In the world of search engine optimisation (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM) longtail keywords represent an underused and powerful tool to connect you with your perfect clients.
They're more specific and, as the name suggests, longer than their short (one or two-word) counterparts.
It may seem counter-intuitive to use longer, more complex phrases - and even sentences - as your keywords, but by getting really specific you can hone in on potential clients who are right at the point of purchasing exactly what you're selling.
For example, let's say you sell antique furniture. It's going to be very difficult to get your site to rank highly on search engines for the keyword 'furniture'. It's too generic, too many pages are already using it, and it doesn't even describe what you have to offer.
Not everyone looking for furniture wants antiques, and the people who do aren't going to trawl through pages and pages of search results to sift out the antique brokers from the modern furniture shops.
Instead, they will be searching using more specific phrases. Using 'classic furniture' and 'antique furniture' is a start, but longtail keywords really ramp up your search engine optimisation by zeroing in on the people that want exactly what you have.
Perhaps you specialise in antique French furniture, and you have a particular penchant for Louis chairs?
Using the keyword 'handmade antique French Louis chairs' is going to guarantee that you are ranked highly when people search for that term, as it's far more specific and is used by far fewer people.
In addition, you know with certainty that whoever is typing in that search term is looking for exactly what you have. They're not going to come to your page and immediately leave because they're after a bed, and that's not really your line.
Communicate with your existing clients, find out how they found you and what Google searches they run. Get inside their head. If you were looking for what you were selling, what exactly would you be typing into Google?
The downside of longtail keywords is that you draw less traffic, which again, may seem counter-intuitive, but the old adage of quality over quantity certainly applies here.
It is far better to have fewer people visiting your website who are genuinely interested in purchasing what you offer, right then and there, than it is to attract visitors in droves who bounce away within minutes of landing and do not represent your demographic, in turn skewing how you use your website analytics for digital marketing and advertising.
If you're running any kind of pay-per-click advertisement, you need to ensure that your conversion rate is as high as possible.
If the people clicking on your ad are looking for the very thing you offer, the chances of them converting to clients
The very name 'longtail keywords' is a reference to the huge percentage of searches carried out that comprise longer expressions, phrases, questions, and sentences.
The name is drawn from distribution graphs of keyword popularity on a web-wide basis.
Short keywords that are extremely popular, like 'boat', 'social media', and 'restaurant' create a big cluster on the graph but only represent about 10-15% of searches. 15-20% are made up of medium-length keywords, and a whopping 70% of keyword searches are long ones.
The whole graph is often described as looking like a dragon, with the short popular cluster of words creating the 'head', the slightly broader group forming the 'body' and the vast expanse of longer search terms representing the 'tail' - and it's a very long tail!
With 70% of all searches focusing on longtail keywords, you'll benefit from hooking people who are after exactly what you have, right then and there, as well as significantly reduced competition.
In essence, longtail keywords will market your business more easily, more efficiently, and for a lower price than short keywords.