Long tails are making a comeback.
Had you all but written off long tail keywords as a content marketing strategy?
In the past, the ‘exact match’ nature of SERPs have limited the reach of long tails to a small pool of users, keeping them firmly in the sphere of transactions and targeted product pages. That is, until now.
The landscape of search has changed. With Google’s RankBrain algorithm now more sophisticated than ever before, the potential to rank organically with long tail keywords has increased dramatically. Google has learned to recognise natural variations and provide users with relevant, high-quality content.
There are other advantages too. SERP features like paid results, image cards, and rich snippets allow users to find what they were looking for without leaving the SERP, meaning your website might not receive a click. When the searcher is more specific, Google may struggle to provide a definite answer. In such cases, Content featuring long tails is more likely to appear on the standard list of blue organic links and may even appear as an SERP feature.
In dominating search queries for long tail keywords, your brand can enjoy increased exposure and a glowing endorsement from Google. On top of that, you could position yourself as an expert industry authority and establish a reputation that will increase your chances of converting customers as they move down the sales funnel.
How to create content around long tail keywords
Remember your audience
As always, your ideas have to be relevant to your brand and audience. Keyword explorer tools are an easy and effective source of inspiration.
- Moz Keyword Explorer – Practically tailor-made for long tail keyword research, this tool allows you to ‘exclude your query to get broader ideas,’ meaning that fairly broad keywords can be narrowed down according to what else searchers are looking for. This will help you capitalise on Google’s ability to locate and index natural variations.
- Ahrefs Site Explorer – As well as its Keyword Explorer tool, Ahrefs has a Content Gap feature. This lets you see what keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t – use the tool to look for content opportunities and optimise existing pages that aren’t doing too well in organic rankings.
Another incredibly powerful tool, Answer the Public generates questions that users have previously searched for – helping you conquer the SERP features and become one of Google’s rich snippets.
Create content based on the keyword
Using your list of well-researched ideas, pick one long tail keyword and start creating content based around it – keeping the rest of your ideas handy for future content.
Quality remains paramount, letting you grab the attention of audiences, keep them engaged throughout and encourage action once they’ve finished. That doesn’t mean you can neglect SEO – after all, if your content doesn’t rank highly, it might not even be seen in the first place.
Again, keyword explorer tools can help keep you on the right track – Ahrefs lets you see keyword difficulty, search volume, return rate, traffic potential and whether clicks are coming through organic search rather than paid.
Head over to Moz and make use of its keyword suggestions tool which can be narrowed down to only include those with ‘low lexical similarity.’ Groups of similar keywords can be used as subheadings throughout your content – a strategy bound to improve SEO. Moz also reveals a great deal of information about individual keywords and if and when they appear as SERP features.
It sounds simple, but Google your long tail phrase! Pay special attention to rich snippets to get an idea of what you should be writing about and remember that rich snippets are interchangeable – if you manage to write a better piece of content, you have every chance of being seen first. This is especially true if you focus on creating key points that work as self-contained snippets on their own.
Create content based on your audience
Be warned – adopt an obsessive approach to SERP features and SEO and you might forget the primary purpose of creating long-tail keyword content – giving your audience something enlightening, engaging, entertaining, and/or enjoyable. For best results, try including
You can gain greater leverage on social media by referencing a recent news story in your piece. Try working a new angle.
If you are not in a position to provide expert opinion, use the latest research or study to reinforce your message. Comment from industry figureheads will add weight and make it easier to gain links and promote via social media.
Don’t regurgitate. If the idea has been done before, try presenting it differently, for example, as an infographic or case study.
Google’s increasing intelligence and RankBrain algorithm are now working with you instead of against you. Take the opportunity and start putting out some elegant long tail keyword content before everyone starts catching on!