Long tail keywords are a search term that, quite simply, has more than one or two keywords in it, and often as many as five or more. They allow you to tightly target traffic to a product or service which is highly specific. So, what are long tail keywords? They are the chance to PROFITABLY target visitors in order to encourage more sales. Anybody with a modicum of time can build traffic on the web, but it’s the traffic that sells your services that counts.

What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Long tail keywords are a method of narrowing traffic down to a particular demographic, providing traffic that is tightly focused on the services or products that you sell.

As an example, lets pretend we run a pet shop! We are a business that targets towards a specific radius of our premises. For this exercise, we don’t sell through an e-commerce store, and all we have is a six page website, advertising our business.

If we optimised our website to the search term ‘cat toy’, that implies that we sell all over the country, and it’s not location specific; here’s the (actual) analysis I performed using the Google Keyword Tool:

Global Monthly Searches: 110,000
Local Monthly Searches: 22,200
Competition: low

Huge amounts of visitors, yes; but if they live in Edinburgh, and your store is in Birmingham, why on earth would they buy from you? What are you going to do, pop a pet rat in the post? Your visitors move on, leaving the website and in the process, pushing the bounce rate up (bounce rate is a percentage of the people arriving on site, finding it’s not relevant, and moving on straight away).

Let’s scrap that plan, and be a little more specific – let’s try again with the long tail keywords ‘pet shop birmingham’. These are the results:

Global Monthly Searches: 2,400
Local Monthly Searches: 1,600
Competition: Medium

Bingo! The competition for the keywords is a little higher, but it’s well worth targeting this as your ideal long tail keywords, as you have a captive audience; they are all in the same location as you, and your website is suddenly far more relevant to the product the searcher is looking for. They stay on your website and have a good look around, with the added bonus of your bounce rating falling.

The good news about long tail keywords

Because long tail keywords are highly specific in nature, they tend to be much easier to rank for in the search engine results. Whether you are winnowing down the traffic to a location or a niche product, the levels of competition for that long tail keyword is much less than a typical two, or even three word, short tail search. Consider it as sneaking in the back door, while the big boys are having a punch up at the front.

Summary – What are long tail keywords?

If you are building your own website, or have a website and it’s not doing as well as you hoped, this one piece of advice can make a drastic difference to sales. Researching your keywords, particularly the long tail keywords, is absolutely vital if you want your website to climb the search engine results.

Long tail keywords are, in essence, the ability to focus traffic on your website that is relevant and looking for a product or service that you offer. Used correctly, long tail keywords reduce traffic, but increase that traffic’s profitability. Remember, it’s never about traffic – it’s about RELEVANT traffic.

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