Long tail keyword research is about finding descriptive keyword phrases. It’s the long tail phrases that will bring you the most targeted visitors, and the most traffic.
Long tail keyword phrases are typically 3-5 words in length and are much more descriptive than the basic one or two keyword phrases.
An example of a long tail keyword would be ‘womens red running shoes’. This is a more descriptive keyword phrase than the more common phrase ’red running shoes’.
Typically, marketers like to go after the keyword phrase that gets the most searches which would, in most cases, be the less descriptive phrase, but the truth is those popular keywords only make up about 30% of the searches on the web, the remaining 70% come from the more descriptive long tail keywords.
Here’s how to go about your long tail keyword research for giving you the best chance to rank well in the search engines.
Finding the Long Tail Keywords
To find good long tail keywords, start by using your favorite keyword research tool. For purposes of this demonstration I’ll be using Wordtracker. You can follow along by using the Wordtracker free trial.
Let’s take for example the keyword phrase ‘athletic shoes’. Using Wordtracker we can see If we look at each of these phrases in Wordtracker we see the following:
athletic shoes (short tail)
discount athletic shoes (long tail)
athletic shoes for women(long tail)
boys athletic shoes (long tail)
athletic shoes for flat feet (long tail)
toddler athletic shoes (long tail)
cheap athletic shoes for women (long tail)
steel toe athletic shoes (long tail)
best athletic shoes for plantar fasciitis (long tail)
boys athletic shoes clearance (long tail)
One of the big differences between the long tail and short tail keywords is that the short tail keywords have about 30% more competing web pages than the long tail keywords. That means a web page targeting the keywords ‘athletic shoes’ has less of a chance of ranking well than it would for the term ‘womens athletic shoes’ or ‘discount womens athletic shoes’.
The term ‘athletic shoes’ may get a lot more searches according to the keyword research tools, but you have to work a lot harder at getting a decent ranking because the competition is greater. The long tail keywords give you a much better chance to rank well because there’s less competition.
I think of it like this, I’d rather rank on the first page of Google for a keyword phrase that gets only 100 searches a day versus rank on page 5 or 6 or beyond for a keyword phrase that gets 10,000 searches a day.
Keyword Research and Using Your Competitors
Competition is a good thing and you want to use your competitors to your advantage. So check out who your competitors are and take a good look how they are achieving their ranking.
Because inbound links can help you rank well, it makes sense to see who is linking to your competitors. Here’s what I do:
To find the number of inbound links a web site has, I use backlink watch.
Simply go to http://www.backlinkwatch.com/index.php
Enter the URL of your competitor’s site and click check backlinks.
For example, the keyword phrase “rose scented candles”‘ gets roughly 210 searches. If I type into Google the keyword phrase “rose scented candles” (use the quotes) then select one of the first five search entries and type that address into backlinkwatch, I can see for example, that the #4 result on Google for that keyword phrase has less than 60 inbound links.
(at the time of this writing you may see different results.)
If I can get at least that many inbound links to my site for that keyword phrase, do proper on page keyword optimization, and get a few inbound links from other sites, I have a pretty good chance of ranking on the first page of Google for that keyword phrase.
Now 60 links or even several hundred links may seem like a lot, but if you write and submit useful articles to article directories or write guest posts for blogs using your keyword phrase in your resource box that points back to your web page, you’ll have lots of inbound links to that page in just a few days.
Remember, search engines rank web pages, not websites, so optimize each of your web pages separately for your long tail keywords. Research carefully the words you choose making sure that you’re not simply using good descriptive keywords, but that you are also using relevant keywords.
Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic and freedigitalphotos.net