You know that feeling when you find unused closet or cabinet space? When storage is a luxury, you feel awash with relief. Finally a place to put that blender hogging precious counter space, or that collection of books on your coffee table.
Similarly, when you find out that you can house long-tail keywords in your blog, you may greet the news with delightful relief. Forget about reworking headlines on your homepage—your blog is prime real estate at your disposal.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are strings of search terms that get less traffic—and thus are less competitive. The longer the string of search terms, the more specific the results. To riff off Search Engine Watch, you take a longer search like “how to cook paleo desserts” versus “paleo desserts”. There will be more competition for the latter keyword.
“Specific, niche search phrases, usually more than 2 words in length, that offer a low competition, low search volume and high searcher intent.”
How do you visualize this “long tail”? Well, in the graph from Hubspot below, the vast majority of searches fall in the long, trailing-off end of the search engine term curve.
But why are long-tail keywords worth optimizing for? They can be profitable! Moz’s guide explains that people searching ultra-specific phrases are (a) super interested and (b) probably ready to purchase (or convert in whatever direction your site and service are offering).
How blogging helps your long-tail ranking
Your blog is the perfect place to inject long-tail keywords into your site. With finesse, you can elegantly incorporate long-tail phrases into your content. Get a wide variety of long-tail keywords that suit your industry, and watch the traffic (hopefully) pour in.
As Search Engine crawlers cull through your site, your blog is an easy place to put longer phrases—and repeat them as appropriate. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing and other other tactics that can incur penalties (learn about more penalties via Moz).
Use your blog post headlines for your long-tail keywords. The headlines rank higher than body content—but, as Moz’s visual guide reminds us, don’t forget to optimize all your opportunities, including the page title, URL, and alt attributes.
Tips for your blogging!
Now that you know the basics, learn how to implement long-tail keywords in your content with the following pointers.
- Flow in keywords after writing, or weave them in from the get-go, QuickSprout’s guide recommends. Additionally, be forewarned: People may not search for your exact phrasing, so choose your long-tail keywords strategically.
- Keep an eye on what long-tail keywords are bringing people to your site. Per HubSpot’s suggestions, you can use these as clues to what your visitors are interested in, and you can create blog content that’s relevant to their inquiries.
- Tailor your blog content to your user personas, says Moz. Once you have personas created, you can delve into the questions (and thus keywords) your buyers/customers/partners would ask—and those are the long-tails you can optimize for. Learn more about personas and keywords in this KISSmetrics article.
- Create a series of posts to optimize for a specific long-tail keyword (or a bundle of related long-tails). Not only will you improve your page load time (and thus your SEO ranking for that factor, according to Problogger) with a series instead of a gargantuan post, but you’ll also have ample space to incorporate those long-tail keywords with elegant, natural phrasing. Visit the Problogger post for details on SEO-ing your series.
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