If your website tries to perform for highly competitive, broad keywords, showing up in search results can sometimes be a struggle. If you want to compete with industry giants or local competitors with well-established websites, it can take years to build the credibility, value, and trust it takes to overtake them in the SERP rankings.
Luckily, there are secrets to driving website traffic and generating revenue through search results in even the most competitive markets. Using long-tail keyword targeting, businesses can grow their online presence over the long-term while still generating revenue in the short-term.
Long-tail keyword-targeting is a high-value SEO strategy that might seem counterintuitive at first. Rather than targeting the keywords with the highest search volume, you instead shoot for more specific—and therefore less-competitive—keyword phrases.
But, you might be asking: “how does that get me more customers?”
In this post, we’ll explain what long-tail keywords are and why they’re so valuable. We’ll discuss the advantages they offer businesses in saturated markets in particular and how business can reach more customers and drive more revenue by targeting less popular keywords. We’ll also offer some tips for targeting long-tail keywords, so you can feel confident in leveraging this SEO tactic for your business.
A long-tail keyword is typically a three- or four-word query that is very specific to what you offer your customers. They naturally come packaged with a lower search volume than their “short-tail” keyword counterparts, however, this serves to be beneficial for a variety of reasons.
For a business looking to make the most of a fixed marketing budget, long-tail keywords are a great place to start, especially in competitive online markets.
Businesses have a huge opportunity to reach new customers by showing up in search results. When homeowners in your area need carpets cleaned, for example, they probably won’t have a carpet cleaner on speed-dial. So, they’ll take out their phones or computers and search for carpet cleaners near them.
If the content on your site matches what they’re looking for, you have a good chance of showing up and getting their business. Unfortunately, search engines prioritize sites based on a number of factors including trust, page speed, and quality of backlinks to the site.
If you’re going up against well-established websites, it can take years to reach the top of the search results. So, you have to get creative with your website content strategy, and long-tail keywords are the way to do that.
Your business, especially if local, may never rank well for broad, highly-searched terms. It will be increasingly difficult to see progress, especially when you’re competing online with national brands with large development and marketing budgets. Long-tail keywords are a way to see short-term results while building a long-term presence.
If someone searches for “affordable hardscaping contractors,” for instance, and you have a page targeting that term specifically, you’ll be much more likely to rank higher than if you had a general “hardscaping” page. There may be fewer users searching that longer term, but a higher percentage will find and click into your website.
Showing up in search results is just half the battle. The other half is converting them. For many businesses, this means getting them to click to your site and complete an online contact form, submit a service request, purchase a product, or make a phone call to your company.
When you target long-tail keywords, you can expect your conversion rate to go up. This is because the users searching these terms are more likely to be shopping for products or services, not just looking for information. You may see a dip in overall traffic, but with a higher conversion rate, you can make more money with fewer visitors.
SEO companies can “burn” unsavvy clients by claiming increases in website traffic means their site is doing well. In reality, the amount of traffic your site gets means nothing if the visitors aren’t converting.
Voice search is more than a trend—it’s the future. With smart speakers making voice search easier than ever, it’s becoming increasingly necessary for websites to optimize for voice searches.
Fortunately for business owners, there is a simple solution for optimizing your website for voice search. Create conversational content that applies to common questions or queries people are asking—which, coincidentally, is an excellent strategy for long-tail keyword targeting.
Instead of “keyword stuffing” or filling your site with buzzwords your customers might type into Google, write your copy as naturally and as conversationally as possible. Think, “how would I tell this to a customer in person?” You can expect to perform better in voice search and raise your conversion rate with more genuine-sounding content on your site.
Trying to perform for popular, general terms right off the bat is like trying to drive in fifth gear from a dead stop. You’re going to get off to a slow start, and it’ll you longer to get to where you want to be.
First, you want to hit low-competition keywords to get off the ground. After you build some momentum and credibility in Google’s eyes, you can shift into second gear and target more popular terms with success. After dominating these mid-level terms, your site will build the authority to finally kick it into high gear and compete with the industry leaders.
But where do long-tail keywords come in?
The beauty of long-tail keywords is that they include the short-tail keywords you want to ultimately perform for. For instance, if you’re a plumber in Greenville, South Carolina, you might not show up until page 10 for the term “plumber in Greenville” until you build your credibility. If you target a more specific term like “top-rated plumbers in Greenville, SC,” you can perform higher for this term while slowly becoming more relevant for the general terms that are included within it.
As a digital marketing agency, we have access to keyword research tools and analytics which help us identify the most advantageous keywords to target based on the level of competition for those terms. But, if you want to do some initial research to find trending terms related to your industry, here are some simple—and free—ways to begin identifying long-tail keywords on your own.
First, head to Google. You can search a broad term like a service you offer, and Google will suggest the most popular related search terms that are currently trending. You’ll want to choose ones that make sense for your business, but these are a good place to start when looking for popular long-tail search terms.
You can also start typing a search query you might expect your customers to use, and Google will suggest more specific phrases that users in your area often search.
Finding long-term keywords to target isn’t as complicated as it might seem, you just have to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and think, “what would I search to find a local service company?” Uncovering the most-advantageous ones to target does take some further research, however, which our team of SEO strategists does on a regular basis. Then, we create pages dedicated to those terms, and watch your website move up the rankings!
If your business isn’t showing up where you’d like in search results, long-tail keyword targeting could be the solution. They offer the benefit of securing leads and website visitors in the short-term while building your online presence over the long-term.
At 1SEO I.T. Support & Digital Marketing, we help smaller businesses compete with industry giants, and long-tail keyword SEO optimization is one tactic that delivers consistent results. Before you try to optimize your site yourself, contact us for an SEO consultation, or better yet, let us optimize your website for you!
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