Have you ever thought you knew exactly how to research for long tail keywords, only to find you clearly didn’t?
You use a keyword you believe is perfect, and create a spectacular blog post.
You hit the publish button, convinced that this time you’ll get your keyword ranking well on Google.
But it never does. In fact it never moves off page number fifty-two thousand and something, if you’re lucky.
Frustrating? Annoying? Confusing? You bet, and I know exactly how it feels.
So imagine if all you had to do was make one small tweak to your long tail keywords research process, to get your posts ranking faster and closer to page # 1?
I’m guessing if someone gave you the tweak you’d test it out for yourself?
Recently I learned that even though I was using a keyword research tool and my long tail keywords appeared to be great, I was failing to take one last step which as it turns out is quite critical. More about this further on.
It takes about 90 days for keywords to rank even if they are suitable, so I can’t report on my findings yet, but I’ll definitely be back to update this post when I can.
But don’t wait for me. I’ll be sharing exactly what I’m doing right here so you’ll know how to research for long tail keywords that get your posts found too.
I’d suggest you get on with your own experimenting. 😉 Ready?
WHAT are long tail keywords about?
There’s nothing mystical or magical about any of this. Unlike conventional keywords which consist of one or two words, long tail keywords are simply longer.
They always consist of three or more words and together the words comprise phrases or often, questions.
WHy you should use long tail keywords
The short answer is because they have far better potential to get your post seen by the readers you’re targeting.
The reason they’re effective? They provide maximum information about the niche, topic, product or service. This also means they are very relevant. Google loves well matched relevant content, with keywords.
For example, if you want to write a post about tennis rackets. Which of these tells you more about what the reader wants to know?
High-level keyword: “tennis rackets” or
Long Tail Keyword: “best tennis rackets for beginner to intermediate players”
The second one of course because it’s more specific, helping you target your information to the exact needs of the audience who reads it.
Long tail keywords are usually less competitive and are searched for by fewer people.
This often puts bloggers off because they believe the more people who search for a keyword, the better. While this is true in theory, it’s only useful if you can capture some of those eyeballs, but if your post is never seen by any of the 12000 searchers, what’s the point?
Are you not better off using keywords searched for by fewer people who have a chance of seeing your post?
Wouldn’t it be a smarter idea to write more posts targeting long tail keywords that are found by readers, rather than focusing on one or a few posts that never get seen?
In my opinion, that’s a definite YES to both, especially if your blog is new or you’re a beginner blogger.
But… you must know how to research for long tail keywords that work. That means identifying possible long tail keywords which you can qualify to see if they’re suitable.
How to find long tail keywords
There are various keyword research tools online that can help you identify long tail keywords.
I’ll show you how to do this using three different tools.
1. Google Search
Google is free to use and can give you possible long tail keyword ideas to explore further. You won’t be given any more information other than the keyword, so you won’t know how suitable they are.
It’s a great starting point nonetheless since according to Google, they show actual keywords searched for by people.
Start with typing in what is often referred to as a root keyword in the search bar and Google will automatically give you a list of long tail keywords, as below.
Let’s use ‘healthy smoothies” as an example:
Ubersuggest is a keyword tool developed by well-known marketer, Neil Patel. It will give you a good overview and some useful information, from search volume to pay per click data.
You can use the keyword tool for free as many times as you like, without any limitations. You can also download the suggestions to your computer which is very useful.
Using the same keyword ‘healthy smoothies” as an example, this is what the tool returned.
UPDATE: While Ubersuggest is still a useful tool, I’ve recently started using another free tool called, Soovle. It’s similar except better in my opinion as the tool scrapes keywords form a variety of sources, including, Google, Bing, YouTube and Amazon.
Jaaxy is my keyword research tool of choice. I like it because it’s easy to use and gives me what I need.
There is a free starter option if you want to check it out as well as paid options, one of which I have. I use the tool many times daily and wouldn’t be without it.
Using the same keyword ‘healthy smoothies” as an example, you will see that you are given a lot more information about each keyword.
Try using Jaaxy for some of your own keywords by typing in a root keyword below:
Looking for more ways to mine for long tail keywords? Brian Dean, recognized SEO expert and founder of Backlinko writes in depth about how to find longtail keywords.
But having a list of possible long tail keywords doesn’t mean much on its own. How do you know which are good to use?
You need to qualify them.
How to Qualify long tail keywords
No matter where you get your long tail keywords from, you must qualify them to make sure they’re going to work, before you do all the hard work of writing a post.
Who decides on the criteria? In the end, you do. You can read ten different views about this and get ten different answers.
I suggest starting with some recommended criteria. You can change and refine this as you learn more about works well for you.
Also not all keyword research tools provide the same information so it will depend on the one you use.
I’m going to give you some basic criteria and show you how I use Jaaxy and Google to qualify my keywords.
At a basic level, each keyword must:
- Consist of 4 or more words that make grammatical sense. Generally, people who use four or more words are looking for something specific. The more specific the information required, the more likely they are to respond to your call to action, as long as what you’re offering them is what they need.
- Get a minimum of 100 searches a month. I used to always look for at least 50 searches per month but I have increased this now based on advice from more experienced bloggers. The more searches the keyword gets the better.
- Return 500 or fewer search results when searched for in Google as an exact match keyword. This is the piece I was not doing and has become the one tweak I have made to my research process. No matter what tool you use, always check that you are competing with 500 or less other people trying to rank for the exact same keyword. The fewer the number, the easier it will be to rank your keyword.
Let’s see how this process works with actual keywords:
The Research Process in Action
I started with the root keyword, “healthy smoothies” using Jaaxy. I identified the long tail keyword, “simple healthy smoothie recipes” to explore further.
As you can see from the above, it appears to be a good keyword.
It consists of four words that make sense and gets 120 searches per month.
It also satisfies some other Jaaxy specific metrics – The Traffic I can expect to my blog post is 21 if I can get the post to page 1 of Google.
QSR stands for Quoted Search Results which means the number of competing websites ranked in Google for this exact keyword.
In the past, I aimed for 100 or less but since learning a bit more, I’ve changed this to 50 or less. In this case, 23 is well within my requirements.
KQI stands for Keyword Quality Indicator. I always want this to be a green “Great” which it is.
Finally, it achieves an SEO score of 98. The higher this score, the more likely I am to rank for this keyword on the first page of Google. You always want this to be 90 or more, which it is here.
It’s at this stage I would previously have rushed off to write a post using a keyword like this.
You must first qualify the keyword using Google to see how many other people are also trying to rank for this exact match keyword.
To do this, you simply type it into Google between quote marks, so “simple healthy smoothie recipes“.
Here’s the result:
As you can see it returns 532, 000 results. 😲
With ten results per a page, what chance do you think I stand of ranking for this keyword any time soon?
Even if I did a lot of search engine optimization it would take me years, if ever, to rank anywhere near the first page.
Since I want 500 or fewer results, this keyword does not qualify and I wouldn’t use it for a post.
Let’s have a look at a different long tail keyword – “good healthy smoothie recipes”
In terms of the numbers, this keyword is very similar to the first one.
It gets a few more searches and meets all the preliminary requirements, but how will it perform when we qualify it in Google?
See for yourself…
What a difference one word makes! By substituting one word, ‘simple’ with ‘good’, I now have a keyword that qualifies. 🙂
Only 198 other people are competing for this keyword which meets my 500 or fewer criteria. I would stand a much better chance of ranking for this keyword compared with the first keyword
This is an example of the type of great tips you get when you’re part of an online membership community like Wealthy Affiliate.
Many of the members are extremely experienced and successful. Their help can make all the difference between being successful and not.
If you’d like to see more keywords qualified in this way, I recommend you watch this video:
How to research for long tail keywords – wrap up
If you’re a beginner I suggest finding 100 such keywords to use in blog posts, but be warned, it can be quite time consuming activity.
Personally I quite enjoy the challenge and if it’s the difference between ranking for the keyword and not, isn’t it worth your time?
Knowing how to research for long tail keywords is only the starting point, however…
You will still have to write an amazing post that is relevant and engaging so people stay on your site and take the action you want. You must also know how to use the keyword correctly in your post and optimize the keyword correctly for search engine optimization.
Lastly, it’s likely, even when you’re using a great long tail keyword, that it’s still going to take a few months for the keyword to rank well in the search results so don’t be impatient, get on with writing your next post.
In any case, wouldn’t you rather rank well in a few month’s time as opposed to in a few year’s time, or worse, to never rank at all?
What do you think?
Got Questions? Something to say? Leave a comment. Let’s chat
Hey... I'm Mark! If you want to know how to blog for a living, you're in the right place. One of the ways I make money blogging, is as an affiliate. Meaning, if you buy something via a link on this site I could earn a commission, at no extra cost to you. It's how you can make money too. Ready? Let's do this!
FREE CHECKLIST download
Find out whether you've got what it takes to be a money earning blogger.