Forest Software

Web, SEO and IT & Business Advice for the Smaller Business

Last updated on April 13th, 2015 at 01:41 pm

What are long tail keywords?

Red Squirrel - illustrates 'long tail'If you have spoken to marketing people or have spent any time reading SEO and internet marketing advice on line you may well have come across the term “long tail keywords” and wondered what that means.

Despite the name, it’s not related to animals with long tails such as monkeys, a long tail keyword is a phrase that has at least, but usually more, words in the phrase that is being searched for.  Examples include :-

  • Electric bike running costs ;
  • Craft shops in North Wales ;
  • Wedding planners in Essex;
  • Accountants in West Yorkshire ; and even
  • What are long tail keywords

These are extremely useful as a website owner, the reason for this is that someone using a long tail keyword phrase when searching is probably further along the process of wanting to buy the service or product.  If you look at the first example above, if someone is thinking about an electric bike the search process probably goes something along the lines of :-

  1. “Electric bikes” – a search that is just a general thought about a bike
  2. “Electric bike costs” – the searcher has read up a little about them and is now wondering how much they are
  3. “Electric bike running costs” – they have worked out that they can afford to buy one (or maybe their employer is operating something like a cycle to work scheme) and are further along the buying process.
  4. “Electric bike suppliers in …”  – now they are ready to buy.

As a website owner which visitor would you rather have?  I appreciate that if someone comes into your site for the phrase in bullet point 1 above there is the chance that you might be able to convince them to stay on your site and buy from you, however if there is a significant amount of money involved most people would want to think about the purchase and will more than likely to search again later for more information.

The other advantage of long tail keywords is that generally the competition in the search results is less – for example at the time of writing in Google there are 28.6 million results for the search “Accountants” while there are only 422,000 results for “Accountants in West Yorkshire” – which do you think is the easier phrase to rank for in the search engines?  Likewise for Electric bikes there are 13.1 million results, while there are only 671,000 results for electric bike running costs.

If  you are building a new website or are thinking of carrying out any form of SEO on your site then bear in mind when doing your keyword research that long tail keywords :-

  • Clearly illustrate the searchers’ intent;
  • Will bring more targeted visitors to your website;
  • Will keep visitors on your site for longer (assuming you have met their needs);
  • Are less competitive so you are more likely to appear higher up the search results.

The picture of the red squirrel is public domain from and is used with their permission.

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Other sites of interest

The Crafty Kitten, a local craft and gift shop.

Welsh Dragons made from polymer clay.

UK Business Services directory.

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