Keywords are one of the most essential tools in your arsenal. Without keywords, you can’t focus on your copy, or work with your writers to target results from organic search to PPC campaigns. They are essential for the smooth functioning of any site or project online and should be something that everyone must know.
But long-tail keywords specifically can differentiate between a fantastic site and a mediocre one. There are several reasons, but we’ve targeted the top five, to give you insights.
What are long-tail keywords anyway?
Long-tail keywords are the narrow focus keywords that typify the topic – they are keywords that talk about specific areas of your site. For example, if you sell websites, your long-tail keywords could be PHP (as you program in it – or offer support for it, Ruby, Web design, Fantastico, or even things as mundane as whether you host Windows or Linux only.
It’s these specific words that become your ‘long tail’ keywords.
The idea of ‘long tail’ keywords comes from the concept that as you look at a chart that shows people searching, you’ll get a tail of increasingly more focused, and increasingly more specialized words. But because these words are so specialized, they are far easier to monetize in any niche, as people are specifically searching for them.
TIP: When looking at your list of long-tail keywords, consider what your most focused customers are looking for. In the example above, the answer may be ‘WordPress’ or ‘Forum’ hosting. You should focus in on these for optimal success.
Long-tail keywords spread you out through your niche
If there are 1000 fans in your specific niche, and 400 are interested in the general stuff, or are beginners or are looking for information that’s ‘generally’ about the hobby, a well-adjusted and targeted site should by default catch these people. But what if you could interest the other 600 too?
Long tail keywords generally attract a more focused market, but in most cases, these 600 more focused readers are looking for something specific, something only YOU can provide. Catering to smaller, narrower subjects is precisely what long tail keywords are all about.
TIP: Generalization is great when you start a site, but have one or two areas, areas of expertise, or resource, where you can go deeper and attract specific searchers.
Use your knowledge wisely
When it comes to hobbies, we’re all experts at something. Long tail keywords play on this – and while it’s true that you’ll attract less general browsers this way, your expertise may help others. It’s the major reason there are so many niche sites online, and there’s always room for one more. But in sharing your knowledge, you may also be able to monetize it – and that’s where long tail keywords come into their own. By monetizing your content, you’ll find that your income stream becomes more secure, especially if you expand your site in several directions of depth.
TIP: Consider offering some of your content for free, and using the deep keywords on the long tail to create a report, ebook or another piece of fee-generating download. Not only will you establish yourself as an expert, but you’ll protect your keywords for longer.
Know what your clients really want
Knowing and understanding what your visitors are searching for can give you some solid keywords to work on. If you can’t access stats from your web hosting dashboard or don’t know what to do with the stats, consider using a program that is user friendly, such as analytics, or similar. Once you know what people are searching for you can target your content more effectively. Understanding search patterns will also help you plan for content, especially if your site is seasonal or has a busy period and a quieter period.
TIP: In most web hosting sites, you can see what people are searching for, along with any pages that are missing and more. Using this information, you can build content in case they search again in the future. WordPress and other sites also offer plugins to do exactly the same thing.
Don’t be too obscure
It’s important not to be too obscure with keywords – it takes a bit of practice, but focusing on providing content for one lone searcher isn’t going to be as cost-effective as providing material for five or ten searches. It’s important to keep perspective on your content – but equally important to follow your heart. Your passion should be reflected on your website, so if you’re interested in talking to that one person who shares exactly the same interests as you, go for it. While other people may not search for this content, anyone that sees it will see your content as more authentic.
TIP: When all is said and done, make sure your content is as comfortable and conversational as you are. Always share your passion, and make sure your passion has moderation of content that can pay for it!
Do you use long-tail keywords on your blog or use generic keywords?
No matter what type of site you have, long-tail keywords can give you the answer, and the traffic you need. When used appropriately, they are one of the best weapons in any writer’s arsenal and can turn an underachieving site into a super one with ease.
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