Long-tail Keywords lead to more Conversions


Apr 15, 2011

For most websites, when the keywords are first chosen, they are often high search volume, head keywords targeted. The market for such keywords is a tough one, oversaturated with every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to rank for it in search engines. This stiff competition, as all adversity does, lead to a discovery in the power of long-tail keywords, which seemed to be ranking easier and converting better. From 2005 – 2009, the focus on head keywords shifted for most experienced SEO professionals, most notably in Chris Anderson’s book: “The Long Tail: Why the future of business is selling less for more”. They encouraged clients and friends to focus on long-tail keywords. Then, this past September was filled with high expectations for Google Instant and the likely death of the long-tail keyword.

Well, here we are, several months later and I can tell you now that it was all hype. Despite rumors and Google’s hopeful success of Google Instant, long-tail keywords are still large and in charge for SEO.

For those of you unfamiliar with the long-tail keyword, let me give you a brief overview:

The long-tail keyword is simply a combination of multiple words (usually 3 or more), that are specific and relevant to a product or service sold. In essence, long tails are considerably more definitive and often times used to refine the search process by the visitor.

Why are long-tail keywords working so well for rankings and conversion?

Our economy has been making the shift from ‘one-size fits all’ products and marketing to millions of niche markets. The advantages of selling over the Internet trickle down to the distribution level in a major way, removing previous constraints on retailers as far as inventory size and variety.

For example:

Amazon has an unlimited inventory. They can sell any product anywhere in the world thanks to the Internet.

Your local grocery store does not carry every food product available in the world. It doesn’t even carry all of the heavily advertised products in the U.S.

The difference is Amazon is not limited by the price of shelf space and other storage considerations.

Now people search for items and services that match their very specific interests. That means your average user is typing 2 or more words into search bars to find their subject of choice. Statistics from a client’s website tell the story:

  • 62,844 Total Visits
  • 47,652 Visits from Search
  • 23,824 Keywords from Search
  • The top 10 keywords made up 4,963 searches
  • More than 50,000 visits resulted from over 23,000 different keywords!

Each of the 10 main keywords generated a considerable amount of visits; however, the combined visits from the long-tail keywords amounted to well over 10x as many visits.

Bottom line is the people using long-tail keywords when they search are more likely to convert because they are much more likely to find the exact product or service they needed or wanted. A long term plan of consistently creating quality content using several long-tail keywords, will definitely add tons of keyword substance to your website and increase the conversion rate, albeit slowly.

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