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What are Long Tail Keywords?

You may have heard of “long tail keywords” but perhaps their importance is still a mystery.

What are long tail keywords?

I’ll explain why they are such a big deal.

Long tail keywords comprise of a number of words to make a search phrase that usually has less competition and gives a higher conversion rate. These keywords do not individually attract as much search traffic compared to head term (1 or 2 word) keywords.

However the small amounts of search traffic attracted by the long tail keywords add up to huge amounts of traffic when you add them all together.


What are long tail keywords?

This graph illustrates it. As a search phrase gets longer, the amount of search traffic decreases. Due to the low search traffic, there is little competition around the tail of the graph. This means that long tail keywords face less competition. This is an important factor when it comes to keywords ranking. It is easier to rank a long tail keyword than a head term keyword.


Now, the question is why is ranking a keyword that has low search traffic important? Chris Anderson in his article in the Wired Magazine wrote that the future is not about the mega search traffic of one word keyword but on the millions of niche market that will be achieved by the long tail keywords on the shallow end.  It also been noted with time that small tail keywords get more traffic than the few head keywords ranked at the top. It is now clear the advantages that long tail keywords have over the one-big-term keywords when it comes to ranking. They enjoy little competition and attract more search traffic in aggregate.


It is therefore wise not to invest too much trying to rank one long head keyword for your website when it is easier to rank a series of words that make a long tail search phrase. However, you need to have the right combination of words. To have these words and get it right, you need to do a good keyword research, know about your website and what potential customers are likely to search for. Be cautious not to have a very difficult keyword. This might cost you a lot because of the stiff competition on Google and other search engines. Easy and objective long tail keywords phrases are bound to rank much more easily and faster.

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