If you’re familiar with SEO strategies, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “long-tail keyword.” Many people believe that a long-tail keyword is defined by how many words are used in a particular search, but that is technically incorrect.
What is a long-tail keyword?
The majority of search phrases that a user types into Google are specific and tailored to what the user is searching for. Due to the preciseness, the search volume tends to be significantly lower on long-tail keywords. Ahrefs search demand graph shows highly-focused search queries, depicting a “long tail.” This is where the term long-tail keyword comes from.
A common SEO practice is to target keyword phrases with more words as they are typically easier to rank for and bring targeted traffic with the desired intentions. Keywords with fewer keywords tend to be less specific and are generally more competitive to rank for. This is why people tend to assume long-tailed keywords have more words.
Why are long-tail keywords valuable?
Long-tail keywords generally come with less competition, which makes them much cheaper for running paid search marketing campaigns. When you bid on a low competition long-tailed keyword, the cost per click is lower. By targeting these more specific long-tail keywords in your Google Ads campaigns, you can achieve higher rankings on relevant searches without paying a premium for every click.
Long-tail keywords are actually how people search the internet. A person usually conducts a search when they are looking for something fairly specific. When they already have an idea of what they are looking for, they craft their search query to reflect that. Keep in mind that people usually search for one of three reasons — to learn something, to go somewhere, or to do something.
An important aspect of Google’s algorithm is that your content is relevant to search terms. The more specific a keyword you target, the more your content and keyword will reflect each other.
How to find long-tail keywords
There are great keyword research tools on the internet. Start by typing a search query into the Google search bar and Google Suggestions will pop up based on what you started typing. You’ll see a variety of suggestions that people are searching for, though it’s important to remember these are not necessarily specific to what you are looking for. With that in mind, Google Suggestions are a great starting point for your long-tail keyword research, though you should not rely solely on that.