One of the most effective ways to increase the organic results of a website is to focus on niche keywords. Most user searches today aren’t for generic keywords. They are for phrases, questions, or even complete sentences that have a specific answer to them. These searches, which are 5 words or longer, are complete phrases that are a keyword that can be used to your advantage. Called “longtail keywords,” their inclusion can rapidly improve the SEO of your site.
It all begins with what your topics happen to be. You must have longtail keywords that are directly related to the content being posted and be able to answer specific questions. If you don’t provide specific value for a longtail keyword, then you can actually drop the ranking of your site because it will be seen as less valuable.
1. Use Generic and Longtail Together
The best way to utilize longtail keywords is to utilize generic search terms with the more specific term. Let’s say that you’ve got a website about Christmas elves. Your #1 generic search term is going to be “Christmas elves” or its singular version. When looking at your longtail options, you’ve got plenty of niche terms that could be included.
- Where do Christmas elves live?
- What do Christmas elves eat?
- Christmas elves and their relation to Santa Claus.
As you can see, you’ll potentially hit on both the generic and the specific searches that are requested for your subject material. Include as many of them as you can in relevant ways throughout your site and you’ll be able to prove that you’ve got expertise. When you’ve got that, you’ve also got value.
2. Think About the Questions
Many of the longtail keywords that you’re going to find are actually questions. This helps you out immensely when you create the content for your website. You don’t need a huge density of longtail keywords to make them be beneficial because they are so specific. As long as you answer the question that is the keyword, you’ll be included. For this reason, it’s beneficial to include the longtail keyword questions as subheadings or titles within your content.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s usually better to take the most popular question-based keyword and make that your title in some way. That’s easier said than done sometimes, but if you can pull it off, you’ll make the search engines and your visitors pay closer attention to your site.
Let’s take the question about what Christmas elves eat as our primary keyword that gets the most traffic. Here’s a title that would have great value to a search engine: “What do Christmas Elves Eat? 5 Proven Recipes That Are Tasty.”
All you’d have to do is provide 5 recipes, include some visuals of what they should look like, and you’re well on your way to longtail optimization.
3. Putting in the Stoppers
Many longtail keywords sound like they are being spoken by Yoda from Star Wars. The average person doesn’t say “winter Christmas elves Rudolph riding.” Sometimes you’ve got to put the stopper words into your content to make it relevant, kind of like a non-funny version of Mad Libs.
Using the example above, you could write something like this: “winter stories of Christmas elves with Rudolph riding fast.” Can you make that sound relevant within the content you’ve created? If you can, then publish it. If it sounds awkward, then try to fill in the blanks with different options.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do. Some SEO developers recommend saying something like this within your content. “You might have searched for ‘winter Christmas elves Rudolph riding’ and expected to find pictures of elves on reindeer.” There is no value in this type of sentence. It is you telling the visitor something they already know. If the longtail keyword doesn’t make sense verbatim, then don’t include it verbatim.
4. Think About Your Anchors
Sometimes outgoing anchors with longtail keywords are the best thing you can include. The modern website visitor wants to have specific facts that can be verified. If you can create longtail keyword anchors that take visitors to specific data that will answer the questions they have, then search engines are going to love what you’ve done with your SEO work.
The trick to making this optimization effort work is to keep verifying the information that is included on a link. Over time, websites change addresses, which means your link might become invalid. Periodically check your longtail keyword anchor links for relevance and you’ll be able to keep up the perceived value of your site.
5. Not Every Keyword Is a Good One
You need to have at least some traffic on a keyword to make it worthwhile for targeting. Your top longtail keyword might make perfect sense to include as a target, but what if it only gets 20 searches per month? You’ll appear as a #1 search term 20 times and that’s great, but that’s ultimately not very valuable. Search engines want to see expertise in multiple areas, not just in extreme niches. If you focus only on those low value keywords, your ranking is more likely to go down than up in your more generic keywords.
6. Think About the Conversion
Longtail keywords are bring visitors to your site that are already primed to enter your sales funnel. They’ve already looked at many of the components of what they want, have expectations about the value within your niche, and are ready to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, or download an ebook. Your job is to make sure that all of the values that a visitor expects to see when they visit your site are lined up in an orderly fashion.
In essence, longtail keywords are a confirmation of value. By focusing on these SEO tips, you’ll be able to improve your niche standing and that will ultimately improve your primary keyword standing as well. If you’re ignoring longtail SEO, then you’re doing so at your own risk.