Internet Marketing

The Importance of Long-Tail SEO

You could spend an eternity—and a fortune—optimizing your site for broad keywords and still not get the result you want. Why? Because a one- or two-word phrase can apply to all kinds of searches.

You may optimize your site for keywords like “women’s clothing,” for example. But given that there are hundreds of thousands of sites offering clothing for women online, you have a lot of competition. And unless you’re a major ecommerce store, you probably won’t rank on the first few pages.

This is one of the reasons you should focus your efforts on long-tail SEO, which involves more specific keywords. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of long-tail SEO, along with how you can begin using a long-tail SEO strategy for your business.

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What is long-tail SEO?

Any SEO strategy involves optimizing a site for target keywords. Unfortunately, many site owners make the mistake of using words and phrases that could apply to a variety of contexts.

With a long-tail SEO strategy, on the other hand, marketers optimize for phrases with precise intentions. These long-tail phrases tend to be more specific and may even include location-based keywords.

People searching for “nonprofit organizations,” for example, may be looking for a place to donate money, find a job, or volunteer. People searching for “marketing tips” could be looking for anything from web design to strategy. On their own, these are both broad keywords.

When you combine them together, though, to get “marketing tips for nonprofit organizations”, the intent of the search is clearer. This is an example of a long-tail keyword.

Why use long-tail SEO?

As SEO continues to grow as an industry, optimizing for long-tail keywords is becoming increasingly valuable. Here are some of the reasons why.

Better targeting

Short keywords and phrases can have many meanings, meaning that they often return results that are irrelevant to the searcher. Most long-tail SEO phrases have one or two clear meanings, so the results that appear will be less ambiguous and, therefore, more relevant to the search at hand.

Less competition

When a word or phrase has multiple meanings, the competition for a higher position is tough. If you try to rank for these words, you not only compete with those in your industry, but also with businesses operating in other industries.

Long-tail phrases don’t generate as many searches, and as a result, are less competitive. This means that your site has a better chance of ranking high when a search for those terms occurs.

More conversions

When a site is irrelevant to a user’s search, they won’t click on it. Since long-tail SEO aims to optimize your site on more relevant search terms, your site appears only when it’s relevant to the searcher, leading to more clicks and a higher overall conversion rate.

Some of our client Successes

case study Increased
Traffic by
Ocean City NJ paddle boat
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Rate by
image of heavy equipment
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Generated by
“We measure our success by how much we WOW our clients.”

Bill Craig
WebFX President

Bill Craig
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How can your business start using long-tail SEO?

A well-executed long-tail SEO strategy can help you reach your goals much more effectively than broad keywords. But how can you ensure your long-tail strategy is sound? By following the steps listed below.

Do keyword research


Many of the keywords and phrases in your SEO strategy can be used within long-tail search terms. The biggest challenge is figuring out how they should be used.

What longer phrases or questions are people searching to find the information they want? Find out by doing keyword research for long-tail opportunities.

Take the topic of this page, long-tail SEO. Searches for this phrase return everything from definitions to lists of tips. If that were the only keyword we used, it would probably get lost in the mix.

But if we created pages about “benefits of long-tail SEO” or “long-tail SEO advantages,” we’d stand a much better chance of ranking well and attracting new visitors.

Match terms to content

Not every potential long-tail keyword is going to match the content on your site. Some keywords may be appropriate for your entire site, while others may only be appropriate for specific pages.

To make the most of your long-tail SEO strategy, make sure that you have sufficient content for each keyword you want to use.

Start by reviewing the content on your site and look for potential long-tail phrases. Your blog should have plenty of examples, since each blog title could be a long-tail search term.

Think about what questions you’re answering or issues you’re addressing on each page, and then consider how you would look for this kind of information on a search engine. The list of phrases will make a good long-tail keyword list.

Test and optimize

In order to make the most of your strategy, you need to look for room to improve even after you create it. No matter how carefully you research keywords or search behavior, the only way to know which phrases are working is to test them and then optimize your site for the best results.

The best choice will depend on the goal you want to reach. If you’re trying to increase website traffic, the best options will be the ones that drive the highest ranking or the most clicks. If you want to increase revenues, it will be the one that leads to the most conversions or sales.

Perform these tests on a regular basis and each campaign will be more successful than the one before.

Ready to improve your company’s SEO?

Search engine users are becoming more sophisticated in their web searches. Your SEO strategy needs to follow suit. Think about what questions people are asking when performing searches and then make those inquiries part of your long-tail SEO strategy.

Ready to start using long-tail SEO? WebFX can help. Contact us today to speak with a strategist!

Ready to start your Internet marketing and design campaigns? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebFX can help with your SEO challenges.