Local Search

What are Long Tail Keywords


20. December 2010


Long tail keywords are multi-phrase search queries. An example of a long tail keyword would be ‘Where to buy Half Priced Nike Shoes,’ where Nike shoes is an example of a short tail keyword. Long tail keywords are beneficial because they represent the visitors desire for specific service, product, or information.

Long Tail Keywords Concept

The concept of long and short tail keywords was coined by WIRED Magazines Chris Andersen in 2004. Andersens model of the long and short tail keywords shows that short tail, or popular keywords, are only responsible for less than 30% of all searches made on the internet. These short tail keywords yield high volumes of searches but are not nearly as targeted or profitable as long tail keywords. In addition, long tail keywords are much easier to rank higher in search engine results pages. Long tail keyword searches happen a lot less frequently, but put together, they make up the remaining 70% of internet queries.

Why Use Long Tail Keywords?

The benefits and advantages of using long tail keywords are simple. Specifically, long tail keyword, are more targeted and specialized. When a visitor searches for where to buy half priced Nike shoes they are expecting sites that have only half priced Nike shoes and nothing else. This gives you, the marketer a chance to provide your customer with your product and your product alone, which in turn converts to higher closing sales ratios.

While short tail keywords are highly competitive, with long tail keywords there is a considerably lower amount of competition. Less competition means you can rank on the first page of Google much easier. Though long tail keywords do not bring as much traffic as the high volume short tail keywords, the traffic converts at a much higher rate due to being targeted and specific.

The Long Tail Mindset for Local Business

As a business owner, think about long tail keywords by asking yourself:

  • What are your customers specifically searching for?
  • How do your customers find your business when conducting online searches?
  • What sets you apart from other businesses?
  • What questions or phrases are relevant to your business?

Additional information on long and short tail keywords such as this SEOmoz Keyword Research Guide, and this video of Rand Rishkin explaining long tail Chris Andersens model are particularly good.