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What Are Long-Tail Keywords, And Why Should I Use Them?

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cat-long-tail.jpgSelecting the right keywords and optimizing your website to capture people searching for those keywords is critical for successful inbound marketing. With the highly competitive pool of keywords out there, it can be hard to gain traction using the more general keywords. long-tail keywords are the answer to getting around that challenge.

What is a long-tail keyword?

A long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that contains three or more words. The longer phrase narrows down the focus of the search being done. It allows the searcher to find exactly what he or she wants.

From a marketer's perspective, a long-tail keyword is a powerful tool for targeting the traffic in a particular niche.

Why should you use long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are more targeted than their shorter counterparts. "Weight loss" is one of the most popular search terms today. However, it is a broad term that is almost generic in nature. Using a longer keyword like "weight loss for diabetics" or "weight loss diet for heart patients" targets a niche audience.

Longer keywords attract people interested in a specific subject. For someone trying to lose weight, there is no single solution. So, a diabetic wants a weight loss solution that works for someone who already has to watch his or her diet for medical reasons. Searching for a generic weight loss solution makes no sense for a diabetic. Searching for "weight loss for diabetics" does.

The long-tail keywords get less competition compared to the shorter ones. Thousands of companies and blogs are trying to compete for the top spot on the "weight loss" search engine results page. These days, a start-up company has a one-in-several-million chance of even making it to the top 10 pages. Going for a long-tail keyword means less competition.

How will long-tail keywords get me leads?

Using long-tail keywords, en masse, can generate large traffic volumes. Many marketers do not like going after long-tail keywords because they get less traffic than the shorter ones.

However, those marketers are missing the fact that using several long-tail keywords, targeted on a specific audience, can create as much traffic as a single shorter keyword. That traffic will be of higher quality because the keywords in use are highly focused on a particular niche audience.

Long-tail keywords can improve rankings in the "head terms", as well. A "head term" is the keyword that everyone in a particular industry wants to get top ranking on. In the weight loss example, "weight loss" is the head term. That head term is part of the longer keyword phrase "weight loss diet for heart patients." That improves the website's rankings for "weight loss" as well as "weight loss diet for heart patients."

Even with recent search engine changes, keywords are still critical for internet marketing success. Smart use of longer keywords can drive well-qualified traffic to any website. If you do not currently focus on longer keywords, you need to start now.

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