The Advantage of Long-Tail Keywords for SEO

Using long-tail keywords to rank on Google or any other search engine is important. Of course, before we can really talk about ranking it is probably best to define our terms. Ranking on Google is a very specific exercise. Your website does not rank. What you do rank for a specific keyword. When someone searches for something like red bordered widgets, the very thing your firm manufactures, you would like to show up on Google's first page. So what you would be ranking for is the key phrase, red bordered widgets. You would not be ranking for ACME Widget Company. While this may seem like a distinction of little merit, it is, perhaps, the most important distinction we can make when doing SEO.

The Nuts and Bolts of Long-Tail Keywords

Think about what people actually search for on Google, Bing, or Yahoo? I suspect that you could be trying to figure out what exactly people are actually searching for and be at it until the cows come home without ever figuring it out. Of course, Google knows and is happy to share their data with you. Using the Google keyword tool one can, after quite a long period of time find some gems. But most people run away from all that work before they begin. With the proper software, however, finding keywords to rank for is made relatively painless. Not everyone can afford such software in support of one website. Because we design many sites, we invested in the tool that allows us to draw on Google to uncover keywords we are likely to rank for.

Now, a long-tail keyword (actually a phrase) consists of from 3 to 8 words. In my work, I like to say under 6 words. The criteria for a long-tail keyword begins with length but it doesn't end there. The word or phrase must be found within the 'sweet spot;' it must have from 10,000 to 100,000 real searches per month and it must have a low factor of competition. Given all three of these factors:

  1. A real keyword
  2. In the 'sweet spot' and,
  3. Have a low competition factor
The likelihood of ranking is quite high. 

Is this an impossible task? Absolutely not. It does, however, take some work coupled with patience to accomplish. It is our business to do just that and we are quite good at it. Just as you are likely quite good at selling widgets.