Longtail Keyword Research
Longtail Keyword Research is an essential part of producing content for your website pages.
The long-tail keyword research that you do will help you to produce high quality, and highly focused, content for your website.
Basically the pages of your website are evaluated by Google to establish how valuable the content of those pages are to anyone visiting them.
Long tail keywords are simply phrases which are usually three or four words long (or even longer) that someone might type into the Google Search Bar when searching for a very specific item. The search volume for longtail keywords will be less than keywords consisting of only one word but they are considerably easier to rank.
The more value Google places on the content the page contains the higher your ranking is likely to be!
Google does not rank websites it ranks individual pages of the website.
(There are other factors, such as back-links and social signals etc, that affect a pages ability to rank but the page content plays an important part).
You will often see the term 'content is king' on websites that give advice on ranking a website in Google. Many 'experts' believe that the content of a site/page has more of a bearing on its Google ranking than the number of back-links it has (even high quality ones).
For Google to be able to rank the content of your web page it has to know what that web page is actually about. This is where longtail keyword research comes in!
Before you start to produce an article for your web page you need to find a 'keyword' to include in the content. If this keyword appears a number of times on your page Google will be able to see exactly what the page is about.
The longtail keyword research that you do will help you to choose a keyword to use on your page. The keyword you choose should obviously relate closely to the content you are going to write. Your keyword should then be included several times in the content of your page. There is no exact number of times that it should be included. As a rule of thumb aim for it to be between 1.0-3% of the content volume. You also need to include your longtail keyword in the page title and meta description of the page.
Your Page content should include one or more H2 and H3 headings. At least one of these should include your longtail keyword. You should also include at least one image on the page that has the longtail keyword included in the alt tag.
When you put your keyword into the content make sure that it makes sense to anyone who is reading the page. In other words do not include it just for the sake of doing so if it does not fit naturally into the content.
When you do your longtail keyword research you should also try to find a number of LSI keywords (stands for Latent Semantic Indexing).
These are basically additional keywords that reinforce the main keyword you have chosen. Adding these secondary keywords helps to reinforce credibility with Google whilst avoiding excessive use of your main (primary) keyword.
What to look for whilst doing Longtail Keyword Research
The keywords that you are looking for need to fulfill two main criteria:
They need to be terms that people are actually typing in and searching for.
They need to have a relatively small amount of competition.
The best long tail keywords have a very high search rate and a very low amount of competition. The higher the search rate and the lower the competition the better.
Actually finding these types of keywords has become much more difficult in the last few months.
Longtail Keyword Research - Competition
To find the competition for a keyword is extremely easy. Simply type the keyword you are researching into the Google search bar. The amount of competing pages for the keyword is displayed immediately beneath the search bar.
Ideally you are looking for long-tail keywords that have no more than about 2-2.5 million competing pages.
Longtail Keyword Research - Search Volume
Finding the search volume for the keyword is now substantially more difficult than it used to be.
Until recently it was simply a matter of using the Google Keyword Planner in Google Adwords. Once the keyword was entered into the keyword planner you were shown the average number of monthly searches for that word along with a list of suggested additional keywords. There was also a column showing the suggested bid should you wish to run a paid adwords campaign for the keyword.
A few months ago however Google made some dramatic changes and now only shows an 'average monthly search range' instead of giving an actual search figure.
The ranges are 0 searches, 1 to100 searches, 100 to 1,000 searches, 1,000 to 10,000 searches, 10,000 to 100,000 searches, 100,000 to 1 million searches and 1 million plus.
As you can see from the above the long tailed keyword 'train your dog' is showing a search volume of 1K-10K. In reality this means that the search volume could be as low as 1,001 or as high as 9,999.
For longtail keyword research purposes data this vague is virtually useless. For small (micro) niche sites I would normally be looking for search volumes of between 500 and one thousand to target. Obviously using the Google Keyword tool this type of targeting is no longer possible.
It is still possible to get the more detailed breakdown but in order to do so you need to have an active adwords campaign running. If you are simply wanting to use the Keyword Planner for keyword research purposes you are unlikely to have an active campaign.
Long Tail Keyword Research Tools
There are other longtail keyword research tools that are available but the majority of them are paid solutions. Some of them do offer a free version of their tools but these generally have reduced functionality and therefore cannot be considered a long term solution for keyword research.
Paying a monthly subscription to use a longtail keyword research tool is fine if you are going to be doing a lot of keyword research. For anyone who is just starting out in internet marketing, and only doing a small amount of keyword research, the cost of using these tools cannot really be justified.
The cost of using the paid versions of Keyword Research Tools varies considerably from company to company. The basic version of Mangools KwFinder for example will cost you $149.00 per annum. This entitles you to 100 keyword lookups per 24 hour period, which should be quite adequate for most average users wanting to do long-tail keyword research.
There is a free version of KwFinder but you are restricted to just three keyword lookups per day.
If you were to decide to use the Wordtracker Keyword Research Tool (another well known keyword research tool) the monthly costs would range from $27-$99 per month depending on the version you choose. Like many of the paid keyword researchers Wordtracker offers users a free 7 day trial period.
If you are simply wanting to create a list of possible keywords from your 'seed word' then Keywordtool.io is worth taking a look at. It is free to use and the keywords it finds can be exported or copied to the clipboard. There is a paid version available which is available for $48.00 per month which collects twice as many keywords as the free version. if however you also want to see the search volumes for your keywords you generate then the fee rises to $68.00 per month.
Finding Long Tail Keywords to use!
Many of the Longtail Keyword Research Tools are primarily designed to analyse keywords that you have already found in order to help you identify the ones that will be potentially profitable.
Obviously before you are able to analyse the keywords that you think might be worthwhile you need to compile a list of possible keywords for analysis.
There are a number of ways in which you can do this:
One of the easiest ways to start your list of potential keywords is to simply type in a 'seed word' associated with your niche into the Google Search Bar. This reveals the pages that are competing for that keyword. Directly beneath the search bar (and/or at the bottom of the first page) Google will also make a few random suggestions for other related keywords. It will usually put forward about eight suggestions.
Any of these new words that you feel may be potentially useful can then be added to your list.
If you click on any of the Google suggestions a new page of search results will open up for that keyword and a further selection of suggested keywords will also be shown.
The more times you repeat the process the more potential keywords you will uncover.
Keywords that you think might be useful should be recorded on a spreadsheet along with the number of competing pages.
Longtail Keyword Research using Google Autocomplete
A variation of the method above is to use the 'autocomplete function' of the Google Search Bar. To do this all you need to do is type in your seed keyword, as before, and then add a letter of the alphabet immediately after it. Google will then show a small selection of long tail keywords that begin with your seed word but also contain additional words starting with your chosen letter.
As you can see my 'seed word' in the above example is the word 'keyword'. By adding the letters a, b and c Google has 'auto-completed' and made suggestions that it feels might be relevant.