How to Identify Long-Tail Keywords
As discussed in the Long-Tail Concept & Theory section , the key to successful SEO is concentrating on long-tail keywords. Although these keywords get less traffic than more generic head terms, they are associated with more qualified traffic and users that are most likely further down their path of intent. The good news is that choosing the right long-tail keywords for your website pages is actually a fairly simple process.
Relevance is the key factor to consider when choosing the right keywords for SEO. Remember, the more specific you are, the better. For instance, if you own a company that installed swimming pools, which keyword do you think is more likely to attract qualified prospects for your business?
“swimming pools” vs. “fiberglass in-ground pool installation”
Obviously if someone is searching for “fiberglass in-ground pool installation,” his brain is in research mode. They are looking for information on installation or someone to perform the installation - that could be you! Optimizing for “swimming pools” has its place, but there is no doubt that this keyword will attract a much more generic audience that may not be looking for what you have to offer.
Another factor to consider when optimizing for the right keywords is location-based searches. When looking for contractors and services in their area, search engine users will usually include their location in the search. So, “fiberglass in-ground pool installation” becomes “fiberglass in-ground pool installation in Boston, MA.”
If you operate in one geo-location, you may want to consider adding location-based keywords to all of your pages because traffic from other locations is not going to be that much help to you. If your business operates in several geo-locations, it is a wise choice to create a separate webpage dedicated to each location so you can make sure your brand is present when people in those locations are searching.
Figuring out where to start when it comes to keywords can seem challenging. Guessing is not a recommended practice for obvious reasons. Instead, there are many ways to research and find long-tail keywords that are right for your business. We‟ll cover these in the next few sections.
Check Your Web Analytics
Web analytics tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot will allow you to see what organic search keywords are already driving traffic to your website. These keywords will provide a good baseline of core keywords, and provide you with a list of keywords and performance which you can benchmark your future SEO efforts against.
Keyword Research Tools
Google has a few tools that make it easy to conduct keyword research. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a great place to start. You can insert one keyword, multiple keywords, or even your website address, and Google will then return a list of related keywords along with simple metrics to gauge how fierce the competition is around each one and how many searches it gets on both a global and local search level.
Another tool worth checking out is Google Insights for Search. This tool allows you to enter multiple keywords and filter by location, search history, and category. You are then given results that show how much web interest there is around a particular keyword, what caused the interest (press coverage), where the traffic is coming from, and similar keywords. HubSpot also has its very own Keyword Grader tool, which helps you identify the best keywords for optimizing your site, and also tracks results from each one. This tracking feature allows you to see which keywords are actually driving traffic and leads, and to continue optimizing your keywords over time based on this information.
Search for Keywords
Besides looking at your web analytics data or using a keyword research tool, there is a lot to be said for simply going on the search engines and conducting a few searches. Using the search engines can help you answer critical questions like:
- How much competition is in the space? See how many search results there are. If there are hundreds of thousands or millions of results, ask yourself if it is really worth the time and effort to play in that space.
- Where do your competitors rank? Pick a keyword you would like to optimize for and look at the top 20 results.
- Are you competitors anywhere to be found?
- Where do you rank? Are you ranking at all?
This information will guide you in making a decision to carve out a niche for yourself with keywords where your competitors are not playing, or you may find a keyword you think is worth picking a battle over.
Is Google providing other recommendations?
When you type a keyword into Google, it will automatically populate the search results as you type. This feature is called Google Instant. This is Google‟s attempt at trying to anticipate what you are searching for. Google is giving you results based off of previous search data. You can use this data to your advantage. Simply start typing in a keyword and see what keywords Google populates under your search result. This is a quick way to get keyword ideas.
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