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Benefits of Long Tail Keywords (& Advantages for SEO)

There are many benefits of long tail keywords in digital marketing.

Especially when it comes to creating a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy or Google Adwords campaign for your website.

However, while the advantages of long tail keywords are immense, there are also some disadvantages you need to be aware of too.

So in this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about these types of search queries, including the benefits of using long tail keywords in your SEO campaigns and the reason why they may not be the best choice.

By the end, you’ll how important long tail keywords can be for your overall website growth and visibility in the search engines.

Benefits of Long Tail Keywords

Benefits of Long Tail Keywords (Advantages)

Long Tail Keywords Have Lower Competition

One of the best benefits of long tail keywords is the low competition you face when targeting these types of search queries.

According to Search Engine Land, “70 percent of all searches performed online consist of long-tail keywords.” And Higher Visibility reports that “95.88% of Google searches are four words or more.”

That means only 30% of searches at best are conducted for short tail keywords (also known as head terms) with only 1-2 words. (See long tail keywords vs short tail keywords for more information.)

So there’s a ton of opportunity for you to rank your website for long tail keywords in the search engines because the competition is much lower for keywords that are 4-5 words or more.

The fact is that it’s nearly impossible for any one brand to rank for 70% of the long tail keywords in your industry or niche. So there’s a lot of room for you to compete in Google, Yahoo, and Bing for the type of traffic you need to grow your business online by focusing on these keywords in SEO.

Your Website Benefits from Better Conversion Rates

Another top benefit of using long tail keywords is higher conversion rates.

People who search for long tail queries in the search engines have a better idea about what they want to satisfy their need. Therefore, websites often benefit from better conversion rates when optimizing for long tail keywords.

In fact, the digital marketing experts at Content Bacon report that “Long-tail keywords simply have a better conversion rate than short-tail keywords. The average conversion rate for a long-tail keyword is 36%.”

As your content becomes more targeted to the website visitor’s needs, the higher the conversion rate you can experience, which is a major advantage for any business that relies on organic search traffic for new leads, customers, and sales.

Content Gets Higher Visibility In Search Engines

One of the other major advantages of long tail keywords is increased search engine visibility for your website and brand.

The problem with short tail keywords is that it’s hard to gain visibility in Google, Yahoo, and Bing when there are so many other competing web pages for these generic keywords for the organic rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising spots.

However, the more long tail keywords you can target and optimize your content for, the higher your website’s search engine visibility will be in Google because your brand or company will appear at higher in the SERPs.

Long Tail Keyword Give Advantages to New Websites

New websites typically start off with zero authority, trust, or relevance for the keywords their targeting, which are key ranking factors in Google’s algorithm.

And typically, Google ranks more established websites that have those trust signals in the top SERP positions because they have the quality metrics required to rank for high-competition keywords. One of which is off-page optimization (or backlinks).

However, new websites can gain an advantage in Google’s search engine by targeting long tail keywords that don’t require as strong off-page SEO metrics such as backlinks.

If you create highly relevant content that answers long tail keyword search queries better than the other ranking pages, you can often rank in the top 10 positions with zero or very few backlinks and other off-page SEO signals.

Content Can Be Shorter In Length

Because long tail keywords have less competition, you can often write shorter content to meet the search intent for the user.

It’s common to see web pages focused on long tail keywords to be between 500-1,000 words in length, which is much easier to write than a web page that’s competing for a short tail keyword phrase with web pages that are 2,000-4,000 words or more.

Long Tail Keywords Can Rank Quickly

Following up on the previous benefit of long tail keywords, you can usually rank for these queries rather quickly because the direct competition is so low.

That means you can increase your website traffic as a faster and more steady rate by focusing on the advantages that long tail keywords can offer you.

They Help You Customize Your Content

Because short tail keywords are general in nature, you never know what type of visitor you’re going to get, or what part of the customer journey (i.e., buyer’s cycle) they’re currently in.

But with the long tail keywords, you can customize your content to meet the specific needs of the visitor that you want most coming to your website.

Personalizing your content like this is a good benefit for both users and your business because you can publish the exact type of articles you need to support the various products and services your company offers.

Creating Topic Clusters Becomes Easier

A powerful SEO strategy that can help your website quickly become an authority its niche is to focus on creating topic clusters.

Topic clusters are groups of related content on the site that cover a broad subject area with individual articles. And these content clusters provide contextual support for other web pages within the group.

And a good topic cluster content strategy will contain lots of web pages that are focused on long tail keywords that relate to the broad category, which helps to build topical authority in that area.

Also, topic clusters also allow you to create a strong SEO internal linking framework to help users and search engines find your content.

Download the SEO Keyword Research CheatsheetDownload the SEO Keyword Research Cheatsheet

Long Tail Keywords Are Good for Voice Search

According to DBS Interactive, “Current statistics show that 41% of adults use voice search at least once per day.” And each year, this number is growing.

And when people search for information on Alexa, Siri, and Google home, they typically questions that are 4-5 words or more. In other words, they’re using long tail keyword searches.

By optimizing your SEO strategy around long tail keywords now, you can gain a long-term advantage for your website as voice search becomes the dominant mode of searching for information on the Internet.

They Have Lower CPC for Ads

If you’re interested in using PPC ads through Google Adwords, then you’ll be happy to know that long tail keywords have lower cost-per-click (CPC) than short tail keywords.

Therefore, it costs less to bid on long-tail keywords to attract new customers to your website, which means your ad budget can go a lot further for your business.

See my guide on SEO vs PPC for more details about combining search engine optimization with pay-per-click ad campaigns.

Disadvantages of Long Tail Keywords

Main Disadvantage Is Low Search Volume

Although 70% of all searches online are long tail keyword searches, this also means that the majority of those searches have lower search volume than short tail keywords.

Therefore, this is the main disadvantage of long tail keywords.

Because there are such large amounts and infinite variations of long tail keyword searches a person might conduct, there are fewer total searches for each specific term or phrase you might be targeting for your website.

Long Tail Keyword Content Must Be Hyper-Specific

Unlike short tail or even medium tail keywords that can be written about a general topic, content that’s written for long tail keywords must be hyper-specific.

That’s because a person searching for a query that’s made up of long tail keywords is typically looking for a very specific answer or web page destination. In other words, generic content cannot be used to satisfy these types of queries in Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

Content Requires Expert Knowledge

Following up on the previous disadvantage of long tail keywords, these queries also require expert knowledge on a subject to provide accurate information to the user.

For example, if a person was searching for a long tail query such as, “how to change brakes on a 2021 Toyota Camry”, the content must have specific instructions that apply the exact make, model, and year of that vehicle. Otherwise, the steps needed to perform the repair may not help the user complete the project.

Therefore, if you’re not an expert in a particular field, it can make it harder to produce the content for some long tail keywords because a deep level of knowledge is required for accuracy.

Long Tail Keywords Require a Lot of Web Pages

Another drawback of long tail keywords is that they require a lot of different web pages to be created. You typically can’t rank just one web page for a variety of long tail queries because they’re so hyper-specific.

If you’re going to focus on a long tail SEO keyword strategy, then you must be prepared to write (or outsource) a lot of content for publishing.

Coming Up With New Keyword Ideas Can Be Hard

After you’ve written a large number of articles for your website that target long tail keywords, it can become hard to generate new ideas for future content.

It can also be difficult to keep track of what specific topics you’ve already written about on your website.

For example, if you have a website with 1,000 pages that target question-based long tail keyword phrases related to your industry, then trying to find an idea for article number 1,001 means you have to know what questions were already answered in the other 1,000 posts.

Without a good tracking system for which keywords have already been written about on your website, things can get tough as the number of articles on your site increases.

A simple solution is to keep a log of your keywords and URLs in a spreadsheet software like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. That way you can more easily assess what content has already been published on a long tail keyword so you don’t make the mistake of duplicating it.

Advantages of Long Tail Keywords Summary

Why Are Long Tail Keywords Important?

Long tail keywords are important because both users and site owners receive better results. Long tail keywords become more important as the customer journey evolves so the user can get the most relevant content for their search queries while improving the quality of traffic for the website owner.

According to research data by Corporate Web Services:

  • Long tail keywords make up 70% of all search traffic.
  • Conversion rates are 2.5 times higher than short tail keywords.
  • Pages optimized for long tails move up 11 positions on average compared to 5 positions for short tails.

Although trillions of searches are performed on Google every year, publicly released data confirms that “15% of searches [Google] sees every day are new”.

Therefore, optimizing for long tail keywords is important for building a good long-term SEO strategy for your website because the advantages far outweigh the few disadvantages.

Should I Use Long Tail or Short Tail Keywords?

You should use long tail keywords when you want to rank your content in the search engines for specific keywords that have a high conversion value. Use short tail keywords when you want to rank web pages for general search queries to bring awareness to your brand or business.

Do Long Tail Keywords Convert Better?

Long tail keywords convert better because these keywords are more specific for the user. Long tail keywords have higher conversion rates for people who know more about what they want during a search, but the higher conversion value typically means less organic search traffic.

If converting more website visitors into leads, customers, and sales is more important than general brand awareness, then long tail keywords are a better option for SEO and content publishing purposes.

Benefits of Using Long Tail Keywords Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide on the benefits of long tail keywords.

As you discovered, the advantages of long tail keywords far outweigh the disadvantages, and focusing on long tail search queries can bring in a lot of highly-targeted website traffic that’s easier to rank for in the search engines.

Now that you know the benefits of using long tail keywords, you can decide for yourself how much you’re going to incorporate the targeting of these search queries into your overall SEO strategy.