What is a Long-Tail Keyword and Why Is It Important?

Team Bonafide
by Team Bonafide on May 4, 2012 in Visibility
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What are long tail keywords, and why should you use them?  It’s a good question, especially for start-ups, small businesses, or anyone who lacks the budget for broad, short-tail keyword advertising.

Long tail keywords are keywords that target buyers more precisely.  They are usually comprised of four or more search terms which, when put together, represent the kind of specific searches that buyers who are at the end of the sales cycle are conducting.

For example—

Short tail keyword:   marketing company

Long tail keyword:    best internet marketing company in Houston

Long tail searchers know what they’re looking for and are closer to the purchasing stage than those conducting broad searches.

So, what are the advantages to adding long tail keywords to your list?

1. Less competition
Since long tail keywords generate less—but more specific—traffic, you’re competing with fewer sites for it.  This makes it easier for you to establish yourself within a specialized niche, rather than spend a lot of marketing dollars on trying to compete with the big boys for broad, competitive search terms.

In general, the longer the search term, the fewer sites that will be a match for it; thus, the less competitive it is.

2. Better conversion rate
Long tail searchers are closer to the end of the buying cycle.  This means that they know what they’re looking for and are ready to pull the trigger.  Using long tail keywords helps you to capture these ready buyers and convert them to customers.

For anyone looking for better ROI (and who isn’t?), long tail keywords offer a “quality over quantity” approach that usually gets better results for fewer marketing dollars.

3. Targeted traffic
Targeted traffic means qualified buyers.  Long tail keywords bring the buyers you’re looking for right to your site.  So less time and resources are wasted on leads that aren’t likely to pan out.

4. Two-for-one optimization
What does this mean?  Long tails usually contain your more competitive (and therefore more expensive) short-tail terms.  So, you can pay less for them and still cover many of your main broad search terms. It’s sort of like killing two birds with one stone—and, a more efficient use of your marketing budget.

5. Great for PPC
Long tail keywords lend themselves to PPC campaigns.  PPC is all about conversions per click, right?  Your long tails are already attracting targeted buyers more likely to make a purchase, so once your ads bring them to your site they will realize that they’re at the right place.  These buyers are less likely to click away, and more likely to complete the sales process.

To sum it up, long tail keywords give you more bang for your buck than highly competitive broad search terms.  Mix them into your list of broader keywords, and you can capture more qualified traffic and leads.  Whether you’re conducting a PPC ad campaign, distributing content throughout the Web or engaging in on-site optimization, long tail keywords bring your best customers straight to your door.

Team Bonafide

Team Bonafide

Not your father's digital agency. Wicked-smart, straight-shooting, modern-day marketers who are hell-bent on growing businesses and relationships.