Keyword Marketing

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords: 9 Ways to Discover Long-Tail Terms

By Elisa Gabbert November 07, 2012 Posted In: Keyword Marketing Comments: 26

Long Tail

Let this long-tailed tit be your guide! (Via BinaryApe)

We’ve been banging the drum about long-tail keywords for a long (ahem) time. Recently, I explained why it’s so hard to rank for competitive keyword phrases with a new website. The answer? Keep trying, and target more specific, less competitive long-tail keywords in the meantime. We also talked about whether you should target head terms or long-tail keywords in my Content Marketing FAQ. The answer? BOTH! As you’re building out your site content, your keyword taxonomy should naturally include both broad and narrow terms.

Hopefully by now, whatever the size, type, or age of your business, you understand that long-tail keywords should be a part of your SEO content strategy. The long-tail keywords you find could be used as the title and main topic for a highly targeted blog post or article (or video, or infographic, or any other type of content), or you could use them as variations to better optimize a longer guide or article targeting one primary keyword – for example, by using the long-tail keywords in your subheads and image file names.  

So where should you go to find those traffic- and lead-driving long-tail keywords? Here are nine tips to get you started.

1. Use Google Suggest

Google Suggestions are an awesome source of long-tail keyword variations. Just start typing your primary keyword into the Google search box and see what variations Google suggests:

Long Tail Keyword Ideas

If it turns up in a Google suggestion, you know that it’s a phrase people are searching for. These suggestions won’t necessarily inspire your faith in humanity (we all remember the “I am extremely terrified of Chinese people” debacle …), but they might inspire good content.

2. Use Google’s Related Searches

Same principle as the Google Suggestions that appear while you’re typing your query, but these suggested related searches appear at the bottom of the SERP, below the first page of organic results:

Related Long-Tail Terms

You may get slightly more suggestions here (in this case, eight keywords versus just four above), and they may also be slightly more personalized (Google knows I live in Colorado, hence the “Denver” and “Fort Collins” modifiers).

3. Use More and Different Keyword Research Tools

If you only use one keyword tool every time you do keyword research, you’re selling yourself short and probably missing out on tons of long-tail keyword variations. The Google Keyword Tool is a great basic tool and a good place to start, but if you’re looking for more long-tail keywords, try these other options too:

The more keyword tools you consult, the more long-tail keyword variations you’re likely to find.

4. Mine Your Analytics

Your analytics will tell you many, if not all, of the keyword phrases that lead visitors to your website. By digging through these keyword referrers, you’ll be able to find a bunch of long-tail queries that are driving traffic for you. These keywords may be relevant to your business but not yet highly targeted by a single page on your site. For example, a few years ago we found that a lot of people were searching on the phrase “what’s a good click through rate” to wind up at our site, but we didn’t have a page with that title, so we wrote one, and now it drives tons of traffic.

To find your own private store of long-tail keywords, go into your analytics and locate your organic keyword referrals (in Google Analytics, the path is Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Search -> Organic). You can simply scan all the terms for good, relevant long-tail keywords you can turn into content, or you can set the time frame to something pretty large (depending on your traffic flow, try a 3-, 6-, or 12-month period) so you’ll have a lot of data to look at, then search for patterns. For example, you might search for question keywords (i.e. terms that begin with “what,” “why,” etc.).

Google Analytics Long-Tail Research

5. Mine Your Search Query Reports

If you’re running a PPC campaign in AdWords, don’t forget to use your Search Query Report the same way you’d use your analytics, just one of many ways that PPC data can inform your SEO. Your Search Query Report shows you the search queries that drove people to click on your ads, rather than your organic search results. As an added bonus, you get fuller access to this data than you do your organic referrers in Google Analytics. It may also be easier to see which keywords are driving conversions, not just traffic. High-converting long-tail keywords are especially worth chasing.

6. Browse eHow

Sites like eHow are pretty much entirely fueled by keyword research, primarily long-tail keyword research. Demand Media, the company that owns eHow, Cracked.com and other sites, uses powerful algorithms to find long-tail keywords it can then rank for with hyper-targeted content.

You might not have Demand Media’s data sources or insanely profitable content algorithms on your side, but you can still learn from this methodology. Browse these sites for keyword ideas. If eHow is targeting a keyword phrase, you can bet it has search volume and that advertisers are interested in buying placement on those pages. Another good bet? Whatever they have produced to target those keywords is probably pretty lame. The content eHow churns out is produced on the cheap by freelancers and tends to be thin content, the kind of stuff that post-Panda Google no longer favors. If you can create strong content with real value that is also hyper-targeted, you have a good chance of outranking the content farms.

Post-Panda Keyword Research

7. Browse Q&A Sites

Like Demand Media properties, Q&A sites can be a good source of long-tail keyword ideas. I’m talking about sites like:

Questions make great long-tail keywords – it couldn’t be more obvious that these people are looking for answers and information.

long-tail question keywords

Of course you’ll want to do a little keyword research to find the version of each question that has the right search volume and competition level. Not every question you find on a Q&A site is going to be a worthwhile keyword to attack.

8. Browse Wikipedia

Is Wikipedia the most optimized site on the Internet? It’s definitely up there. You can learn a lot by copying Wikipedia’s on-page optimization. When doing research around a base term, try checking the Wikipedia page. For example, look at the table of contents (this for the “Quantum Mechanics” page):

Wikipedia long-tail keywords

A lot of these headings translate into long-tail keywords (“history of quantum mechanics,” “mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics,” “applications of quantum mechanics,” etc.). You can also do a page search (Control-F) on the page for your primary keyword and see what other variations appear throughout the text. In addition, the “See Also” section at the bottom of many Wikipedia articles can be helpful for finding clusters of related terms.

9. Steal From Competitors

For informational queries, Wikipedia is often your competitor. But always check out the competition when you’re chasing a keyword term. Start with head and mid-tail terms that you’re trying to rank for, and see what types of keyword variations are used on the pages that are ranking in the top 5-10 spots. For example, let’s say you’re chasing the keyword “holiday crafts.” Scope the page that ranks #1 for that keyword on Google and see what keywords it’s using (keywords everywhere!):

Competitive long-tail keywords

Share Your Long-Tail Keyword Research Tips

Have you discovered other sneaky ways to find long-tail keyword terms? Let us know in the comments!




If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment.

Comments

Sunday November 11, 2012

Andres Moreno (not verified) Said:

Elissa...Thanks for this GREAT post.

Elissa, one question

Do you know if  Word Stream Free Keyword Tool works with Spanish Keywords?????

Kind Regards

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks Andres -- you will find some Spanish keywords in our keyword tool but the volume is much lower than for English keywords. Sorry!

Wednesday November 14, 2012

Andres Moreno (not verified) Said:

 

Hi Gradiva...

Reading the answer you gave on other comment, i found a great tool for me ubersuggest....i hope works for my jobs, i mean on Spanish Long tail Keywords

God bless yoyu

Monday November 12, 2012

Nick Stamoulis (not verified) Said:

Checking entrance keywords in analytics can give you great insights.  You may not be targeting a specific long tail keyword but it can still bring in traffic.  If it makes sense, you can use this long tail keyword to write blog posts and generate even more traffic. 

Monday November 12, 2012

Ivan (not verified) Said:

I use  ubersuggest  for long tail phrases.

It supports a lot of languages , including mine (Serbian)

Friday May 03, 2013

fuxo (not verified) Said:

Ivan, really thanks for your tip.
I work on page for a slovak company and ubersuggest works great.

 

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Aaron (not verified) Said:

I've found that searching Twitter is also a viable option. I use Tweetdeck and make a column

based on a couple keywords, such as ['drum set' AND '?'], then watch what questions people are

asking about these keywords.

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

I love that idea! Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Jon (not verified) Said:

Checking your entrance keywords, and evaluating the nav summary may clue you in on their search intent behavior.

Viewing the behavior can possibly decipher the long tail, obviously doesn't always work, but you're in the right

ball park. 

BTW  Great Post!

Cheers!

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks!

Saturday February 15, 2014

Nea (not verified) Said:

Great post! And Nicely explained.

Cheers

 

 

Friday December 06, 2013

james (not verified) Said:

Nicely explained thanks.

Monday November 11, 2013

Juan (not verified) Said:

now Long tail keywords is a way to get traffic from Google. But must be select with careful because not all keyword is suit

Wednesday October 16, 2013

yusri big (not verified) Said:

Long tail SEO has many benefits to offer to website owners. Whether we are running an online shop, a content driven website, a blog or our company’s website, long tail SEO can help us get more organic traffic and more targeted customers. 
 

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Paul Haarman (not verified) Said:

Great tips Elisa! You are right on the spot in explaining how to tap into the gold mine of long tail keywords. Thanks!

Tuesday November 13, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thank you, Paul!

Wednesday November 14, 2012

Vishal Taragi (not verified) Said:

Thanks Elisa, for these informational tips. before reading this post I used to look at google analytics for my site (including less than 10 visits I received from the keywords ).

from now on I will have a look at wikipedia too...

Thursday November 15, 2012

Expert (not verified) Said:

Nice Article.

To search keywords, you can use many suggest, related and synonymous source.

it is obvious than you have to cross data with local searches.

Tuesday November 27, 2012

SEO Services (not verified) Said:

Pretty insightful post. Never thought that it was this simple after all. I had spent a good deal of my time looking for someone to explain this subject clearly and you’re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you! Keep it up.

Tuesday November 27, 2012

Mona Sutherland (not verified) Said:

Great post!

I feel for the other "foreign" language people (i.e. not English)... In the case of Spanish, I normally head over to the Google's KW tool and see what comes up (based on language and country). Then, I hope over to insights, suggest, related searches, etc., to see if I can extract additional information and/or insights into longer tail terms.

I didn't find much with the YouTube KW tool, but the Twitter search is fantastic!!!

Thanks for a great post Elisa!

Regards,

Mona

Tuesday November 27, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks for the tips, Mona!

Tuesday January 29, 2013

Srikaanth P.A (not verified) Said:

Thanks for the share Elisa.

Very informative.

Wednesday March 06, 2013

Kudos (not verified) Said:

Word Tracker's Keywords Questions Tool is a good one to try. Depending on industry, you can find decent results.

Wednesday August 21, 2013

Adgenius Canada (not verified) Said:

I gave a shot to SpyFu.

Its awesome Keyword research tool.

Give it a try and you will make your customers Happy.

seo in toronto
Adgenius

Wednesday September 18, 2013

Anonymous (not verified) Said:

Heads up, it looks like Inc. ripped off your article with no atttribution: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/8-ways-to-find-the-best-long-tail-keywords...

Wednesday September 18, 2013

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Actually it is attributed (see fifth paragraph) -- this was "ripped off" with permission :)

Thanks for being vigilant though!

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