Keywords are a key component of search marketing, but what is a long-tail keyword, and why are they important?
First, a keyword (in the context of search engine optimization and marketing) is a word or phrase that someone types into a search engine (like Google) to find websites and web content related to that word or phrase. A long-tail keyword is a precise multi-word keyword phrase, typically three words or more, that someone types into a search engine. For example, let’s assume that someone is looking for one of the many stellar tourist attractions in Chicago.
They might type in something like:
“Tourist attractions in Chicago” is a precise multi-word search phrase that accurately reflects the intent of the user: to find tourist attractions in Chicago. So why is this so important for search engine optimization and marketing? The answer lies in this simple graph:
The far left of the graph represents “fat head” keywords, for example, the word “Chicago.” These types of single-word searches account for a small percentage of all Google searches while long-tail keywords i.e. “tourist attractions in Chicago” account for roughly 70% of all searches. In a nutshell, long-tail keyword searches are hundreds of millions of unique multi-word searches that in some cases might be searched only a few times in a day, but, when taken together, comprise the majority of the world’s search volume.
For marketers, because long-tail keywords are more specific, they’re typically higher converting and less competitive than fat head keywords. From an organic ranking (the free listings in Google) perspective, long-tail keywords are not only easier to rank a website for (because they are less competitive), but are also more specific to a person’s intent when searching for a particular product, service, or information – for example: “custom home builders Boston” or “how to unclog a bathroom sink with vinegar and baking soda.”
For search engine marketing e.g. Google Ads, bidding on long-tail keywords is an important strategy since the cost-per-click (the amount an advertiser pays if someone clicks on their ad) to an ad is typically lower since there’s less competition. Bidding on long-tail keywords also allows advertisers to show ads for the exact keywords that customers are typing into Google to find their product or service.
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