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Long Tail Keywords

Written by: Devin Schumacher  | October 4, 2019

"What is a long tail keyword"?

Well, that was one right there.

They are typically questions, full sentences, or well-thought-out (specific) search queries.

Normally, long-tail keywords are more specific than short-tail keywords because the more words you put into a search query the (typically) less confusion there is about what it is you want exactly.

  • Longtail keywords typical are more valuable because of their high purchase intent
  • Longtail keywords are also very interesting because there are way more of them (according to Ahrefs, 92% of all keywords that people type into search engines are long tails).

Targeting long tail keywords is an amazing way to crack into highly competitive industries because even though they are very specific (and typically carry more purchase intent) they are normally not as difficult to rank for.

If you are looking to increase super-relevant search traffic to your website and sell more products/services (even if you are in a competitive niche) than you will want to pay close attention to long tail keywords.

What Are Long Tail Keywords

Long Tail Keywords Definition: Long Tail (aka longtail or long-tail) Keywords are simply keywords or (or in this case key-phrases and even sentences) that people type into a search engine that usually consist of 3-4+ words.

Longtail keywords are usually made from taking a seed keyword and adding more words to the search query to get specific about what you want.

Why Are Longtail Keywords Important for SEO?

For example, if someone were to go to Google and search "t-shirts" what are they looking for exactly?

Are they looking to buy t-shirts or design t-shirts? Are they looking for t-shirts for men or women? Are they looking for someone who sells t-shirts locally, or do they want to find online sellers? Do they want a blank t-shirt or a specific brand?

There's no way to know.

But, if that same person searches "blue american apparel t-shirts" the intent behind that search is much more specific.

"blue american apparel t-shirts" would be an example of a long tail keyword search, whereas "t-shirts" would be an example of a "head" or "seed" keyword search.

source: backlinko

Because long-tails are more specific they usually have less search volume:

However, there are way more long tail keywords than short ones.

For example, there are only 2 ways to write t shirts:

  1. t shirts
  2. t-shirts

But how many ways can you search for t-shirts when adding more words (aka how many more keywords are there when you start looking for longtails)?

The answer is 513,934 more keywords:

Now do you see why your keyword research strategy & content plan need to incorporate long-tail keywords?!

source: Hitwise

Long tail keywords make up the majority of searches.

Use this to your advantage.

Because especially when you are starting out, long-tail keywords are where the money is.

To Summarize:

  • Longtail keywords are less competitive than shorter keywords
  • Longtail keywords have a higher purchase intent
  • Longtail keywords convert better

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

  1. Ahrefs Phrase Match
  2. Google Auto-complete
  3. Competitor Sitemaps
  4. Google "Searches Related To"
  5. Answer The Public
  6. Keywords Everywhere
  7. Google "People also ask"
  8. Wonder Search
  9. Google Search Console
  10. Google Trends
  11. Answer The Public
  12. Forums
  13. Online Q&A Sites
  14. Social Groups
  15. Longtail Keyword Tools
  16. Soovle

We will cover all these ways listed above to find longtail keywords, but to be honest you don't need to use them all.

We recommend you stick to the top 3-5 to start, and if you need more then you can venture down the list.

Ahrefs Phrase Match

Ahrefs phrase match is the easiest way to turn a seed keyword into a ton of long tail kewyords that you can incorporate into your content plan.

1. Go to Ahrefs > Keyword Explorer > Enter your seed keyword > Select "phrase match"

Scroll through to your hearts content!

Google Auto-complete

Google autocomplete is one of our top ways to get ideas for keywords.

1. Go to Google > Enter your seed keyword

One thing to notice about Google auto-complete is that you will get different results every time you modify your search.

So, if you start with "vitamins " you will get the list shown above.

But, if you start typing the letter a next, as in "vitamins a" you will get an autocomplete list of terms people use that begin with "vitamins a". And that works for other letters as well.

And if by this time the ideas still aren't flowing, I recommend trying some obvious words.

For example, "vitamins for ":

The more combinations of words / letters that you try the more ideas you will get for long tail keywords.

Competitor Sitemaps

Competitor sitemaps are a very cool "hack" that you can use to get ideas for content (and long tail keywords).

This method simply involves being able to see all the URLs on your competitor's website.

1. Choose a competitor > Enter their URL into Screaming Frog > Filter by HTML (or export to CSV) > Look through the URLs (and Page Titles)

Google will give you other ideas for searches based on similar things that people search in relation to the keyword you use.

So, if you start with vitamins (or any other search) and scroll down to the bottom of the SERP, you will see this box:

And if those aren't enough ideas, just click on one and then scroll down to the bottom of the next SERP:

Answer The Public

Answer the Public is a cool website (that helps you get ideas for longtail keywords) with some crazy old dude on the homepage yelling at you.

What could be better than that?

Let's search "vitamins" again:

And Answer The Public pulls back:

  • 200 Questions
  • 139 Prepositions
  • 98 Comparisons
  • 520 Alphabeticals
  • 20 Relateds

And check out all these keywords!

Keywords Everywhere

One cool way to "amplify" the Google "searches related to" method is using a chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere.

When enabled, it will give you a ton more ideas of keywords based on the one you searched.

It used to be free, but it looks like they are moving it to a paid tool now. #SadDay

Google "People also ask"

The "People also ask" part of Google is tending to show up more and more on the SERPs.

You've seen them before.

They are questions that other searches that people also use related to the keyword search you used.

For example, if you search "vitamins" and scroll down just a bit you will see this "people also ask" area - giving you even more long-tail keyword search ideas:

If you start clicking on them, you get an essentially infinite number of new ideas:

Wonder Search is a free keyword tool that collects keyword terms that are semantically related to your seed keyword.

Basically, you enter a keyword and get a big list of those "People also ask" type keywords.

However, at the time of writing this, it seems they are having problems so I can't show you an example.


Google Search Console

Google Search Console "Performance report" shows you keywords that your website is showing up for somewhere on Google's index.

Google Trends is a tool that allows you to see interest related to a search term over time, so you know if the topic you are researching is growing or shrinking in consumer interest.

It looks like the interest for "long tail keywords" is on the rise .. kinda.

At the bottom of the page you can get more ideas:


Forums are goldmines for getting a pulse on your audience.

It's a place dedicated for questions and answers - and the people posting in them are obviously die hard enough to signup and have conversations.

We highly recommend making a list of forums and taking a few hours (or ideally even days) going through and seeing what kind of pain points your audience has - these are issues you can create content around and help give people answers.

If they are asking these questions in forums it means one of 3 things:

  1. They couldn't find the answers on Google
  2. They don't trust the answers on Google
  3. The answers on Google don't work

A perfect opportunity for you to slide in to help people and make some sales: win-win!

Start by searching for forums:

Scroll through the topics and get instant ideas for content (and also people you can contact to start engaging & potentially drum up some interest in your products/services)

Online Q&A Sites

Online Q&A sites are like forums, but a little more accessible.

They are places where people ask questions - and another amazing place for you to find some long tail keyword & content ideas.

Here are some of the popular Q&A sites you can search through:

  • Quora
  • Yahoo Answers
  • Woofresh
  • Reddit
  • Does anybody else…?
  • Explain me Like I'm Five
  • Ask Science
  • Ask Historians
  • Ask Culinary
  • Answers
  • Tip of my tongue
  • AskOpinion
  • Kuora
  • Yahoo Answers
  • Answers
  • Questions2Answer

The premise is the same: Search your keyword > Look at what people are asking (use these as keyword ideas).

Pro-tip: After you begin creating content you can go back to these sites & have conversations with people and link them to the resource you made on the topic.

Social Groups

Use social groups like you use Forums and Q&A sites.

  1. Join Groups > See what people are asking questions about > Get ideas for keywords & content pieces
  2. Write your content
  3. Go back to the groups & engage in conversations with people and link to your helpful resources


Soovle is a website that gives you search suggestions & auto0completions from the top providers on the internet.

As soon as I run my search (sticking with the example of "vitamins") you start seing the autocomplete information from all the different search engines pictured above:

Longtail Keyword Tools

If all of the previous strategies still left you feeling incomplete we have added a few more keyword tools that you can use to find even more ideas. Many of these are paid, but feel free to explore them and have a little fun learning new stuff!

  • Ahrefs
  • SEM Rush
  • Ubersuggest.io
  • Keywordtool.io
  • Wordtracker

And if you are even more pedantic than that, just want the world's biggest list of tools, or are just a plain old keyword masochist - check out or article dedicated to showing you all the keyword research tools that are on the market.

How to Use Long Tail Keywords

1. Create a piece of content optimized around the longtail keyword

We deployed this strategy for one of our clients and you can see that the long tail keyword pieces of content we created are actually their Top Pages!

2. Add longtail keywords into your articles (if they are semantic keywords, LSI keywords, or supporting keywords)

Adding longtail keywords (semantic, LSI & supporting) helps build the breadth & comprehensiveness of your article.

They help make your content a super valuable resource that will answer questions thoroughly but also help with SEO because they add additional keywords which allow your article to rank for so many more phrases that can bring you search volume.

Here is an example from one of our clients where we created a big article around the seed keyword "essential oils guide" but ended up indexing for a ton of additional longer tail keywords.

You can see from the screenshot that by deploying this correctly, you can turn an article that was built around one seed term (essential oils guide) into an article that ranks for 160+ keywords!

3. Use long-tail keywords as your "cluster content" pieces that bolster & link back to your pillar pieces of content

Final Thoughts

  • Longtail keywords can power your content strategy to increase website traffic & sales.
  • Longtail keywords are easier to rank for and carry more purchase intent.

If you have any questions about what you read in this article, or if you just want help getting it done, we highly recommend you join the free SERP University Group, where we are dedicated to helping you with all your SEO & Digital Marketing questions.

Join us, and hundreds of world-class marketers, who are helping themselves and their clients make more money with online marketing.

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