Long tail keywords are a type of keywords that has at least three or more words in the phrase. As opposed to generic, highly competitive short tail keywords which receive the bulk of traffic and attention, these less competitive keywords individually get very slight percentage of a website’s traffic. Since, these keywords are highly refined and specific they do not witness high traffic.
Even though long tail keywords do not receive much traffic, they have been getting lot of attention from SEO consultants over the last few years. There are 2 reasons for this.
A cursory look in to any website’s traffic stats will reveal that a bulk of traffic comes from few keywords which are often “short tail” generic keywords. And there will be hundreds of other less fancied keyword which will be generating the rest of the traffic. These long tail keywords will be bringing in few hits but when combined contribute a traffic which cannot be ignored.
The second reason is that since these keywords are more specific, the traffic they bring in is highly relevant and thus have much better conversion rates.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. One keyword is “Flat in Noida”. This keyword may bring lot of traffic for any website that ranks well for this keyword. After all, Noida is amidst real estate boom and everyone wants to own a property there. There is another keyword – “2 BHK flat in Noida”. The competition as well as traffic will be less than the previous keyword but you can bet that the traffic is much more relevant. There are thousands of people who are looking for a flat in Noida but everyone must have different requirements. Some may want a studio apartment, while other may need a 3 BHK and others may want a 2BHK and so on. When a user searches with more detailed description (long tail keyword) a site which is best optimized for that keyword will come at top in search result. In this case, a site well optimized for 2 BHK flat in Noida will receive highly relevant traffic.
Now, take this example a bit further, if a user searches for “2 BHK flat in Noida for rent”, it refines the search even more.
A long tail keyword is how laypeople search. People do not search as SEO Specialists may want them to. People search in a variety of ways, using various combinations of keywords which generic keywords do not capture.
So the most important question. Should you as a SEO consultant focus on long tail keywords too much? Does this mean that you use long tail keywords as anchor text for in your link building using link exchanges, link buying, article marketing and even forum signatures?
I would say NO. Long tail keywords are not competitive. There is not much competition among websites for them. There maybe hundreds of such keywords which may bring 1-2 hits per month for you. Working for all of them is not feasible. Off page SEO activities will be futile in this case. A much better approach will be to include the keywords in your website content. How do we do it? Just make copy keeping in mind the real people and not create content to lure search bots. Make the content look natural. Soon you will find that you will be getting even larger number of visits from keywords you didn’t know existed.
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