How to utilise long-tail keywords

When improving your SEO it is important to reach for any and every opportunity available. The most common starting place for people is to identify and target keywords with the highest volume of searches. The significant drawback to this is that you will be competing with a high volume of larger companies with a greater amount of resources.

Whilst almost everyone loves to see a small business punch above their weight the reality is that in terms of high volume keywords it can be exceedingly difficult. Fortunately however a much easier way to rank higher is by utilising more specified, long-tail keywords as your main target of keywords.

To clarify, long tail keywords are generally three to four word phrases that a highly specified to what your business is selling. The advantage of long tail keywords is that customers use the phrases more specifically when they have intent to buy instead of a more generalised research purpose. They are low competition and high conversion.

These keywords have significantly lower search volumes however; the benefit to this is that competition within the keyword search is lowered significantly. Depending on what industry your business is in you may have little to no choice but to have a long tail keyword. The advantage to having a focus on long tail keywords is that it allows for most businesses to be able to set realistic expectations with regards to SEO goals and successes.

However in order to get the greatest amount of utility from long tail keywords you must utilise them correctly. Below are three helpful tips to use to leverage long tail keywords.

  1. Focus on localised searches

Local businesses tend to struggle competing against large companies in regards to keyword searches; in the world of SERPs there are always going to be those industry giants that cannot be competed with. However since larger businesses are focussed on short tail keywords they tend not to focus as much on long tail.

Customers almost always look up a local business before going to their physical location. When searching for nearby businesses you may specify location by using suburb/city, post code or phrases such as “near me”. Focussing on such phrases can be extremely beneficial, as researching before going to a physical location has become almost a natural action for some people.

According to research 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information, whilst 76% of people making a local search via their smartphone went to a nearby business within a day of making the search. These statistics show the importance of local searches, hence the importance to have a localised focus.

If for example you ran an Italian restaurant, then using “Italian Restaurant” as your keyword phrase will place you amongst strong competition even those from regions, which you wouldn’t realistically be in competition with. Such a focus is not of benefit to either you or your target audience.

By shifting your keyword phrase to be localised such as “Italian Restaurant Claremont”, the search traffic would be lower however so too would competition, it is also more relevant to the interests of the customer conducting the search.    

  • Keywords focussed on intent.

Whilst conducting your research into long tail keywords for your SEO content, you should ensure to include “intent keywords”. Intent keywords tend to be commercial and generally represent the final stages of the sales funnel.

When making a purchase online, the vast majority of the time you will be conducting research prior to making the purchase. This is not too dissimilar from how online searchers act, they will go through all the stages of the buyer’s journey to gain all the relevant information and data.

It is through this process that most people tend to lean more towards long-tail keywords in order to find more relevant and specific results for the product or service they researching.

The correct keywords will help to outline what consumers are searching for during their purchase process. At first a consumer may start with a general search such as “red jumper”, which would yield a high search volume and be very competitive. However in the next stage of their purchase process they will begin to specify further such as “woollen red jumper”. The further they specify the more relevant and less competitive the results will be.

Using intent keywords like “cheapest” and “best” generally have a lower volume of searches, however the small number of people who do search with these words can often be worth more a broader less specified audience. The further into the sales process the more targeted and committed a person is likely to be, despite the lower search volume. Through intelligent use of intent keywords you will have a better chance of ranking highly, despite requiring fewer searches.

A useful tip is to regularly use Google Analytics to monitor your organic traffic. You should identify which keywords are directing potential customers to your site, as well as which specific pages. Afterwards determine what parts of the landing pages worked to draw the customers in. Finally look at your web pages with the lowest traffic that you wish to improve the rankings of. Why are they ranking low? What can you do to optimize them? If you put yourself in the shoes of a customer, you can begin to understand their intent through the ranking of your keywords. It is likely that those low ranking pages are not addressing the consumer’s intentions. You should utilise what you have discovered about intent keywords on your high traffic pages to rectify the mistakes on your low traffic pages.

  • Using Conversational Language for Keywords

The rise in use and capabilities of voice search technologies such as Siri and Alexa is an important trend to take advantage of.  It offers a new level of convenience and is a fun way to conduct research, however it does complicate SEO.

Although there is the concern amongst some that voice search will make current consumer behaviour obsolete and negatively impact SEO practices as a result. This however isn’t exactly true, although it will be necessary to make adjustments to facilitate this technology as it becomes more and more prevalent throughout society.

The manner and wording in which people conduct voice search will be different to how they would type their search. As a result of this SEO practices will be forced to re-strategize the wording and structure of their keywords, especially long tail keywords.

In regards to long tail keywords for voice search, they are more likely to be more conversational, and reflect how someone talks person to person. It is also important to note that the majority of voice searches are also local searches, meaning that having a local focus in your long tail keywords is even more important. It is important for your long tail keywords to allow for a happy medium for both voice and typed searches. Both types of searches are extremely important so it is important not to neglect one aspect in favour of another.


The use of long tail keywords is an extremely useful yet often overlooked tool in regards to optimising your SEO. They may not have the largest pool of potential customers (compared to short tail keywords) however their likelihood of conversion into customers is significantly better. With correct utilisation and effort, long tail keywords can provide a relatively cost effective and straightforward method to improve your SEO rankings.

Need help with your SEO? Contact us at Media Lion Digital Marketing Agency for a free strategy session today!

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