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  • Writer's pictureTom Church

Long tail keywords: What are they, why are they important for YOU, and how to find them.

As the founder of Babel Interactive, nestled in the heart of Worcester, I’ve ridden the digital marketing roller-coaster for over two decades. One item that comes up in discussion with clients is “What are the best keywords to try and rank for?” It’s a discussion that I have frequently, and almost every time I have to explain how important long tail keywords are for any SEO strategy.


In this article, you will find out about the long tail, why long tail keywords are important, how to find them, and what you should consider with the rise of different technology in querying the internet.


It’s an important article for anyone looking to build their website and market their services.


What Are Long Tail Keywords?


Picture yourself at a bustling market, shouting to be heard. That's your short, generic keyword strategy. Now, imagine you’re in a quiet corner of that market, having a one-on-one with customers specifically looking for “handcrafted leather Worcester satchels.” That's long tail keywords for you – specific, detailed phrases that may not attract the largest crowd but bring in searchers ready to buy what you’re selling.


The name itself provides a visual clue to how we can imagine the long tail: take one of those Chinese dragons, a snakelike creature with a fat head which is vertical on the far left, and then drops very steeply until a long tail emerges, crossing over to the right. Transplant that basic shape on a graph and that’s it!


One definition, which I do not follow religiously, is that a long tail keyword should be 3+ words in their search query, which better defines what the prospect is searching for.


Now let’s also look at this from a volume perspective. Although you might be standing in a quiet corner of the market, it is estimated that 70% of internet searches are for long tail keywords. It is also a widely repeated statistic online, that 92% of all keywords get 10 or fewer searches per month.


So if you are not filling out your long tail keyword strategy with on site SEO and blogs, then you could well be missing an enormous volume of search traffic.


Why Are They Important?


I’ve always said that keywords are a battle between the generic and the relevant. Generic keywords will attract more ‘top of funnel’ prospects, who might then define further what they are looking for. They will get a lot of traffic, and no one would want to claim that’s not important, but it is not always the most likely to convert to sales. Long tail keywords are relevant. They have less competition, often lead to higher conversion rates, and are a boon for small to medium businesses. It’s like fishing in a pond where you know the fish are biting.


So searches on the long tail keywords are more specific, and it is easier to design content that meets their requirements. As they have lower competition they are also easier to rank for, and they generate more qualified traffic. And as they convert better, they have a better click-through rate, which informs search engines that you are relevant to what people are searching for and in turn this gives your website a better ranking overall.


How to find long tail keywords?


Uncovering long tail keywords is part detective work, part eureka moment. Start with keyword research tools (ah, the trusty shovels of digital marketing). Tools like Google's Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or SEMrush can help. Dive into forums, Q&A sites, and even customer emails to see the language your audience uses. It’s a bit like being a linguistic detective, deciphering the code that’ll lead you to your treasure.


Adapting to different media for long tail searches.


But with technology racing ahead, the landscape’s changed with voice search. The advent of voice searches, via our phones, AI, or home devices like Alexa, all need to be considered:

Voice searches are conversational, often question-based. Optimising for these means thinking about how real people talk, not just how they type. The trick is to mirror natural speech patterns in your content. It’s not just about keywords; it’s about key phrases—the ones you’d use asking a friend for advice over a cuppa.


“Hey, Siri, find me a digital marketing agency in Worcester with a sense of humour and decades worth of experience.” It is far quicker to say than type, and yet it is far more defined than most normal Google searches.


From typing queries into Google to asking Alexa while cooking dinner, the medium shapes the message. For traditional search engines, it’s about those longer, specific phrases that catch users with intent. With voice search, it’s conversational, question-based. And then there’s the wildcard of visual search – “What’s this thingamajig?” – where detailed descriptions and alt-text play a starring role.


In this ever-evolving digital bazaar, understanding and adapting to these nuances is key. It's not just about being found; it's about being found in the right context.


To analyse your long tail keywords, get in touch with Babel Interactive and we can put your business and site through our process of identifying long tail keywords.


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