumer trust.


Here are some possible variations and keyword comparisons.

  • Broad Keyword: Indoor plants
  • Long-Tail Keywords:
    • Low maintenance indoor plants for beginners
    • Best indoor plants for air purification
    • Pet-friendly indoor plants
  • Broad Keyword: Garden tools
  • Long-Tail Keywords:
    • Stainless steel garden tools for serious gardeners
    • Budget-friendly garden tools for beginners
    • Ergonomic garden tools for seniors

These examples illustrate how broad keywords can be refined into long-tail to target specific aspects related to plants and gardening.

More people search with the broad terms, but it’s much harder to rank for these competitive keywords, and they’re less likely to convert, as they have mostly informational search intent.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

Finding the right keywords requires a bit of research. Here’s a step-by-step process to get you started:

Step 1: Start With Seed Keywords

Seed keywords are the main topics that define your content. Start with a broad seed keyword, like “potted plants”.

Step 2: Use Keyword Research Tools

Tools like Ahrefs and Moz can help you generate long-tail keyword ideas from your seed keywords. These tools can also inform you about how competitive the keywords are and how much traffic they might attract.

Step 3: Consider Search Intent

Try to understand what users intend to find if they use a particular keyword. Google’s “People also ask” and “Related searches” sections can give you an idea of what people seek.

Step 4: Analyze Your Competition

Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting. While you might not want to compete for the same keywords, it can give you ideas for related long-tail keywords.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords

Once you’ve found your options, it’s time to use them in your content. Here are some best practices:

  1. Integrate Them Naturally: Keywords should fit naturally into your content. Avoid keyword stuffing, which can lead to poor search performance.
  2. Use Them in Important Places: Include long-tail keywords in important places like the title tag, URL, meta description, and header tags. But again, make sure they fit naturally and make sense.
  3. Create High-Quality Content: Above all, focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your readers. Keywords are important, but they’re not the be-all and end-all.
  4. Monitor Your Results: Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor your keywords’ performance. You can then adjust your strategy as needed.

Bottom Line

Long-tail keywords are a powerful tool in any SEO strategy. With the right research and implementation, they can help you attract highly targeted traffic, improve your search engine rankings, and increase your conversions. ?

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