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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:

2. ubersuggest 

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.  

3. Jaaxy 

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 

Keyword #1

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. 


Keyword #2

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 Qualify Great Keywords On Jaaxy, Using Google Search To Ensure Fast Rankings!



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



  1. Sujandar Mahesan

    I have been in the affiliate marketing for a while now and I’m getting to know the complications in them. I’m just starting to learn about the Long tail keywords and how beneficial they can be for getting ranked. This article is like a guide for me. It was easy to read and understand for me. I’m going to follow this and see how my rankings gets better.

    Thank you so much for sharing this article with us.

    • Mark Baker

      Hi Sujandar

      Great to see you here again and thanks for the feedback about this post.

      It’s really important to use a good mix of keywords on your website, both shorter more competitive ones as well as long tail ones. As long as you choose your long tail keywords carefully, you optimize them on your page and promote your post, you will be able to rank better for these keywords than the more competitive ones. Over time this will help Google to understand your website offers quality information that people want to read. This in turn will help your other more competitive keywords to rank better later on.

      I hope that this strategy works out well for you.


  2. Clement

    Great and highly informative post, I find this really helpful and resourceful. I never knew the importance of long tail keyword, thanks for providing great Information about it. I have came across Jaaxy before and I think it’s is one of the best tools around. I will check here for more updates in the future.  

    • Mark Baker

      Most experienced online marketers will tell you that it’s good to have a mix of high-level keywords that you aim to rank for in the long term, as well as having a good selection of long tail keywords that are less competitive for which you can start ranking a lot faster. 

      Jaaxy is a wonderfully simple keyword research tool that can help you mine for many keyword gems that you might not find elsewhere. It’s a tool I use daily and would not be without. 

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


  3. Dave Sweney

    I have to say you have a knack for explaining things in an easy to understand manner. This post on researching long-tailed keywords so posts get found by people searching and gets you the results you are looking for is great! I just bookmarked another one of your posts and this is the second one.

    I do professional development sessions regularly for my VAs and always am on the lookout for external information such as this post that will help get across the points of the subject of the sessions. Keywords are important to getting us the traffic we are looking for to our websites.

    The VA’s jobs are to get the content created that will include the keywords that we do our research on and know that we have a chance on ranking for in the search engines. As you say, the long-tail keywords are really shortcuts to getting traffic faster.

    Over time, as more and more of your content is ranking well, some of the other keywords will also start ranking and getting you traffic. This is where the gold comes in for you as a website owner and as an online marketer. Once you have them as long as you offer something of value they will stay longer and eventually come back (as I just did!).

    The last step is one that we have not been using, and now I understand that this may be the reason that some of our long-tailed keywords may not have been appropriate for our purposes. I will have the VAs go back through to make some adjustments. 

    Thanks for a useful post! 

    • Mark Baker

      Hi Dave 

      I really appreciate you stopping by and adding to the conversation here. Thank you.

      Also great to hear that my explanations were easy enough to understand. That’s what I was aiming for. 😉

      Most definitely VA’s who create content MUST know how to identify the best keywords for writing posts, so I’m delighted to hear that what I’ve written here will be helpful in explaining the process to them too. 

      It definitely is a time-based project when it comes to increasing the value of all the keywords on your site. As long as you keep adding to your asset and developing the value you offer then over time it all starts to come together. 

      Of course you can rank for more competitive keywords, even if there is a lot of competition, but it takes a lot of time, SEO and promotion. It definitely makes sense to try and get more less competitive keywords ranking on your site in the meantime so you can start nurturing the relationship with Google long before those more competitive keywords start to rank. 


  4. Janelle

    Thank you so much for these great tips!  I have been using Jaaxy for awhile now and love it, and I’m getting good rankings on my reviews.  But other posts are taking way too long to rank, in my opinion, and I think it’s because I haven’t been qualifying my keywords with Google.  I’m going to start doing that using 500 as my criteria and see if it makes a difference!

    • Mark Baker

      Hi Janelle

      Great to have you stop by and leave a comment.

      I agree. Test it out for yourself and see what happens. I always tell people, don’t wait for others to tell you what works and what doesn’t, test it yourself. 

      Also  tweak it for your own niche too as some are far more competitive than others. 

      I hope it makes a difference to your rankings Janelle. 

      Al the best,


  5. Muhiyb

    Thanks Mark for this article. It’s really helpful. I’ve been doing this the wrong way for a long time now, I’m very glad I come across your article. I’ve been using some shitty tools and methods before now.

    I’ve learnt many important tricks and ways to easily get my site to rank and appear on first page of search results. 

    The Jaaxy tool is fully loaded and does most of the job for you. I’ll be sure to get mine ASAP. I can’t afford to be doing it wrong again.

    • Mark Baker

      You are welcome and pleased the post has been helpful.

      Writing and promoting posts takes a lot of time so as you say there is no point in wasting time if the keywords are not going to rank well. 

      As I see it if you’re going to put all that work into it, you may as well give yourself the best chance of success.


  6. Nuttanee

    This makes a lot of sense. I see it all the time when I use google search and right there, I always see all Long Tail Keyword that google suggests. Somehow, I never use it on my site, talking about the elephant in the room huh? I wish Jaxxy has the Long Tail Keyword options, it is time consuming like you said to come up with the correct grammar from these keywords tool. Will give it a try, you never I might rank on the first page lol

    • Mark Baker

      Just make sure you always check the metrics for the long tail keywords suggested by Google. Sometimes they are so popular and competitive that it’s impossible to rank for them any time soon. 

      You can always look for a similar search term that gets enough searches and has less competition though. Jaaxy often comes up with some good ideas but these mist still be qualified in Google as per my post.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  7. Ayodeji

    This is really helpful, I like the way you analysed it and the illustrations were superb, it’s a jungle out there when website ranking is involved. I never know other tools too can be used besides Jaaxy (Ubbertool and Google search). As a newbie am used to Jaaxy and am just getting the hang of it. Thanks for sharing this. Really helpful 

    • Mark Baker

      Great to have you visit and leave a comment. 

      Jaaxy is a great help as it provides lots of options and ideas to find keywords you won’t find presented by other tools. 

      It can be quite overwhelming at times when it comes to getting posts ranked. The biggest problem is having unrealistic expectations of a keyword that was always going to be a challenge. 

      Thank you.


  8. Ahimbe

    Thank you Mark for this wonderful tip on how to get my site found. I have to try this out.
    I am glad you have given me 3 sites to help get my long tail keywords.

    • Mark Baker

      You’re very welcome my friend. Great to hear the post was useful. I’d love to hear how it all works out for you. I’ll be updating this post with my findings too.


  9. enrique vanegas

    Thank you very much Mark for sharing ¨HOW TO RESEARCH FOR LONG TAIL KEYWORDS THAT GET YOUR POSTS FOUND¨. You just saved me from making a big mistake.I have my website up and running and bought, recently, my domain name. Now I am about to write my first  content and went along with the protocols: keywords. I went by Jaaxy and found what I thought my ideal title, before I read your blog.My niche is healthy eating, so I found ¨How to eat a balanced diet¨ It had the following stats: 306 (AVG), 21 (QSR), 91(SEO). It met the criteria of high traffic, low competition. Thank god I didn´t write content with that title. I checked with Google and found out it had 98,100,000 results!!!I´m going back to the drawing board. By the way, you mention you are at WA. Can I contact you?

    • Mark Baker

      Hi Enrique

      Yes the problem is keywords can appear to be great until you check the competition. It’s not that you can’t rank well for that keyword, but it will probably take years to get there and then how far you can get will also depend on other sites who are ranking on the top pages. If they are mature, authority sites you may well never be able to get to the first page of results.

      Good luck with finding a different keyword. The best thing to do is follow the process to choose a new keyword, write a great post, do the SEO necessary on the page and promote the post using social media.

      Yes of course you can contact me. Just send a PM to MarkBa, which is my log in name. I may not be able to reply immediately but I will get back to you as soon as I can.


  10. GVporras

    Now I know why I can’t find my post in Google!  I’ve been making the mistake of not checking how many are competing for the same keyword in Google or rather I did not know that I could do this. I’m so glad I came across your article and learned this new hack. 

    I also watched the video link you gave, How To Qualify Great Keywords On Jaaxy, Using Google Search To Ensure Fast Rankings!  which is really good and very helpful.

    Thank you for sharing this great article.

    • Mark Baker

      Great to hear that you found this post useful. Now you know how to qualify your keywords in Google, so hopefully you will be able to identify some really great keywords for new posts that you and others can find in Google and which also rank really well too. Wishing you all the best. 


  11. Enrique

    Hi Mark,

    I couldn´t find you at WA, so I´m dropping you this line. You mentioned that it takes 90 days to rank, do this also applies to long- tail keywords?


    • Mark Baker

      Hi Enrique,

      Good question, thanks for asking. To be honest there is no simple answer to this whether it’s a long tail keyword or not.

      It usually doesn’t take too long for Google to index a post but to move up the ranks to a top position depends on so many factors that it’s impossible to say with any certainty how long it will take. However, a critical factor is how much other competition there is for the keyword. The less there is the better.

      It could take less than 90 days but it can also take longer. A lot of very experienced marketers like Neil Patel seem to agree that it if you optimize for the keyword on your page and do what you can to improve the SEO using plugins like Yoast or All in One SEO, and you also promote the post on social media, then it will usually take about 3 months to get a top ranking.

      The more competition and the stronger that competition is, the harder you will have to work and the longer it will take. This why you really do want to shoot for long tail keywords that you’ve qualified in Google so you stand a chance of ranking well for them. The more posts you can rank for in this way, the more Google will regard your website website as having some authority.

      I hope my explanation makes sense. Always happy yo answer questions id I can Enrique.


  12. Ola

    So so many useful tips and tricks all on one page! Wonderful! I bookmarked to look further. This is insightful and I must say its a lovely article. I am  just getting to know about long tail keyword but I must tell you they are lovely tips and I will make use of them. This is a must for all newbie bloggers  to read. Thanks for sharing. Its well appreciated

    • Mark Baker

      Hello again Ola 

      Great to hear that these tips about long tail keywords will help you with your blogging. It’s important to understand how they work and to use them in your blog posts. Hopefully I’ve given you some good ideas to find effective keywords for your own posts.


  13. Phil Lancaster

    Hey Mark, what a valuable and insightful article for anyone looking to get their blog posts ranked on the search engines. Particularly Google. I always find it easier to get ranked on Bing and Yahoo than on Google.

    Your comments about how many bloggers just think the higher number of searches the better, is just so true. Look for “weight loss” or “reduce fat” and there are millions of searches. But unfortunately there are also millions of competitors. And most of them have been in the business a lot longer and can spend a lot more than any start up blogger.

    So clearly long-tail keywords are the way to go.

    But as you say, how do you do it?

    I love the fact that you’ve detailed 3 different tools – the Google Search Bar, Ubersuggest and Jaaxy.

    They all sound good, especially Jaaxy, and all free, which is great,.

    Jaaxy’s QSR (Quoted Search Results) is probably the most valuable metric of all. Once upon a time, you could get this from Google, but no longer.

    The detail you’ve gone into about using Jaaxy is invaluable.

    Thanks for all this information, Mark.

    • Mark Baker

      Hey Phil

      Thanks for the great comment. 

      I agree with you, it’s a lot easier to get ranked on Bing and Yahoo, but the fact that you ranking on other search engines is a good sign. It means it may still be possible on Google, it might just take a lot longer or require a bit more work.

      It really is a waste of time trying to rank for competitive keywords against players who have been around for a long time. It may happen by how long is it going to take? Far better to start ranking for long tail keywords which helps all the other higher-level keywords on your site to rank too.

      As I say a lot, Jaaxy is my go to tool for sure.There’s not a day it goes by without me using it, many times usually. I remember the old days where you could get metrics from Google. These days what they provide is fairly useless. 

      Thanks again Phil.


  14. Larry

    I want to say that this is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the topic of keyword researching. You made it very readable, simple, and yet usable even for those that are experienced in the field. You put information on verification of your keywords that I missed in my researching. Thanks for sharing your information and helping people to do make money online. I want to see as many people as possible do this to prove that it’s just as reliable a form of income as any 9 to 5 job. I too was missing the part of verifying my keyword so I really appreciate sharing that awesome bit of information. Keep up the great work.

    • Mark Baker

      Hey there Larry

      I saw your other comment but didn’t want to waste your great feedback and contribution to the conversation.

      Great to hear that I was able to pass on some useful information to you as well as someone who’s been doing this for a while. I don’t think we ever stop learning and that’s one of the great things about reading other people’s blog posts. So often I learn something that should’ve been so obvious to me and yet it wasn’t.

      I agree with you, the more people we can inspire to do what we do and know that it’s possible to earn a living this way, the better!


  15. Larry O'Connor Jr

    I want to say first off, that that was one of the best blogs I’ve ever read on keyword research. You have a great writing style that is very readable yet informative. I did find one word that was misspelled and it was the word something in the fourth paragraph. I had missed some of what you said here like the verifying of keywords but you give some of the best information I have seen. Thanks for sharing. Your format of the blog is awesome, very easy on the eyes and great hero section and CTA’s on your page. Once again, thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Baker

      Hello Larry

      Great to have you visit and thank you very much for your constructive comment.

      I’m pleased to hear that my writing style makes for easy reading. There is definitely something I always aim to achieve. 

      Thanks too for the heads up about the typo error. You be pleased to hear, thanks to you, I’ve now fixed that up. 🙂

      Good to hear that you learned something about verifying your keywords here and I’m very appreciative of all the feedback. 



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