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Long Tail Keywords

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Short tail vs long tail keywords

What are long tail keywords?

We're sure that some of you might already know what long tail keywords are. For others, here is the definition - “A long tail keyword is a combination of 3-6 words that are specific and relevant to the products you sell. In simple terms, any generic keyword that has product features, Model number, SKU no. price range, etc. can be taken as a long tail keyword.” (The phrase long tail was coined by Chris Anderson)

Keyword research is one of the most significant and basic SEO processes. When identifying keywords for retail search marketing campaign (irrespective of Organic or PPC), targeting long tail keyword is one of the mantras to increase search traffic and improve conversion rate (if your website meets online shopper's expectations, of course!).

Here is an example of both long tail and short tail keywords:

Long Tail Keywords:

Canon power shot digital camera 2MP
17 inch LCD TV free shipping
Barack Obama action figure

Short Tail Keywords:

Digital Camera
Mp3 Music player

Long Tail keywords vs. Short keywords

A person who is using short tail keywords (general keywords to be specific) such as digital camera may be looking for different brands/models available in digital camera or might be conducting some research on how digital camera works. So it is better to make your category pages filled with short keywords. Example: Digital Camera, Desktop, etc…

Ranking well for short keywords is not a bad idea, but at the same time it may not work always. A person who is using long tail keyword such as “Canon power shot digital camera 2MP “has already done some research and may be evaluating the product price, merchants selling it, etc… and is more likely to purchase the product.

Truth about Long Tail Keywords:

Can easily rank in search engines
Will not have too much competition
Will not be present in keyword database because search volume is very minimal
Can boost conversion (but depends on various factors, we shall see this in later part of our article)

So make your product pages sing with long tail keywords, but how to find them?

Basic Steps to find Long tail keywords:
Brainstorm – Step into online shopper's shoe and conduct an imaginary search or ask friends and relatives to suggest long tail keywords if they were to search for products.
Competitor Analysis - Peep into competitor's product page and find what long tail keywords they have used.
Look into your log files and see what long tail keywords people have used to find your website.
Gather all these keywords and check for keyword relevancy. Ignore all those keywords that are irrelevant or too generic to define your product.
With a basic keyword research, you can tweak your website architecture, navigation and product content pages.

Here is the simple strategy you can follow…
Use general keywords in the home page – Example: Camera & Photo
Use specific keywords in category pages – Example: Digital Camera
Use brand specific keywords in brand category pages – Example: Canon Digital Camera
Target long tail keywords in the specific product page – Example: Canon Digital Camera 7.1mp with 3x Optical Zoom.
Long Tail Keywords boost conversion – Myth or Reality
I personally feel that it is a reality. Let me illustrate my point. Recently, I got a chance to look at the traffic data of an online retailer.
I found out Google and Yahoo to be the highest traffic contributors that gave 20,000 (approx) visitors from 13,500 (approx) search terms but the conversion rate was just 0.05% (10 orders and $1,400 revenue), which is a little discouraging.

Out of 12,000 search terms, 70% were long tail keywords. Good news is that the visitors who actually turned out to be potential buyers had used long tail keywords. And, bad news is that these conversion numbers were not quite tempting.

It would look like the statement “long tail keywords boosts conversion” is more of myth than reality. No, it is actually not. Long tail keywords can make or break conversion. Conversion/sales do not always happen when you get targeted traffic, it's just an opportunity.

The point I want to stress here is “Long tail keywords can bring conversion only if your website (landing page) content is relevant to the search phrase along with the availability of other landing page hygiene factors.”

Now, do some home work: View your analytics tool/log files to see for how many long tail keywords your webpage ranks in search engine.
What percentage of conversion these long tail keywords have given?
What is the bounce rate?
If most of your long tail keywords just give you traffic with no sales then there could be any or all of the following problems
Irrelevant landing page (No relevancy)
Weak product description
No extensive information product features
No Call to actions
No Company Logo
No Sign of trust
No proper content presentation format
Poor product image
Weak Navigation
Sloppy website design
No proper placement of shopping cart
The product price might be higher
Long checkout page and other factors.

So the fact that “long tail keywords boost conversion” is definitely not a myth, but to realize it, we need the help of other factors. So, “long tail keywords can boost conversion, if there is keyword relevancy in the web page copy and other elements that constitute a good landing page.”

Keywords: Long tail keywords


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