The SEO world is full of weird and wonderful strategies to make websites rank well in search engines. One particular method is to focus on long-tail keywords. In a nutshell, they are phrases containing two or three words or more.
Many SEO experts consider long-tail keywords the golden rule of improving website rankings. In fact, quite a few still do. But, it seems that long-tail keywords have fallen out of favour these days.
Does that mean they aren’t as important as they once were? Not at all. Here’s why:
People use more than one keyword in search engines
When you want to find out about something, the first thing you do is visit a search engine like Google. The next thing is to type in a phrase, such as “New York Auto Show.”
People know that by typing in something more specific, they’ll get back relevant results. Using the above example, no-one would type in “New York”, “Auto Show” or just “cars”. They would make their search criteria more relevant.
If your site features content relating to the New York Auto Show, you would optimize your pages for it. So, you might have a “New York Auto Show” section on your site. And you would also use that long-tail keyword where it’s relevant to do so.
It’s unlikely people will stop using long-tail keyword searches.
Even Google uses long-tail keywords
You can ask Google some questions and it’ll (usually) give you relevant answers. For instance, ask it “what’s the weather in London” and it’ll tell you.
Some people assume they have worked on integrating an artificial intelligence engine. In a sense, they have. Google picks out certain long-tail keywords from your questions. For the above example, it’s “weather in London.”
In fact, if you type that specific search criteria, you’ll get the same response back as before. As you can see, long-tail keywords are relevant in SEO today as they were many years ago.
There is less competition for long-tail keywords
For some reason, many online marketers focus on single keywords like “car” or “weather.” The problem is they end up spending too much of their clients’ money on SEO for those singular keywords.
Why? Because competition is high for them. Instead, it makes more sense to concentrate on long-tail keywords. First of all, there is less competition. That means it’s cheaper from an SEO point of view. Second, Web surfers can enjoy more targeted results.
Long-tail keyword optimization is better for local searches
It’s no secret that Google offers a plethora of local marketing options. Maps and Places are just two products that rely on relevant local results. For bricks and mortar businesses, long-tail keywords are a godsend for that purpose!
How to find the right long-tail keywords
By now you will have recognized the benefits of including long-tail keywords in your SEO. But, how can you find the right ones that are relevant to your site?
Many online tools can help you find out. Google themselves offer a keyword research tool for AdWords customers. There’s also the free Google Trends system too.