There’s no doubt that we’re living in an exceptionally digital era. It's instinctive for most of us to jump online from any device, anywhere, anytime. We’re constantly searching for information, products and services that interest us and that we need.
In the past, when we were just getting to know terms like SEO (search engine optimization), search engine algorithms weren’t as sophisticated; at the time, businesses did benefit from putting, or even stuffing, keywords into their content at every opportunity. In today’s highly digital world, search engines have become super smart and they know if your content offers value to your users.
So what can you do to stay ahead of the game and in front of your ideal audience? Paid advertising is a great way to get your brand in front of your target audience, but there’s a catch. You’re paying for every click. There’s another way, and that is to give your users the best possible experience. To do this, you’ve got to understand your target audience and how they search; which also means that long tail keywords should be an important part of your content marketing strategy. If you can gradually replace those paid clicks with organic traffic, not only will you save money, you could see better results.
What is a long tail keyword?
Long tail keywords are a targeted way of connecting your brand with your ideal audience. Very simply, they are longer and more specific keyword phrases - usually 3 to 5 words - that users are typing or voice recording into a search engine.
Why should you consider long tail keywords in your content?
SEO experts say that long tail keywords often indicate that a user is very close to making a purchase decision, which alone is a good enough reason to use them; yet successfully incorporating long tail keywords into your content will enable you to better match user intent, giving your visitor exactly what they’re looking for. No matter what kind of business you’re in, providing an excellent user experience and potentially converting faster is something we all want.
How to integrate long tail keywords.
It’s said that more than 70% of search queries start with long tail keywords, so it doesn’t matter how authoritative your website is, the volume of its long tail keywords means that there’s something there that can’t be ignored. This doesn’t mean that you should just stuff your content with a ton of keywords, but it does mean that there are a few factors to consider before you begin integrating long tail keywords into your content.
You can start with thinking about your USP, your customers, and their needs. Do some research and make sure that the keywords you’ll use to reach new customers are the same words they’d use in a search query. Be sure to use your keywords naturally; this is probably the most important thing to keep in mind as more and more people are using voice search to enter their queries. Another thing to consider is that some keywords may not necessarily be easy to use in a sentence, so you might have to get creative and play a little with your keywords.
To get you thinking creatively here’s a step-by-step process on how to begin using long tail keywords in your content:
A. Define your content marketing objectives. If you’re among those who think that good content strategy is nice to have, but not entirely necessary, you’ll probably want to think again. Whether you're just starting out with content marketing or you've been using the same approach for a while, take the time and effort to create or revisit your content marketing strategy.
A good place to start is by choosing one or two core goals that you want every piece of content to achieve, then establish what long tail keywords your potential prospects are using. Don’t get too fixated on whether you’re speaking to a new audience or an existing audience, or at what stage of the customer journey they’re at - first time engagement or close to a purchase decision. The key is to create user-friendly content that is useful, innovative, and engaging, and ranks higher in search results.
B. Create buyer personas to help you understand user intent. Even though some would argue that when it comes to understanding user intent it's just a matter of common sense, it is actually much more than just that. Yes, you can gather your team and brainstorm by asking them to put themselves in your customer’s shoes, but if you’re serious about matching your user intent, you really should consider creating buyer personas.
Let’s dive a bit deeper in buyer personas - they are research based profiles that depict your target audience. Buyer personas describe your ideal customer, what their days are like, including things like the challenges they face, and perhaps most importantly they consider what factors influence their purchase decisions. For example, if the end user has to gain someone else’s approval before making a purchase, each individual involved in that decision will be considered as a separate persona. They'll have different criteria for evaluating your product or service, and you'll need different strategies to address those needs.
A buyer persona will help you narrow your focus and adjust your website to the needs of specific target groups who are actually interested in what you’re offering.
C. Research and select your long tail keywords. When it comes to choosing the right long tail keywords it can become quite challenging. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for finding long tail keywords that will bring you traffic and conversions, and you may have to try a number of keywords before you find one that clicks! Longer variations of your keywords may have lower search volumes than head keywords, but their conversion rates are usually high and much easier to rank with than general keywords.
To find keywords that will work for you, start by thinking about your business. Ask yourself what makes your product or service unique, keeping your key differentiators and benefits in mind. You’ll also want to get inside your customer’s mind. Think about how they may search for your products or services. What language are they using? How might they phrase what they’re searching for? You might even consider talking to your existing customers to get their insight about how they found you or how they would search for you online.
D. Write the content. Once you’ve done your research, the next step is to make sure you’re using your long tail keywords to demonstrate that your content matches user intent. If you’re creating content matching user intent, you should be able to incorporate long tail keywords naturally. You’ll also want to keep a variety of content types and channels so that your content is always engaging and effective. Having a content management system in place where you can create, manage, and track your content will surely be helpful too.
All in all, keywords play a crucial role when it comes to implementing SEO best practices. Whether you’ve been ranking well for head keywords or not, integrating long tail keywords into your content marketing strategy is a win-win; you’ll rank higher (and pay less), and more importantly, you’ll connect with traffic (an audience) that is interested in your business’ products or services.
Reach out to us and let’s talk about how we can help your business with its long tail keyword research.