Optimization for long tail keywords is becoming more and more the standard in SEO. The reason is that search patterns of internet users have changed – as have search engine criteria for relevancy of results. There’re in fact at least 5 major benefits of optimizing for long tail keywords making it a very good idea to get started today.
Here you’ll get not only the step-by-step description of the process but also an in-depth analysis of the steps to give you a kick-start.
Optimizing for the Right Long Tail Keywords
Identifying the optimal combination of keywords to work with and implementing them in your SEO strategy successfully requires that you do your research. Here’s how to get it done right:
- Find the right action word – what do you want people to do on your pages – buy, read, learn, explore, sell, etc. Combine the most precise verb with the essence of your product/service. If you’re a travel agency for example, you can use words as vacation, conference venue, sea, beach, etc. Choose only one core product and action per page.
- Create multiple pages about the same product/service and approach targeting from a different angle. A hotel, for example, can be marketed as a family hotel, lux hotel, hotel with a great pool, business venue, etc.
- Combine the desired action verb with the product name or type to get the simplest keyword combination.
- Run the combination through one of the these tools for long tail keyword research to evaluate their potential and strength and to identify additional relevant words to chain with your initial phrase. Longer keyword combinations coming as close as possible to search queries get the best ranking (in combination with other factors as domain authority and topical authority).
- Optimize for these phrases that seem to perform best, are most relevant to your content, and fit the tone of voice set by your blog, site, or company.
Before going ahead and optimizing for long tail keywords it’s a good idea to test their performance in the real world by for example running an AdWords campaign or a campaign on social media. The reason is that the rules for success of an ad and a search result – when it comes to keywords explicitly! – are the same. You’ll also be able to evaluate your target group’s reaction to the chosen phrases. Optimally, run a campaign with a few variations of each long tail keyword in order to identify the best performing one.
Another test you should do after optimizing your content is an A/B test where you expose real internet users to different versions of your pages and evaluate their reaction and the number of conversions in order to ensure optimal performance.
As with everything else, you should consider how much it’s really worth it to use on the project. If you expect promising ROI, then go ahead and invest in all necessary tests and research. If you, however, are a blogger with little or no blog-related income, you might want to take it slow and simply optimize for long tail keywords on the go – step by step and by following results via free tools as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
How To Optimize Content For Long-Tail Keywords
Optimization for long tail keywords is not as straightforward as it might seem at first. You have to go in and re-write your content in order to signal as strongly as possible the relevance of the chosen phrase. It’s not about stuffing your text with the same long tail keyword again and again until it hardly makes sense anymore. Instead, you should approach the task strategically and make your content’s focus clear by including the keyword phrase the right places, using a couple of synonyms highlighting its importance, and structuring the text in a way pointing towards the desired action.
For example, if selling training shoes, you can optimize for a long tail keyword as “buy top-performing running shoes with cushioning”. In order to highlight that this is indeed what your page is about, you can work with a synonym phrase as “get superb cushioned running/training shoes” or “try XX brand extreme performance running shoes with offroad cushioning”. Last but not least, you should construct your content in a way guiding website visitors to conversion – from presenting the product to offering it for sale.
In order for this strategy to work, you have to consider all the elements on your webpages: text, media, links, metas, and headlines. Optimize them for the chosen long tail keyword by following the rules of journalism – start with a headline presenting the core information, continue with a short introduction aiming at conversion (in the given example, buying the shoes), and go in-depth presenting the attractiveness of your offer and why people should take advantage of it at the end. Do not forget to include Calls To Action (CTA)!
When done with the “visible” text, go in and optimize meta data, ALT text, media, etc. as well. Work with H1, H2, and H3 when optimizing headlines. Even though some specialists have pointed out that the importance of H2 and H3 is far lower today than it used to be, they are still a good way to help you structure your content around the long tail keyword you’re optimizing for.
Rules that apply are, for example, that you can’t always optimize for a very popular search phrase as it might be a unnatural one, inappropriate to use on a serious site. In such cases you can optimize for a keyword combination which comes as close as possible to the popular search phrase but includes/excludes some words in order to sound natural.
In some cases, when site owners don’t believe it’s possible to rank for a certain keyword due to strong competition, they might try to optimize for a version of the keyword with a popular misspelling. This way they “hack” their way into search results. Such a strategy is, however, not recommended for businesses and blogs trying to maintain a good reputation as spelling errors are a no-go.
For best results you have to get creative and include the chosen long tail keyword also in CTAs, anchor text of backlinks pointing to the page, page description, and all other places where it’s possible and appropriate in accordance with your site’s structure and marketing strategy. In the same time avoid using the phrase you’re optimizing for in anchor texts of links pointing to other pages as this might “leak” some of the keyword’s importance to such other pages.
SEO specialists point to a recommended concentration of keywords of 4 %. Included in the 4 % are all direct mentions of the keyword. However, to truly optimize your content, you should concentrate more on structuring it well and working targeted with synonyms and context in order to signal the focus of your pages and their relevance to search results.
Last but not least, you should optimize the page URL as well. If appropriate, use directly the whole long tail keyword. If not, try to come as close to it as possible and make sure to include the most important words. Remember though that URLs have also a representative function and often affect the user’s decision to follow the link or not.
No, you’re in fact never done. After you’ve succeeded to optimize your pages for the desired long tail keywords, it’s expected that they’ll work for you for a while. After a certain period though – the length depending on your field and the character of your offering – you’ll have to face the fact that search behavior of internet users changes over time and trends, capabilities of search engines, use of different devices, etc. result in new trending search queries. Thus, you’ll have to start all over again.
While this might not be a pleasant task, renewing your pages and optimizing them for different long tail keywords is good not only for attracting more traffic but also for your general SEO score as search engines like fresh content. So don’t hesitate to invest time and resources in it – you’re going to like the results as long as you do it right.