Guide to Long-tail Keyword Optimization

Guide to Long-tail Keyword Optimization

Steps to improve content SEO with long-tail keyword optimization

Copywriters and “SEO gurus” will tell you that SEO is ever-changing, hard and best left to the pros. That may be so. However, using long-tail keyword optimization, you can improve SEO and increase organic search results.

If your business is just starting out, there are a few simple things you can do to improve your online visibility with smart search engine optimization. One technique is using long-tail keywords to optimize your content and blog posts to appear organically in the search engines like Google & Bing.

Search engine optimization is essential in order for your website, blog, and content to rank well on search engine results pages (SERP’s). Google, Bing, and the other major search engines each have complicated algorithms (computer-run algebraic equations) that rank web pages on certain factors like keywords, quality backlinks, and knowledgeable content amongst others.

They change and fine-tune those search algorithms constantly to prevent spammy websites and black-hat SEO hacks from using shady tactics to rank higher in the SERP’s. This is meant to keep the playing field “fair” but can be a BIG HEADACHE for new webmasters or young business websites.

Black-hat, White-Hat. Ummm…What?

OK, let’s blow the lid off this whole colored-hat nonsense and elaborate, shall we?

White-Hat SEO:

White-hat SEO practice is the “right” way to optimize your content so it ranks well in search. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and every social media channel have different ways they rank content. They rate content on factors like keyword search volume, business citations & reviews which indicate trust, authority, and engagement.

These metrics combined with things like keyword density, click-through engagement, and whether or not it’s comprised of useful and knowledgeable content that people will want to read all determine a web page or blog posts search ranking. And the coveted prize for every content creator or webmaster is the #1 spot on Google Search, or it used to be.

Google more recently has grown fond of rich-snippets of structured data, in-depth articles that answer detailed questions commonly searched, and “local ad pack” results and which result in highly-sought-after “Featured Snippets” or specific features Google rates higher than other organic & paid search results by giving them a special boxed listing at the top of a search results page. There are 16 different Featured Content Types that Google shows favor to in the SERP’s. (

Since each search platform has their own ranking system as do social media sites like Facebook & Twitter, most have a list of best-practices that are smart to learn and follow. While search engines use microdata and JSON-LD Structured Markup, most social media sites use Open Graph Protocol (another form of markup language that highlights specific information detailing the content contained on a page or post). It is essential to create useful, relevant content that will answer highly searched questions.

We need to highlight that important structured data with markup language so that their web spiders (the automated programs that “crawl” every web page online to check for content updates) check our content. Then, the algorithm does it’s thing so Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the others use that data along with a domain’s inbound backlinks, keyword density, and spam rating to issue domain authority & trust index scores.

Once a site or domain has been crawled, it gets listed on the search engines by rank and shown based on relevance to what keywords someone types in the search box. “Organic search results” are the goal here as organic search results are free traffic. Unless you’ve got a budget for PPC Advertising and Paid-Search campaigns, this free traffic is precious real estate.


Optimizing for organic search results

A domains organic search rank is the rating based on a combination of on-page SEO, keyword density, and relevance to the specific words in common search queries. Search engine algorithms are also getting smarter. They can even read into the context of both page content and searcher’s queries.

Using buyer's persoans blog post graphic - orange background with caricature of wealthy business man next to white print blog titleSo, to optimize for organic search results, we want to properly use phrases and long-tail keywords that our buyer personas would type into a search engine to find answers to their question. This is also the backbone of Inbound Marketing Strategy.


Using long-tail keywords for better SEO

Let’s say we were to use Google and type the word “content”. Google and the other search engines will find all the websites that rank for that keyword. Assume upfront that the word “content” is too vague for a productive search result.

Long-tail keyword optimization greatly improves search engine results and at little to no cost. Learn the search engine’s best-practices to greatly improve your content keywords, search results, and overall visibility on the web.

The secret to long-tail keyword optimization is part common sense and part good planning. This can be done fairly easily. It’s pretty straight-forward if you know your ideal customer and their particular challenges or pain-points.


How to choose long-tail keywords for our content

We can get a look into our ideal customer’s needs by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of our ideal client. We create one by using information about our target audience, their position, income, habits, and responsibilities from what we know about our past customers. This helps us create informative content just for them.

In addition to giving us insight into our desired audience, buyer persona’s will also help us identify the possible questions our ideal audience might type into Google when looking for answers. Once we know their problems and questions, we can create content to help educate them on their buyer’s journey. By doing so, we also earn their trust.

For instance, if your ideal visitor is a small business owner, they may be in need of help to create great content to attract better leads for their small business.


Better SEO through long-tail keyword optimization

Instead of using a broad keyword like “content”, we can use our buyer persona to tell us that our small business owner might need a more specific question answered. A more detailed search question they might type into Google might be

“How to create great content for a small business website”.

If we were to try and use “content” as our keyword, we probably wouldn’t have much luck driving traffic to our site. Also, any traffic we did gain would be very vague around our specific subject.

Plus, although search engines are getting smarter, they still can’t tell the difference between content as in “content marketing” or content as in, “I am content”. In other words, they still need some sort of context to go with it. So, we should be more specific.


Content without context will miss the mark

The problem with using such a broad keyword is that thousands if not millions of pages on the Internet are trying to rank for the word content or another long-tail version of it. So, using “content” as your main keyword will never get you a first-page search result.

Put simply, the word content with no other information could cause your keyword to be mistaken for another word.

“The art of being content” is not going to bring home the information our small business owner wants.

The B2B clientele that we want might find our site, but due to a confusing lack of context, we might also get a whole heard of confused self-help seekers. This will bring the wrong audience and muck up our content metrics.


Using long-tail keyword optimization to improve search engine ranking

Now, if we were to narrow down our keyword query by being more specific and trying for say, “creating great content” there would naturally be an improvement in definition. With this added context, Google is able to recognize it better. There may be less competition, and also attract more quality visitors to our site. Visitors who are looking for our information.

If we were to take this a step further and narrow our keyword down even further by using a long-tail keyword such as

“How to create great content”


“How to create great content for a small business website”


We will surely find better results.

Now, we have defined a specific client question that our ideal small business owner might type into Google. In other words, the more specific we are with our long-tail keyword optimization, the easier it is for the right visitors to find the information they are looking for.


Where to use long-tail keywords


URL Slug: Our focus keyword should appear simplified in our post slug or URL slug

(ex. ContentCollectiveMarketing.Com/long-tail-keyword-optimization)

Title: Our long-tail keyword should appear word for word, directly in the title of our blog post to start.

Subheadings: Our keyword should appear in our subheadings, either as an exact match or some other variation of it such as, “creating content that drives conversion with long-tail keyword optimization”.

Body: Obviously, we want to utilize our keyword in the main body section of the article as often, but as naturally as possible. This is called keyword density. We can include any variation of our long-tail keyword or contextually matching keyword phrase.

So, instead of just using “content”, we can use alternate keywords like, “creative content” or “content creation” to narrow down our meaning. Taking it one step further, we can hit even harder, “content creation strategy” or “creative content marketing” and phrases along this line will help to rank our keyword higher in the SERP’s.

Social Media Posts: In order to rank well for our keyword, we want to use it when we share our article on social media, email, and any other place we promote our content. The key to ranking for a long-tail keyword is to use it often and as naturally as possible, making sure it links back to our content.

PPC Ad Campaigns: After optimizing your organic search ranking factors, if needed, you can also run PPC Advertising Campaigns via, Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or another platform. Be sure to include that long-tail keyword to boost content reach.

By using more well-defined keywords, we can attract the right visitors to our content, and spend less time trying to find leads for our business. Instead, they find us!


Creating high-quality content is the 1st step

Creating amazingly helpful advice in the form of blog articles, e-books and other informative content for the right audience is the backbone of any successful marketing campaign. It is the pivotal first step to the inbound process, which is to ATTRACT the right people to our content and landing pages.


Keyword Research Tools

There are a variety of keyword research tools out there, and they are NOT all equal. Hubspot, SemRush, and MOZ all have great keyword research tools that are both helpful and easy to learn. But, in reality, the easiest way to long-tail keyword optimization requires is a bit of common sense and attention to your buyer personas.


Crouching keyword, hidden SEO

Sometimes, the best keywords that rank organically in the SERP’s aren’t immediately visible. True, our Buyer Personas and Content Compass may point us in the right direction. But every now and then there is a long-tail keyword optimization that we just don’t think of but fits our content perfectly.

For instance, while performing an SEO Audit on our own website, I found a brand new keyword that increased the ContentCollective Marketing’s organic search results by about 12.5%.

Okay, so 12.5% doesn’t seem like much when you look at the number itself. But, when you think about the fact that twelve and a half percent more organic search results came up with our site as a result of a simple long-tail keyword optimization. That was an increase in website visibility of almost 15% at literally no cost to the company.


The Adjustment?


Local SEO Service >>>> Local Search Directory Listing Service


That subtle, simple tweak of the wording on our site gained just over 12.5% more visibility in our websites organic search ranking! Not to mention it brought us a few new clients as well.


Keyword Research Tools

Researching your brand’s keywords and current keyword trends can not only bring increased visibility organically (FREE), but it also saves money on & enhances all your PPC-Advertising Campaigns. Once your web and social media page’s are optimized, go back to your blog posts and older content you have out there. Do the same long-tail keyword optimizations for them and pay attention to the results!

Good luck out there- If you find success with our Guide to Long-tail Keyword Optimization, like and share our article with your network! By all means, please be sure to comment on any keyword optimization tricks of your own. If your company needs help with content marketing strategy or an SEO overhaul, then head over to our Solutions Page to get in touch with us for a FREE quote.

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