Sometimes, a big piece of a small pie is better than a small piece of a big one. If you’ve been trying hard to rank for those highly competitive, highly searched terms – you might have been struggling to make an impact.
Yes – those terms with hundreds of thousands of monthly searches might seem like the be-all and end-all when it comes to ranking – but they’re not. The reality is – long-tail keywords can help you fine tune your audience, filter customers down to those who are more motivated to spend money, save time and money all while being easier to rank for. We’re going to look at how long-tail keywords could be the shortcut to your ranking success.
What are long-tail keywords?
Instead of trying to rank for specific, broad terms – try thinking outside of the box a little. Those broad terms do get tons of traffic, but they’re also hard to rank for (because so many other people are trying to). This could leave you fighting for scraps. Try and find a niche.
Long-tail keywords add something to the beginning or end of a search term to fine-tune it. The more you add, the more it’ll filter your results.
Instead of just trying to rank for something like “web design”, try carving out a more selective niche for yourself. “Web design services”. How about, “cheap web design services”. Or, “Local cheap web design services”. Each of those terms is getting more and more niche – you can take things as far as you like.
How can long-tail keywords help fine-tune your audience?
The more “niche” a term is – the fewer visitors you’ll get. This might sound like something you’d like to avoid – but it could actually be an advantage. These niche keywords should be much, much easier to rank for.
They’ll also fine-tune your visitors for you – giving you more motivated visitors who are already pre-selected for your niche.
Filtering your visitors down to only those who’re looking for exactly what you’re offering is a GOOD thing. You might get fewer visitors, but they’ll have arrived at your site searching for EXACTLY what you’re offering.
Ranking for a broad, non-niche term might deliver you thousands of visitors who weren’t really looking for what you’re sites offering anyway. They have a quick look, then leave. They don’t come back, either. It’s a waste of bandwidth and a waste of effort trying to entice them.
Then think about someone who’s looking for something really particular. They might have even been a bit sceptical that they’re even going to find a site that offers exactly what they’re after – but they search for it anyway. And then they find you. You’ve already got a site offering exactly what they looked for. This builds loyalty and delivers you visitors who are much easier to convert to a sale.
By using specific “active” long-tail keywords you can also filter your audience even further. People search for things like “[keyword] discount” when they know they’re about to spend some money – but just want to see if they can make a saving before they do so. If you’ve got the right discount to offer them, you should be able to make the sale.
By using the right long-tail keywords you’ll not only get captive visitors who are looking for information on your specific niche, but you’ll also get motivated users who are ready to spend money.
Why is a big piece of a small pie better than a small piece of a big one?
Most research suggests that you really need to be on the first page of Google to get any sort of worthwhile clickthrough. The majority of users will mostly click on the first couple of results on the first page. Up to 34% of the people who search for a specific term click on the very first result. Only 1% click on the 11th place (top of the second page).
If you think about a simple cost-benefit analysis – you could throw up 20 niche sites focussing on different keywords with the same time and effort it takes to rank for one competitive search term. You might as well rank lots of smaller, niche sites that you can get high up on the first page instead of failing to get page 1 with a big search term.
What are some good long-tail keywords to use?
As we’ve looked at, you want to try and get visitors who have used “active” keywords while avoiding those looking for a free ride. People often search for a “review” of a product before they buy it, so you could try adding that.
People also like to use the current year to fine-tune their results, as the internet is full of old or even outdated information. But remember to update your sites when the year changes!
Terms like “scam” or “legit” might seem slightly negative, but people do actually use these terms when they’re just learning about a new product and they want to check if it’s legitimate. If you can have a site there to allay their concerns – you could make a sale.
Are there any long-tail keywords to avoid?
People who search for things like “free download” aren’t looking to spend money, so avoid keywords like that.