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What are long tail keywords?

John Peretz - Friday, March 02, 2012

A lot of people going through the process of search engine optimization for their web site ask us "what are long tail keywords?" Simply put, long tail keywords are search terms that are more than three words. what are long tail keywords

For example, if you are a hotel in Chicago, you might use the keyword "Chicago downtown hotel". However, long tail keywords might include the following:

  • Downtown Chicago hotel deals
  • Best hotel deals in Chicago
  • Hotel deals in downtown Chicago
  • Weekend specials for downtown Chicago hotels
  • Best places to stay in downtown Chicago

Why is this important? Because people search for things differently, and while "Chicago hotel" may be an important keyword, the competition and keyword bid would be very high.

So, a strategy that includes lots of long tail keywords could be vital to the success of your PPC campaign or your organic S.E.O. campaign.

In the book Web Analytics 2.0, the author Avinash Kaushik breaks it down further, using the the two words "long and tail" like this. The long is actually the head of a keyword group -- where you get a lot of visitors with very few keywords. But adding the "tail" through a long list of long tail keywords brings in many more visitors, although it requires a much larger list of keywords.

In Mr. Kaushik's example, he writes that 13 "head" keywords brought in 5,128 visits to the site, but 26,124 "tail" keywords brought in 35,534 visits to the site! Each long tail keyword brings in little, but in total they contribute a huge amount.

So go for the long tail keyword, and use it your PPC campaigns and S.E.O. efforts. This long tail strategy will take time, but ultimately will reap big rewards.

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