Are you a new learner who just joined the SEO world and is looking for more information? Or are you a seasoned SEO-er looking for the most cost-effective ways to improve your website’s SEO rankings through unconventional methods?
Either way, I have created this article to outline exactly what the title suggests – Finding long-tail keywords. I will be giving you a few tools that are out there that can be used for free. If you are new and don’t know what long-tail keywords are, don’t worry. They are similar to the normal keywords that you know about with a slight difference.
Anyway, I will be addressing all this and more below so make sure you read through the whole article so that you don’t miss anything important. SEO is a subject that needs your full attention while learning because there are a lot of moving parts!
We all know what keywords are – Search terms that users will enter into Google’s search bar in order to look for something. E.g. A search for “SEO company in Colorado” will generate website links that lead to the top SEO companies in that area.
Long-tail keywords are similar to this with the only difference being that instead of using one or two words for the keyword, you use a longer version of the intended search phrase. Now, this is the difference that is shown outwards as it makes it easier to remember. However, the real reason that they are called as such is that these keywords are made up of those that cover a larger number of search queries compared to shorter keywords.
Because long-tail keywords cover more keyword variations, they ultimately will have lower search volumes as they are not searched as often as the root keyword. It will be easier to picture using the image below:
However, if you are looking at the big picture of how these keywords can help your website then you will notice than in most cases, the total sum of the search volumes that you get through adding up all the long-tail keywords compared to the short-tail keyword will result in the long-tail keywords being higher. Therefore, using more long-tail keywords can be more beneficial if used properly on your website.
Let’s look at an example of how these keywords work. Let’s take “how to gain muscle” as the root keyword. This particular keyword will have quite a lot of search volume because the health industry usually gets a lot of searches.
how to gain muscle – 12100 Search Volume
Now let’s take some long-tail keywords that we can use related to the above:
how to gain muscle the fastest – 5400 Search Volume
how much protein to gain muscle – 4400 Search Volume
how to gain muscle and lose fat – 4400 Search Volume
how to gain muscle and weight – 3600 Search Volume
how to gain muscle mass fast – 1600 Search Volume
When you add all these up, you can see that they will go over the search volume of the root keyword. Therefore, adding more of the long-tail keywords to your website will prove to be more beneficial when compared to the short-tail keyword.
If you don’t get the benefits of long-tail keywords through this example, then I have listed down a few more reasons as to why you should use them below.
Why should you use them?
The cost will be low
When compared to the root keyword, there will be much less competition for a long-tail keyword because of the lower search volume. Because there is less competition, it will make it easier for you to rank for that keyword. Therefore, the cost of these keywords will also be low because of this.
Let’s take the earlier example again. When you run those keywords through a verified software or through Google’s own keyword planner tool (this is the most accurate tool available) then you can find the CPC (Cost Per Click) which is the cost that you incur every time someone clicks on your ad. I have used the tool available on www.neilpatel.com to show you how you can use it.:
The keywords listed above that have a tick next to them are the best long-tail keywords in terms of cost and competition. The root keyword has a cost of $2.20 which is quite expensive when you think about how many people will click on the ad.
Therefore, using another keyword like “how to gain muscle and weight” which is only $1.08 per click would more than halve your total cost for running these ads.
When you really go deep into it, there are certain long-tail keywords that are not even written in the same way as above but would still be related to ‘how to gain muscle’. Finding and using these will be even more beneficial to you because it can lower your costs dramatically.
Now, this is only when you use these keywords for Google ads. For SEO you wouldn’t have to worry about the cost but rather the search difficulty as SEO doesn’t have a cost to use any keywords.
We can use the same tool to identify the keywords but when going through the tool you will be looking at different statistics for each purpose. For your convenience, I have underlined the statistics you need for Google ads in red and SEO in green.
If you look at the image, you will notice that the keywords that have been ticked are different from the previous one. This is because for SEO, we are looking at different statistics and this time we need to look into the Search Difficulty (SD) and not Paid Difficulty (PD).Search Difficulty tells us how hard it is to rank for a particular keyword because of competition. If the number is lower, the easier it is to rank.
Specialized keywords mean more conversions
By using these highly targeted keywords you will have a lower number of searches coming in, but the difference is that because it is so specialized, the visitors coming to your site through these keywords are more relevant to your website and so you will be able to convert way more visitors than you would through a root keyword.
For example, someone searching for “muscle” and coming across your site would not be as relevant as a visitor who searches for “how to gain muscle and lose weight”. When someone searches for ‘muscle’ we have no clear indication of what they are looking for, whereas if they use a long-tail keyword we know their exact search intention and so it’s already a warm lead for your business.
When you think about this way, wouldn’t you say that it would make more sense to use more long-tail keywords rather than short-tail keywords. In truth, you need both on your website but the long-tail keywords will bring more value to your website over time.
Have a chance at the prized Google Featured Snippet
A goal that most SEO’s out there would like to get for the client’s websites would be the rich snippets or the featured box as they are called. These are the results that show up right at the top of the page when a user makes a search on Google. Here is a screenshot for your reference:
Why is this so prized? Because when a user makes a search, this is the first thing they see. And the fact that it shows the most important bits of information right off the bat will be highly convenient for the user. As such, more often than not, they are going to click on the featured snippet link.
Now, you can aim for either the top half of the above screenshot or the section below that with the questions. You can give your website a chance to appear in the questions section by including those same questions on your webpage and answering them well. These questions usually tend to start with the words “How to, what is, why does” and more.
The best part about featured snippets is that your website does not have to be ranking in the first position, or even the top 5 to get a chance to be featured. As long as you use the correct long-tail keywords and answer the question providing the most value to the reader, you can get yourself placed on this snippet and get more traffic to your webpage through that.
To get to this point, you need to get the basics of SEO down for your webpage and you have to use ‘structured data’ which is an advanced level of SEO that is being adopted more and more these days.
Ranking for multiple variations
Another benefit of using long-tail keywords is that you are giving your website a better chance of also ranking for keywords that are similar to them or are synonyms to the search phrase used. This is because of the way Google works; when someone types a long-tail keyword then there is a better chance of some of those words having similar sounding words that can be used instead. Whereas, in a root keyword, because it is so short and restricted, the chances of it having synonyms is not that high.
For example – “How to gain muscle and lose fat” can also be written as “How to increase muscle and lose weight”. These words sound similar and so can be interchanged and used for the same sentence. Because of this, using more long-tail keywords can actually bring in more free traffic. Keywords that you were not even targeting can start bringing in some traffic.
The point of this section of the article is not to dissuade you from using root keywords and only to use long-tail keywords. You need to have both on your site. It is just that many SEO’s do not understand the importance of long-tail keywords and I thought it would be good to highlight the benefits of using them.
Where do you include long-tail keywords?
These keywords should be used in the same way that you use normal keywords. There are a few set locations on a website that keywords need to be entered. They are as follows:
Heading 1 (H1)
Heading 2 (H2)
The long-tail keywords don’t need to be used in all of the above sections but in at least 3 of them. You can even use these keywords in webpages that use a root keyword that is relevant to the long-tail keyword.
Top free techniques and tools to find long-tail keywords
- Google Search Results Bar
When you do a Google search, you all would have noticed that Google will give you suggestions on what to search for while you are typing it out like so:
To those of you who don’t know, these suggestions are what people search for usually when typing those words in. Google’s algorithm is pulling that data based on the words you are typing in and then making the suggestion for you.
Using this method, you can start to get a good idea of what kind of words you should use to get the most benefit out of your long-tail keywords. You can start off by only typing in the short-tail keyword and then adding in each word one by one to get multiple variations of long-tail keywords that you can potentially use.
To find keywords for structured data, you can include the starting phrases (where is, how to) before your short-tail keyword and then check the results. This will give you the most popular search phrases starting with those words.
This is a good method to start off with as it gives you an idea about what words to include when searching for long-tail keywords. However, this method doesn’t give you any other statistics to compare such as Search Difficulty and Search Volume and so will not be the best indicator of what keywords would be the best.
- Google’s Similar Results Section
When you do a Google search and scroll down to the bottom, you will find a section where Google suggests some similar search terms that are related to what you searched for:
What this does for you is that it will give you similar keywords that are relevant to the short-tail keyword that you used. This gives you more options of keywords that you can look into to find more long-tail keywords or will give you relevant words that you can use in your webpage. These are called LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords and these are a useful indicator to Google about what your webpage is talking about.
- Google’s personal tool
As mentioned earlier, Google’s official tool is the one that provides the most accurate data of all of them. The tool is called Google Keyword Planner and it will provide you with all the data you need – CPC, Search Volume, and more.
This tool comes free just like most other Google tools. All you need to do is enter your short-tail keyword into the search bar and it will then spit out a lot of similar keywords with all the relevant data shown next to it.
This tool, however, is mostly useful for Google ads as the data only shows that used for PPC campaigns and not SEO necessarily. Therefore, you can find potential keywords using this tool but you will need to check their efficacy for SEO through another tool.
- Question and Answer platforms
There are lots of platforms available now that people use to ask questions from the community and get answers back. Some of these platforms are Reddit and Quora. These platforms tend to be really good for finding information as so many people use them and there are questions on almost any topic because of how big the community sizes are.
When people type their questions to be asked on these websites, they will typically type them out in the same way that they would on a Google search. Therefore, you can end up finding long-tail keywords that are popular (based on the number of views and answers to the question).
When using these platforms, you can adopt a similar style to the #1 method detailed above. You will type in the main keyword into the search bar and then the platform will show you a list of searches that are relevant to that keyword.
- Search Console
Google Search Console is another tool that is given by Google. It is a powerful tool that every SEO must know about as it provides a lot of data about your website and the way users interact with it.
This is quite an uncommon method of finding long-tail keywords as many people are unaware of how to use Google Search Console to its maximum. In the tool itself, you can find a list of search terms that people have typed into Google and for which your website has shown up. The tool will also show your website’s ranking for each of these keywords so you know where you stand and how much work will be needed to improve.
The best part about this tool is that it will show you the keywords that you are ranking for that you never planned on ranking with. Based on your content and your website, there are certain keywords that your website will automatically start ranking for without your knowledge. As such, you could be losing out on this potential because you were unaware. However, with this tool, you can even identify these and then create a strategy to rank for them as well.
Since it is a Google tool, you know for sure that the information is very accurate and so the search terms that you get through this tool and ones that are used most often by real people on Google and so optimizing for them can really benefit your site.
The search volume data is also updated on a monthly basis so you will always have up-to-date information at the ready. However, you have to keep in mind that to use this tool you need to have a website running for a while because it won’t generate data with no data. It will depend on your website and your keywords and content already present.
Jaaxy is a full-blown keyword research tool that is freemium and easy to use. This tool provides all the data that you need including everything that is mentioned above for different tools, all in one package.
You will get:
- Keyword suggestions
- Search volumes
- Competition and Search difficulty
- Information without a website
This tool can do a lot more than the above tools in terms of finding keywords. It can save lists of keywords for research later, show you different results based on the search engine used (Google, Bing, etc), and you can even use it to do the #1 method on this list automatically.
However, the main problem with this tool (as with other 3rd party tools) is that the numbers are not always going to be very accurate. This is because no outside tool can access Google Analytics, Search Console, and Google’s internal data to get this exact information. All this can be found only using Google’s own tools.
Also, this tool has its limitations in the free option. You can only do 30 searches a month and you won’t get all the functionality that was mentioned above. However, this is a really useful tool that is great for the purpose it is serving.
Are Long-tail Keywords Useful?
Having gone through this entire article, I am sure you can deduce that long-tail keywords are not only beneficial but almost necessary for SEO these days. The competition right now is very tough due to the number of websites that are popping up everywhere.
Businesses have realized the importance of a website and SEO and so they are putting more money and effort into doing the same things that you want to do for your website. Therefore, to stay on top of them and still be relevant, you will need to include these unconventional forms of SEO in order to be successful.
The 6 tools mentioned above are not the only tools available out there. There are tons of tools and more coming in every day as the industry gets bigger. You have to keep in mind the tools that you are using though as I mentioned earlier that most 3rd party tools are not accurate and so they can dupe you into creating a wrong strategy that won’t work for your site.
The Google tools – Search Console and Keyword Planner will give you the most accurate statistics. Jaaxy will give you more options in terms of finding potential keywords and suggestions that you won’t get using other methods. Combining both of them may be the best option for you if you are trying to keep the costs of running the website down.
However, if you are looking to scale your website and invest a little into it. It might be worth it to pay for the full version of the Jaaxy software. I use the software myself and that is why I recommend it to you. Good luck in your SEO journey!