How Long-Tail Keywords Could Drive Better Rankings

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How Long-Tail Keywords Could Drive Better Rankings
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If you’ve been trying to rank for broad, highly competitive keywords – you might be wasting time and money.

There’s actually a better way.

Long-tail keywords make the job much easier by thinning the market and filtering your visitors. This is a good thing – and we’re going to look at why.

Sure, long-tail keywords will get you fewer visitors, but as you’ll see – they’ll be a captive audience that’s more motivated to spend money.

When you combine this with the time and money you’ll save by shunning those highly-searched, highly competitive terms – you’ll see why long-tail keywords could be the shortcut to the success of your business.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords normally add something to the beginning or end of a search term.

The broadest, most common terms obviously have the most monthly searches – and lots of people will be fighting over those huge numbers.

The reality is, ranking for simple one or two-word terms is difficult. It can be hard to find anything popular that hasn’t been over-targeted by SEO teams for years.

Long-tail keywords help by fine-tuning the audience. Yes – you will get fewer clicks per month, but you can set yourself up as an authority on a particular niche, standing out from the crowd as well as saving time and money in the process.

Let’s look at an example: “smartphone.” This is a broad term with over a million monthly searches on Google. How about “Sony smartphone”? 10k-100k monthly searches. “Sony Xperia smartphone”? 1k-10k monthly searches.

It’s just an example – but you can see how fine-tuning keywords can turn them from highly competitive, broad terms to niche ones that should be much easier to rank for.

Why is getting fewer searches a good thing?

It would help if you obviously were trying to get as many clicks as possible. More clicks, more money – right? Yes, but try thinking about a simple cost-benefit analysis.

Is ranking for a competitive term even possible? If it is – how much time, money, and effort is it going to take?

You could potentially build 20 targeted, niche sites and rank for them in the same time it takes to rank one highly competitive broad term.

Research shows that if you aren’t on the first page of Google, you might as well be nowhere. Sometimes less than 1% of all searches will click through for a site ranked 11th (or top of the second page). Getting to number 1 could net you about 34% of clicks.

Percents of visitors from Google on Pages
Percents of visitors from Google on Pages

Sometimes, a big piece of a small pie is better than a small piece of a big one. Or no piece of a big one.

Google 1st Page CTR Rate
Google 1st Page CTR Rate

If you get to 11th place on Google for something with 100,000 monthly searches – that might garner you 1,000 clicks. If you opt for a long-tail variation with “only” 10,000 monthly searches, that could get you 3,400 monthly hits.

That’s not even considering how much time and effort you’ll save trying to rank for the “easier” term.

Google 2nd Page CTR Rate
Google 2nd Page CTR Rate

How to retrieve long-tail keywords?

I’m not going to insist much on this topic as it is already covered in our other articles: Keyword Research Guide and Keyword Research Tools.

Keyword Research Complete Guide
Keyword Research Complete Guide

Take the time to read them, as you will completely understand how to get a nice, targeted list of keywords for your business.

Using some of the keyword research tools I’ve mentioned there, you will be able to evaluate the long-tail keywords and optimize your website accordingly.

Update: I just found a great free tool that shows you literally in a second all of the long-tail keywords and their search volumes. You don’t even have to register. Simply enter your keyword, click an annoying captcha, and boom you have your long-tail keywords: Keyword Reseach Tool Keyword Research Tool

What long-tail keywords should I target?

Some good long-tail additions are things like “[keyword] review.” Try adding the year to the end as people like to search for the most up-to-date information possible (the internet is full of old information).

One great suffix is “discount.” This is used by people who know they’re about to spend some money but want to try and save a bit before they do so. If you can offer them the discount they’re looking for – you should make a sale.

Try and avoid inactive terms like “free.” These aren’t used by people who want to spend any money and could be a waste of bandwidth.

Counter-intuitively, things like “scam” or “legit” can also work.

You might want to avoid anything negative, but people search for “scam” when they’re close to buying something but want to make sure beforehand. You need to be there to reassure them.

Will your visitors spend money?

If someone arrives at your niche, long-tail site – they’ll probably be impressed someone’s offering them what they were looking for. They might even have thought they weren’t going to find something that fitted the bill so perfectly. This builds instant loyalty to what you’re offering.

Not only will you have offered them EXACTLY what they’re looking for, but if they’ve arrived at your site using the right keyword, they should already be more “active” and closer to spending money.

As we’re looked at, avoiding things like “free” and targeting terms like “discount” can give you motivated visitors without wasting time and money on those looking for a free ride.


Especially in competitive niches, and let’s face it, most of the niches that generate good money are nowadays competitive you should target long-tail keywords and optimize your website for such keywords.

Hopefully, you’ve seen how long-tail keywords could be the shortcut to your ranking success.

P.S. Don’t also forget to optimize your images for your keywords.

Daniel Stanica

Daniel is the founder of Digital Media Intelligence digital agency. For over 15 years he has helped hundreds of digital businesses to win the digital race through SEO, Marketing Strategy, Competitive Intelligence and Affiliate Marketing.

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