Long Tail Keywords – Choosing And Using Them

Keywords are an extremely important part of website SEO as well as internet marketing. Use the right ones and you reap the benefit; use the wrong ones and you will find your e-commerce business struggling.Long Tail Keywords - Choosing And Using Them

But which are the ‘right’ ones? Only the most popular? Not necessarily. Long tail keywords used in sales copy and blog posts provide a lot of advantages.

Choosing Long Tail Keywords

Think of long tail keywords in terms of a bell graph. The graph represents all the keywords and phrases that could be used to find your web pages or blog posts.

In the middle, the highest part of the bell, are those most commonly used. For instance, if you are a graphics artist, the keywords in the middle of that bell graph are probably “graphics artist”. Although this phrase is very popular, it is also very broad. The search results would include millions of pages.

Now let’s say that you specialise in modern design elements. A long tail keyword combo – one that appears in the long, thin tail to the side of the bell on the graph – might be something like “techno grunge graphics artist agency”. Long tail keywords could also include your physical location, your pricing, or any number of factors that better define your niche market. If you sell products, manufacturer names could also be included in less standard keyword combinations.

The best way to select long tail keywords is to use those terms that more accurately define your business. Consider what terms someone might use if they were searching for a particular product or service. Knowing your target market helps you complete this exercise.

If you want a longer list, use any number of online helps, such as Google AdWords, to generate the results. You may find some keywords suggested that you hadn’t previously considered but just may bring a lot of traffic to your site.

How To Use Long Tail Keywords

Armed with your list of long tail keywords, use them to write copy for your site. An important note: don’t forget about the popular keywords in the centre of your bell graph. These should still be the main focus of your home page, meta tags, and descriptions. You don’t want to risk losing traffic by not including them. Long tail keywords just gain additional, more qualified traffic.

Long tail keyword phrases themselves can spark ideas for articles, blogs or sales letters aimed specifically at a portion of your target market. Include them in the headline or post title, near the front of the string. Intersperse them with the shorter, more common keyword phrases within the body of the piece.

Don’t forget about common misspellings or synonyms. Google is actually placing greater weight now on the number of like words or phrases included in copy targeting specific keywords. Try to find a way to use purposely misspelled keywords and synonyms throughout on your site in a way that doesn’t hurt your image but that instead allows you to use the text to give your copy the greatest market reach. (An example would be to write a blog post that corrects the misspelling or to name an image’s alt tag with the misspelling)

Do try to keep your keyword phrases natural; closest to what the ordinary person would put in the search engine. For instance, few people would type in “graphics artist in Sydney”, instead they would probably use “Sydney graphics artist” or “graphics artist Sydney”. If you can refrain from adding punctuation marks or added words, you will get the most benefit from the keywords.

Not only are long tail keywords cheaper to bid on when instituting an AdWords campaign, they are a perfect fit for sales letter and blog post copy.

About Sean Rasmussen

I am a passionate blogger and have been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When I'm not with my family, you will find me doing SEO, building websites for many of my clients, and creating products out of thin air! This is a cool gig and I love it!


  1. Long Tail Keywords are great, because over time you also gain ranking for the “short” keyword which is embedded in the long tail version.
    I understand that using misspellings can help, but I somehow prefer to have may page without spelling mistakes if possible ;). Synonyms is a tactic I really like, as you cover some area for another keyword and show to the Search Engines that you are really an expert in that niche you are targeting.
    Great picture by the way to illustrate the long tail keyword 🙂

    • I like your take on the “short tail keyword” Renee. As the authority of your website increases (PR, backlinks, etc), you will also start to see your pages rank for the short keywords contained in your long tail keyword.

    • Right on Renee, there are plenty of advantages in using long tail keywords. Like you say, not only can it help for the actual long tail, but also the shorter versions contained in that long tail. Glad you like the little green dinosaur, I thought he was pretty cool myself 🙂

  2. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Choosing the right keywords are vital for getting traffic to your site because all of your SEO efforts will be built around the keywords you select. I think it’s easier to get traffic as a beginner by using long tail keywords.

    I agree with Renee and Cemil in that I think over time as your site develops it will get easier to rank for the highly competitive keywords. I’m not there yet, but one day soon.

  3. Great article Sean.
    Its worth putting a little extra effort in researching your Long Tail Keywords.
    For an extra 10-20 minutes work, you can reap significantly more traffic reward, just by digging a bit deeper for long tail keywords.
    I agree with Renee in using synonyms, it helps build your relevancy strength of your article and helps you rank for great variety of relevant keywords.

  4. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been struggling to find the right choice words for my blog recently, and your article gave me more sense of how to hone them in a little better. I have been obsessed over the general terms, but this makes much more sense. Thanks again.

    • Great to hear you have benefited from the article Maguire. Don’t completely forget the short tails, but get stuck into the long tail keywords, they are much more targeted and generally easier to achieve top rankings.

  5. Hi Sean

    Using the dinosaur in your diagram as a constant to depict the strength of long tail keywords is excellent for a visual like me. I understand the concept much better if I can ‘see’ what is being explained.

    Renee’s explanation ‘you also gain ranking for the “short” keyword which is embedded in the long tail version’ has helped me to understand the way I can combine short and long keywords together in a more economical way.

    Thank you.

  6. This is a good companion article to your one on Latent Semantic Indexing. Using longtails and variations on them is good LSI and also allows you to seed the content without keyword stuffing.

    In broad niches such as internet marketing targeting with LTKWs is essential if we want to get traffic.

  7. Thank you Sean. Either way I do not know whether I must put the entire keyphrase as is or scattered all over the article.