Long Tail Keywords

July 17, 20120 Comments

It’s All About the Long Tail

By “long tail”, I’m referring to the typically longer keyword phrases that are very specific to what your website is selling and what people are looking for. These phrases differ from the more basic, primary keywords that are heavily searched (cleverly called the “head”). I’m certainly not referring to the primates at your local zoo!

For example:

Head Keyword Long Tail Keyword
mountain climbing California mountain climbing tours
laundry detergent environmentally-friendly laundry detergent
hardwood floors recycled pine flooring
cribs convertible wood baby cribs


The long tail of keyword research is absolutely fundamental to your online success. Because they have less competition from other websites, long tail keywords give you a much better chance of ranking highly in the search engines – and that means more visibility for your website.

And here’s even better news: the people who search online using long tail keywords are far more likely to become buyers! These specific keywords trigger significantly higher conversions than general terms and phrases.

Something else that may surprise you: The long tail of a keyword represents a far greater number of searches than the head. In a 2008 report, Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise, revealed that for any given topic, the top 100 keywords account for just 5.7% of all website traffic – while long tail keywords account for the remaining 94.3%!

Picture of the long tail graph














Above: An illustration of the huge number of low competition, high conversion alternatives that can be found in the long tail of primary keywords.

So what does the long tail mean for you? Target a large number of long tail terms, and you can generate lots of highly targeted traffic. According to SEO expert Mark Nunney, “To be profitable, most websites must rank well for hundreds of thousands of keywords (I would say millions, but I don’t want to scare you!).”

Since there are so many potential long tail combinations that searchers may use to find what you offer, you’ll likely need to create more pages on your website. Luckily for you, Google – the world’s most popular search engine – loves sites with plenty of pages, and tends to reward them with higher rankings!

Are you the wiser now about long tail keywords? Let us know your views, plus any questions you might have, in the comments box below as we’d love to hear from you!


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About the Author ()

Patrick Clarke - 21st Century Business Entrepreneur (Social Media Business Professional, Online & offline business owner & founder). If you are a business owner or professional person looking to grow your business and get more sales or clients, or expand your network of connections, then I can help you. If you need help with your LinkedIn profile, have a "dead" Facebook Fan Page, need professional blogging articles or don't know how to use Google+ for your Local SEO Marketing, then get in touch. I would be pleased to assist. The results might astonish you!

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