Neil Patel

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Long-tail Keywords: How-To, Strategies, Tips & More

Longtail Keywords: How-To, Strategies, Tips

How do your website visitors find you?

If they’re clicking to your site from the search engines, chances are they’re finding you through long-tail keywords. This free traffic is a huge bonus for your business, and understanding how to integrate long-tail keywords better can help you do this.

Working with your team, you can easily capture those extra clicks by employing long-tail keywords.

If you consistently publish in-depth content targeting long-tail keywords, you’ll see an increase in search traffic, attract paying customers, and grow your brand.

So, let’s dive in and learn how to use long-tail keywords.

What Are Long-tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are long, specific queries letting search engines know not just what words searchers want to know about but why they want to know them.

For example:

  • “Long-tail keywords” is a keyword.
  • “What are the best keywords for digital marketers?” is a long-tail keyword example.

When you run your keyword research, it’s easy to gravitate toward the short tail or head keywords. These are the keywords like “SEO” or “keywords,” and they’re likely to have a high search volume, attracting the attention of many marketers.

Where there’s search volume, there’s lots of competition. long-tail keywords with slightly less volume tend to be a little easier to rank for.

In addition to improving your website’s visibility in search results, long-tail keywords can also provide valuable insights into your target audience’s search behavior and preferences.

By analyzing the specific long-tail keywords that people are using to find your website or content, you can gain a better understanding of their needs, interests, and pain points. You can then use this information to tailor your content and marketing strategies to better resonate with your audience and drive more engagement.

Why Should You Integrate Long-tail Keywords in Your Blog Posts?

What do you want from your content marketing?

The first thing is probably traffic. After that, you want conversions. Long-tail keywords can bring you both.

Paid advertising is a great way to get your brand in front of your target audience, but there’s a catch. You’re paying for every click. If you gradually replace those paid clicks with organic traffic, not only do you save money, but you could see better results.

In fact, Google’s Economic Impact Report states organic search is five times more valuable than paid search.

Searches of more than four words make up 95.88 percent of Google searches, meaning there are lots of clicks to be had. Because these searches are more specific, the people making them tend to have greater buyer intent.

Compare the two searches:

“Real Estate” vs. “4-bed real estate in Naperville.”

Which search indicates a buyer who is more ready to purchase?

Long-tail keywords suggest a searcher is well on the road to conversion, and that alone is a pretty strong reason to use them in your content.

What Causes Long-tail Keywords to Rank?

The answer is actually pretty simple—relevance and specificity. When people search for something online, they’re often looking for a specific solution to a specific problem or need.

When users type a keyword or search phrase into the box, Google uses up to 200 factors to determine how relevant, useful, and authoritative your page is for a given term before ranking it.

Long-tail keywords that are more specific and targeted to these needs are more likely to match the searcher’s intent, making them more likely to rank higher in search results.

Another factor that helps long-tail keywords rank is user engagement with your content.

If your blog post or web page provides valuable information that matches the user’s search intent, they’re more likely to spend time on your site, read your content, and share it with others. This can send positive signals to search engines that your content is high quality and relevant, which can further boost your rankings for long-tail keywords.

Let’s review some core elements that will get you top rankings when you target long-tail keywords.

Keyword-Rich Headlines

Front-load your headline with relevant keywords. Most people scan the first two words of your headline to determine whether it’s relevant to what they’re looking for.

For example, the most shared content relating to the keyword “monetize a blog” had the keyword or a variation of it before any other significant word.

I write keyword-rich headlines, and this has contributed to hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors to all of my blogs. I also grew the KISSmetrics blog from 0 to 350,000 blog readers per month with this strategy.

Let’s write some clickable and keyword-rich headlines using some of the long­tail key phrases below:

The search terms are:

  • Making money from home
  • Stay at home jobs
  • How to make extra money

a). Headlines for making money from home:

  • Making Money From Home: 5 Steps You Should Take
  • How Making Money From Home Is Possible in 3 Steps
  • 7 Tips for Making Money From Home That Work

b). Headlines for stay at home jobs:

  • The Top 5 Stay-at-Home Jobs That Pay
  • Stay-at-Home Jobs: How to Get Started in 15 Minutes
  • 10 Stay-at-Home Jobs That Pay Every Week

c). Headlines for how to make extra money:

  • How to Make Extra Money With Affiliate Marketing
  • How to Make Extra Money to Pay Your Monthly Bills

Another approach is to find a very popular article with thousands of social shares and improve it by making it your own.

Step #1: Go to Ubersuggest. Type in the keyword (e.g., social media strategies) you want to use for your headline. Then click “Search.”

Step #2: Click “Content Ideas” in the left sidebar.

The Ubersuggest interface.

Step #3: Analyze the results.

Content ideas from ubersuggest about social media strategies.

From the main keyword (social media strategies), you can tell that many websites above target it. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.

So, let’s make the headlines keyword-rich, relevant, clickable, and shareable. Remember, our target keyword is “social media strategies,” so we want to use this exact phrase in our headline.

Fresh headlines:

  • Social Media Strategies: How to Attract Buyers Through Social Media Marketing
  • Top 10 Social Media Strategies for Lead Generation That Work
  • The Exact Social Media Strategies I Used to Increase Conversion Rates By 382%

Internal Linking

Internal linking is the second element that will help you succeed at long-tail keyword targeting. Internal links are hyperlinks that point to web pages on the same domain.

Pay attention to what’s happening within your site, because that’s something that you can completely control. That’s also why Google looks seriously at the links pointing to your internal and archive pages.

What makes Wikipedia the No. 1 content site in the world? It’s diligent about linking to internal pages, no matter the subject.

Wikipedia page for "animal".

The above article on Wikipedia links to over 50 other pages. Linking to important pages on the same domain heats up the page and passes more juice or value to it.

When you consistently link to internal pages in your content, Google will assume that you care about user experience. That’s important because there is virtually no single piece of content that will address every question your user is asking related to one initial search phrase.

By linking to your already-published articles, you’re meeting your user’s expectations and engaging them. And, the more links they click, the more time they’ll spend on your site—thus increasing your site’s authority.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind with internal linking:

  • Link to other relevant content pages. For example, if your new article is about Twitter marketing, you could link to previous articles on Facebook marketing or articles related to social media tools.
  • Add breadcrumbs to make navigating your internal links easier for your user.
  • Make sure the pages you’re linking to are unique and helpful. This is really important. Google hates duplicate content. The search engine giant has made this clear.
  • Link to the entire web page, not just an image, to increase search volume. If you want to use an image or a screenshot you’ve used before, don’t just link to the image URL. Rather, use the page’s URL.
  • Vary your anchor text. Excessive use of exact match anchor text could get you into trouble. So, if you link to an internal page with a particular keyword (e.g., starting a blog) in the title and URL, you don’t have to use that key term as your anchor text.

Trusted Links

Links are still the currency of the web. Of course, it’s possible to increase your search traffic and rankings without building links, but you have to be patient—and your content has to be high quality, trending, and helpful.

In today’s SEO, there are two factors that you should look out for when building links: Domain Authority and Page Authority. Domain Authority (DA) measures the overall authority and trustworthiness of your website, while Page Authority (PA) measures the authority of individual pages on your site.

These metrics involve a variety of factors, including the quality and quantity of inbound links, the relevance and quality of your content, and your website’s overall user experience. By focusing on building high-quality, relevant links that boost both your DA and PA, you can improve your website’s overall search visibility and drive more traffic to your site.

Social Engagement

More than ever before, social signals are important SEO factors. Your target audience usually spends more time on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest than they do on other sites. So, you have to involve them in your content to increase search volume.

Social signals don’t improve your search rankings directly, but they do lead to engagement, which helps your rankings. They also reduce bounce rate, send quality links back to your internal web pages, and pass link juice to your pages.

Since your headline usually appears above the fold, remember to use long-tail keywords in your headline.

How to Integrate Long-tail Keywords Into Your Posts

Long-tail keywords are essential for any business. It doesn’t matter how authoritative your site is; the sheer volume of long-tail keywords means they’re something you can’t ignore.

You can’t just take long-tail keywords and stuff them into your content, though. Modern SEO is about providing the user with the best experience. To do this, you need to integrate long-tail keywords into high-quality, relevant content.

1. Set Your Content Marketing Objectives

What do you want to achieve with your blog post?

Your honest answer can help you create user-friendly blog posts that rank high in keyword search results.

Copyblogger showcased 10 content marketing goals worth pursuing, including:

  • Build trust and rapport with customers.
  • Attract potential customers to your marketing system.
  • Explore prospect pain.
  • Illustrate benefits.
  • Overcome objections.
  • Build your reputation with search engines.

With hard work and patience, great content marketing achieves any of these goals. The best approach is to choose one or two core goals you want every piece of content to achieve.

Whatever your goals, if you want to attract new prospects, you have to identify long-tail keywords they use. You can then create valuable, evergreen content based on those long-tail keywords.

Plus, long-tail keywords likely play a big part in Google’s algorithm, so you need to understand how to align them with your goals.

Pie chart of googles algorithm.

Generally, when potential customers find their long-tail keyword search terms in your post, it will increase engagement. It’s about matching user intent.

Longtail keywords and searcher intent

Long-tail keywords can help you achieve different goals, so you should define what you want to achieve before starting writing.

2. Create Buyer Personas to Help You Understand User Intent

If you’re going to match user intent, you’ve got to understand the people searching for your products/services (your buyer personas).

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers based on real data and research about your target audience. By creating detailed personas, you can better understand your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points, and tailor your long-tail keyword strategy accordingly.

Creating buyer personas is a simple way to help you respond effectively. It’s a representation of a specific ideal reader you’d like to attract to your blog or site.

Buyer personas for longtail keywords

Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer persona and ask yourself what questions they have, what information they’re looking for, and how they search for it.

You can also conduct customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gain more insights into their needs and motivations. Once you have this information, you can then create detailed personas that outline the specific characteristics and behaviors of your ideal customers.

You need to understand how your audience searches and use this information to match user intent by integrating long-tail keywords.

3. Research and Select Your Long-tail Keywords

You have to be picky about your long-tail keywords.

Longer variations of your keywords may have lower search volumes than head keywords, but their conversion rates are usually very high.

Longtail keywords and buyer intent

Let’s find those long-tail keywords right now. Just follow these simple steps:

Step #1: Go to Ubersuggest, type your main keyword (e.g., car insurance), and click the “Search” button.

Step #2: Click “Keyword Ideas” in the left sidebar:

Keyword research from ubersuggest.

Step #3: Choose your long-tail keywords from the results list by identifying keywords with four or more words.

Keywords from ubersuggest.

Step #4: Filter the results in search of high volume, low SEO difficulty long-tail keywords:

SEO difficulty filter ubersuggest.
Volume filter ubersuggest.

For this industry, which is highly competitive, I set the SEO difficulty to no greater than 40 while keeping the search volume in the 2,000 to 7,000 range. Here’s what you get:

Keyword ideas ubersuggest.

Step #5: Click a keyword to learn more.

This tells you everything you need to know about the keyword:

Google search results ubersuggest.
  • Google SERP: The top 100 URLs that rank for the keyword
  • Estimated visits: The estimated traffic the webpage gets from Google for the keyword
  • Links: The number of incoming backlinks to the webpage
  • DA: The domain authority, ranking the overall strength of the website from 1 [low) to 100 [high)
  • Social shares: The total number of times the URL was shared on social platforms

This data will help you decide two things: if the keyword is worth targeting based on estimated monthly visits, and your chance of reaching the first page of the Google search results.

It’s important to remember that Google and the other search engines aren’t just about numbers, though. At its heart, Google is about the experience: giving people the information they need in a way they enjoy.

long-tail keywords won’t get you where you want to go unless you understand user intent and can provide them with the experience they’re looking for.

This means your goal can’t just be to rank. It’s got to be to provide the user with the highest quality content that matches user intent.

The mindset of longtail keywords

SEO requires caring about your users and solving their problems. This is why smart long-tail keyword use helps you with search engine results, not hurts you.

To maximize your use of keywords, focus on two to three keywords, and don’t stuff them into your content.

4. Write the Content

Your content is there to help your visitors answer questions and solve problems, and keywords firmly take a back seat to this.

Having done significant research, make sure you’re using your long-tail keywords to demonstrate your content matches user intent.

Longtail keyword pyramid

If you’re creating content matching user intent, you should be able to incorporate long-tail keywords naturally. “Naturally” is the crucial element here.

Some marketers look at one keyword per 200 words as a good benchmark, but quality is far more important than quantity. For a 2,000-word article, I generally aim to use my keyword 10 to 20 times—but it’s not a hard and fast rule. With some articles, frequent use of both standard and long-tail keywords flows naturally; for others, you won’t use them as much.

As long as your content is engaging and your context is clear, you usually don’t need to panic if your keyword shows up less often.

Remember that titles and headings are essential parts of your content, so an effective strategy for integrating long-tail keywords is to use them in your headings and subheadings. This can help search engines understand the structure and organization of your content while also making it easier for readers to scan and navigate your blog posts.

Again though, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to be natural. In the early days of SEO, Google’s algorithms weren’t as sophisticated, and people did benefit from putting their keywords in at every opportunity. Today, though, Google is super smart and focused on the value your content offers the user. If you’re keyword stuffing, you won’t get far.

Long-tail Keyword Case Studies

So many bloggers and website owners are now taking full advantage of long­tail key phrases as their foremost keyword tool because these search terms are low-hanging fruit—easier to reach and pick. Long-tail keyword SEO is all about filling a void, answering a question, and helping search users save time.

Case study: Marcus Sheridan, founder of River Pools and Spas, wrote an in­ depth blog post targeting the keyword “problems with fiberglass pools.”

River pools homepage.

Even though he’s not ranking No. 1 for the head keyword (fiberglass pools), this single web page ranks No. 1 in Google for the long-tail keyword.

Some of the benefits of targeting visitors using a long-tail search are:

1). Boost your search rankings: Spend time crafting the best content possible for your target audience, then promote it to the right people. You can even repurpose your content, so that people will continue to benefit from it.

This is a good small business time management strategy since the content already exists and search engines give it positive results.

If you’re struggling to achieve good rankings in search results, there could be one of many reasons why that’s happening. One of the most common reasons is duplicate content on your site. To resolve that problem, either remove the duplicate content or make it unique.

Next, focus on your audience. Write content that solves their problems and optimize it properly for search. Instead of focusing on long­ tail key phrases just for the fun of it, focus on user intent.

On-page keyword usage is still one of the major ranking factors for content, and it can’t be ignored in today’s SEO.

That’s where easy rankings lie. It doesn’t matter how competitive a long-tail keyword is; if users are happy after reading your content, watching your video, or listening to your podcast, they’ll be happy to share it.

Since user intent is more important than the keyword itself, Google will reward you with more search volume, as long as your content is helpful. For example, let’s say the long-tail keyword you’re targeting is:

  • Weight loss guides for beginners

As you write and publish detailed long-form articles, you’ll gradually start showing up in Google for related long-tail search terms, such as:

  • Best weight loss guides for beginners
  • Beginners weight loss guides
  • Free weight loss guides for beginners
  • Download weight loss guides

And so on …

So, to reiterate: When you start ranking for several related long-tail key terms, your search traffic will increase.

2). Improved conversion rate: SEO and CRO play well together. When you target that low-hanging fruit, your conversion rate will definitely improve.

Everything has to work together. That includes your content, site load time, call­-to-action, etc. Everything is important because on-site conversion begins with site design.

Take Me Fishing focused on content optimization, which increased their traffic by almost 1,000%. The site began ranking No. 1 in Google for a profitable and in­ demand keyword, “best fishing spots.” They also reduced the site’s bounce rate and enjoyed an increase of 946% in organic traffic, year over year.

Myths About Long-tail Keywords

I’ve shared several success stories from individuals and corporate sites that increased their search rankings and traffic by focusing on long-tail key phrases.

However, there are still some long-tail SEO keyword myths that you should ignore:

Myth 1: Target only long-tail keywords. A typical keyword your target audience is searching for usually comes in two variations: short-tail and long-tail keywords.

If you over-optimize for either of these keywords, you risk getting penalized by Google. Next thing you know, your traffic starts to trend downward.

Another problem is the excessive use of either type of keyword as anchor text. Focusing on just the longer keyword variations in your content is an SEO myth.

If you include content built on long-tail keywords based on user intent and designed to help your reader instead of manipulating your rankings, you won’t have to worry about Google algorithm updates.

The major reason why you should target short-tail keywords and long-tail key phrases is that the longer the keywords, the lower the search volume. Especially for a small business, search volume is branding, and good content will bring those visitors back when they are ready with a long-tail search phrase.

Myth 2: Always use the exact long-tail keywords in your headline. This advice may seem harmless, but it’s not the best approach. Sure, there are several benefits to targeting this type of key term, but there are also drawbacks.

Long-tail keywords.

Be exceedingly mindful of what you add to your headlines. They’re the first thing that users see and they’re what motivate or discourage clicks.

The rule of thumb is this: If you research and discover a keyword that flows smoothly and naturally when you read it, then feel free to use it in your headline. Otherwise, it can result in keyword stuffing and a Google penalty.

For example, these keywords flow smoothly:

  • Buy kindle fire hd
  • Affordable NY SEO expert

You can use these keywords in your headlines. For instance:

  • Buy a Kindle Fire HD: 5 Things You Should Know
  • Where To Buy a Kindle Fire HD and Get Free Shipping
  • How To Find an Affordable NY SEO Expert
  • How to Hire an Affordable NY SEO Expert In Your City

In contrast, the keywords below look spammy and should not be used in your headlines:

  • Kindle fire hd buy free shipping
  • SEO expert NY affordable

The above keywords have commercial intent, but they don’t look or sound natural at all. If you add them exactly as they appear in your headline, you’ll confuse users and chase them away. You could even get a Google penalty.

Myth 3: long-tail key phrases are less expensive. Most pay-per-click (PPC) advertisers think this is true, but it’s not necessarily so. Dig deeper and you might find some expensive long-tail phrases.

Even SEO experts know that most keywords and search phrases that fall into this category are expensive and take time to improve your organic rankings.

In the same way, the suggested bid on most long-tail search queries is very high because of the perceived value, demand, and intent behind the search.

Bottom line: SEO is a long-term practice for small businesses. Don’t expect sudden overnight increases in rankings and organic traffic. However, it’s possible to achieve tremendous search results in a matter of weeks.

Myth 4: You should aim to be on the first page of Google results. Even though SEOs, bloggers, website owners, and content marketers want that No. 1 Google ranking for their most profitable keywords, that’s just not a good goal to adopt.

In fact, in today’s SEO, it’s possible to grab that top position and still not generate enough clicks, leads, and sales with the rise of 0-click searches.

There is really just one reason why most headlines aren’t clicked: The headline doesn’t inspire searchers to click.

Getting users to click your link on those result pages is crucial. If your headline doesn’t inspire search users to click it and visit your site, you’re doomed.

When your headlines don’t inspire, people won’t click. Or, sometimes they might decide to click, but quickly click the back button, in order to check out the catchy headline that’s attracting them.

When that happens, your rankings will gradually drop because Google will conclude that users aren’t satisfied with your content.

Note: A great headline catches people’s attention. It can also motivate you to write in-depth content. It can even give you ideas for subtitles, bullet points, and CTAs that are great for any long-tail search.

Tools For Long-tail Keyword Research

Manual SEO is a waste of time. You don’t have to build links with fancy tools, but you can research keywords and track ranking positions with helpful SEO tools.

There are four important metrics that you should track with SEO software tools:

Tools for long trail keyword research.

Since we aim to generate more monthly search visitors through long-tail traffic, we need tools to make the work easier.

Ubersuggest is just one of many tools you can use to research long-tail keywords. Others include:

  • AnswerThePublic: Another of my keyword research tools, AnswerThePublic gives you insight into real-life questions that real-life queries that users are typing into search engines. It’s a goldmine of long-tail keyword opportunities.
  • Google’s autocomplete feature: Just begin entering your head term into Google and see what autopopulates. It’s a great starting point for long-tail keyword research. You can then use Ubersuggest to determine what variations of long-tail keywords are most worth targeting based on search volume and difficulty.
  • KWFinder: Offering SERP analysis, rank tracking, SEO difficulty, and more, KWFinder is great for identifying long-tail keywords that your site can compete for.
  • SECockpit: Analyzing keywords with an array of advanced metrics, this robust tool is fantastic for identifying low-competition keywords.
  • Semrush: Much like Ubersuggest, Semrush’s keyword research tool is great for identifying long-tail and shorttail keywords alike.


Why are long-tail keywords important for SEO?

Long-tail keywords are important for SEO because they are less competitive than broader keywords, making it easier to rank for them. They also attract more qualified traffic to your website as they are more targeted, which can increase the chances of conversions.

How do I incorporate long-tail keywords into my content?

To incorporate long-tail keywords into your content, start by identifying relevant keywords and then creating high-quality content that addresses those topics. Use the keywords naturally in your headings, subheadings, and throughout your content without overstuffing or sacrificing the quality of your writing.

Can I use long-tail keywords in my PPC campaigns?

Yes, you can use long-tail keywords in your PPC campaigns. In fact, using long-tail keywords in your PPC campaigns can help improve their effectiveness as they attract more qualified traffic and have less competition.


Search engines want to see you provide your users with the best possible experience. To do this, you’ve got to understand your target audience and how they search.

long-tail keyword research should be a big part of your content marketing strategy. Successfully incorporating these keywords into your content will enable you to match user intent and give your visitors a great experience.

When you boost your traffic and engage users better by using the language they use to search, it can bring significant results for your website.

Have you had success with long-tail keywords?

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