“Long tail keyword” is a buzzword that commonly gets brought up in online marketing, but what exactly is a long tail keyword and what are the benefits? If you are looking for those answers, then you’re in the right place!
A long tail keyword is a term used to describe a detailed search phrase, generally classified as 3-5 words long. For example, “Roofing” is a very generic keyword, but “Standing Seam Metal Roofing” is a much more exact search that would qualify as a long tail keyword. These search terms get their name from statistics and how they are represented in a graph like the one pictured above. Imagine on the X-axis you have placed each keyword that leads to your site in the order of most used to least used. On the Y-Axis you see how many times each of those words got searched. As you move to the right on the X-axis, the keywords will get more exact and detailed, however the number of times each term is used becomes less and less. While the most popular generic keywords will deliver a good portion of your traffic, this “tail” of more specific keywords can stretch on for a long time. Although each keyword by itself may not represent much, all of the keywords in the long tail can play a major role in the traffic that comes to your site.
Long tail keywords are important for a couple major reasons, especially for an e-commerce site. First, since these terms are specific there is less competition for each word. In general, For SEO this means it will be easier to rank higher and for paid traffic it means that these clicks will be cheaper. It also means that as a small or medium size business this gives you a chance to specialize and differentiate from major competitors in your industry.
Second, search terms are a strong indication of where a user is in the buying cycle. Long tail keywords are an indicator that the user is closer to a purchasing point. Although the generic keywords account for more traffic, the majority of the time your long tail keywords will account for more of your conversions because the user has a better idea of what they are looking for.
If you have questions of comments about how long tail keywords can play a role in your website, post them below!