One piece of advice that you may have heard repeatedly is: target longer tail keywords for better organic search ranking. But if you want to sell credit cards, why would you target anything other than credit cards? Does it make any sense to put time and effort into ranking for very niche terms?
The short answer is — absolutely. But if you want to find out what long tail keywords are, and how targeting specific terms can help your ranking skyrocket, keep reading. We’ll give you some practical keyword phrases, too.
What Are Long Tail Keywords?
A long tail keyword is a variation, or a longer and more specific version of, a broad search query.
Let’s take a few examples. If you deal with credit card rewards, then your broad term will be “credit rewards.” A longer and more specific version could be “best credit card rewards for Amazon”, or “top credit card flight rewards.”
Why Is Targeting Long Tail Terms Better?
The first reason why you should target long tails is buyer intent. The more specific the term, the better chance you have that the user is making that search query with great potential for conversion and purchase.
Want to get practical? Here is a real-life scenario.
If you were working for local businesses, you may have an HVAC client (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning). Your broad term, then, would be HVAC. But that is a very general definition of a field that has many layers and dimensions.
There may be many reasons for someone to google HVAC. Maybe they want to find out what the acronym stands for, or want more information on how the services work. Perhaps they are doing research and want to learn about the history of the market. In other words, they are performing an informational query. It is hard for anyone — including Google — to determine whether there is any commercial intent in their research.
But when they start looking for “heater repair near me” or “furnace repair Culpeper, Virginia”, there is a very good chance that they intend to purchase a product or service. In other words, long tail searches have much higher commercial intent.
The second reason why you should consider targeting longer terms is because they are easier to rank for compared to shorter search terms. This is especially important for those who are starting out in a new or highly competitive field. Specific search terms with multiple words are easier to target and set you up for more search traffic.
To stick with our example, HVAC is very hard to rank for because more general terms come with greater competition. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever try to target broader terms. But starting will longer tails will get you traction, fast.
Should I Go After Broader Searches?
Of course, you should. But the most effective way to do so is to build a silo. In order to build an effective web silo, you need to accumulate traffic from long tails first. All this traffic will then push towards the top of your silo — your final, broad term — and finally, establish you like one of the major players in your field.
Want to know more about creating content silos? Check out our best advice.