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Why Going Long With Long-Tail Keywords Is Sometimes the Best Strategy

Posted by Selena Lawson on December 2, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Long-tail keyword strategyWhen it comes to search engine marketing (SEM), keyword strategy remains essential. Social media and other digital marketing channels may provide streams of traffic and referrals, but paid search depends on key phrases to effectively target consumers, drive website traffic and generate conversions.

Long-tail keywords may seem like an unnecessary refinement due to a potentially narrow scope, which can make targeting seem too limited to add value, but this perspective overlooks one fundamental truth of the Internet. Many users from all over the world are running Google searches on a constant basis, and some are using specific phrases as they search. Long-tail keywords focus on a select niche, but this niche has strong volume for your prospective targets.

If you're new to the concept of long-tail keywords or aren't sure how to use them for SEM, here's a quick primer.

The Value of Going Long

A long-tail key phrase lacks the competition a shorter keyword might have, and it often says more about the nature of an online user's interests. For example, the key phrase "running shoes stores Mikwaukee" won't be as commonly sought after by advertisers as the words "running shoes". Although a search for "running shoes" could relate to many things, such as information about running shoe manufacturers, running shoe benefits and a litany of other topics, a search for "running shoes store Milwaukee" gives us more information about the nature of the query, including the user's geographic location and interest in finding a shoe retailer.

By using a longer phrase, a running shoe company in Milwaukee can drive traffic closely aligned with the brand's offerings. Specific key topic targeting most likely costs less than a broader search term and can produce a higher conversion rate, so brands can fill out SEM budgets with similar cost-effective key phrases, boosting the potential bang for their buck.

Upgrading Your Strategy

Once you've made the decision to use long-tail keywords, the challenge is to find the right ones to fit your brand and your audience. As Search Engine Land suggests, one strategy is to look at the long-tail keywords your competitors target. Although you don't want to replicate what they're doing, you can pull inspiration for similar long-tail variations better fitting your brand's digital marketing goals.

You may also want to consider keyword software to help generate long-tail search terms. Solutions such as Google Analytics and Long Tail Pro can prove invaluable in generating a long list of options. These tech tools won't provide a finalized list to target, but they may help you brainstorm. From here, you determine which key phrases and topics are best suited for your campaign, keeping in mind your audience, competitor research and how it all fits within your branded content.

Finding appropriate key phrases will take time, and naturally integrating those keywords into your content will require a learning curve. However, with the paid search space as competitive as ever, brands are discovering the cost-effective benefits of going long with keyword strategy.

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