Understanding the Real Value of Long Tail Keywords – Part 1

long tail keywords When it comes to search engine optimization, everyone dreams of ranking for that one, big, fat, juicy keyword that gets millions of unique searches every month. The trouble with setting your reticule on this target, though, is a lot more complicated than you might expect.

Sure, if you could rank for a term like that you would be able to run a web business that pulled in millions of dollars a year. You wouldn’t have to worry about creating lots of content for smaller key words, and you could simply coast through the year as your site pulled in more traffic than your server could handle. But the truth is, ranking for those keywords just isn’t really possible these days.

The Trouble with Big, High Volume Keywords

There are three problems that anyone targeting these keywords is going to face:

  1. There are far too many competitors…
  2. Who have been targeting these keywords for far too long…
  3. And most of the people searching for these terms don’t even know what they’re looking for

When it comes to the competition you face, these keywords are just too saturated. It requires almost no effort to find these keywords, and if you’re note already convinced of that try a little experiment. Open up the Google keyword research tool and type in any phrase you can think of.

What pops up is the same thing that every other internet marketer saw, and those big fat juicy targets caused them to drool just as much as you. Anyone thinking about building a website that is optimized for specific keywords has already found these phrases and decided to give them a go.

In addition to the abundant and fierce competition you face for these phrases, you also need to realize that these terms were originally targeted a very long time ago. Is it possible for you to build a back link profile that pushes your ranking for these terms above whoever is lucky enough to currently be in the first position? Sure! But it’s incredibly difficult for two reasons.

First, you have to do it in a way that doesn’t leave an easily identifiable foot print. If you’re building links at a rapid pace enough pace to catch up, the Google algorithms are going to recognize this and your links will probably be devalued. The second problem is just how expensive it’s going to be – you will need a lot of links, and your competitors who are already profiting from that key phrase will find it easy to outspend you.

Finally, if you understand how generic and broad these phrases are, you can understand why they’re not really commercially viable. Is a customer who is searching for “lizards” going to buy anything? Probably not, and that’s not the kind of traffic you want.

Long Tail Keywords Will Provide ROI

A user searching for a phrase like “how to take care of a leopard gecko,” though, is in a state of mind to buy something. Those are the kinds of terms you want to target. The competition isn’t nearly as tough as it would be for a broader term (like “lizards”) and you actually have a searcher that knows exactly what they are looking for.

All you have to do is figure out how to provide them what they’re after, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. So, just exactly what does it take to find and profit from these keywords? That’s exactly what you’ll learn in the next part of this series.

Part 2 and Part 3 of the series “Understating the Real value of Long Tail Keywords” are coming soon. Stay Tuned!

About the Author:

Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100 Live Chat, a leading provider of live chat software for business. As a software developer as well as a small business expert, he’s always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Find Kevin on Google+ to find out more about him.

Comments (18)

  • This technique of seo can work in both ways like good or bad but if you will use it after think then i don’t think so it will prove wrong step for you.

  • I totally agree with you – from my experience long tail keywords often give you much better conversion, at least in most commercial niches. ANd they are of course easier to rank for. The only drawback here is, that it’s often hard to get enough long keywords to achieve the traffic amount you want

  • I think for a long term point of view, this type of keywords will produce good result.

  • Both, short and long tail keywords should be targeted in SEO strategy and link building, respectively for long and short term strategy. Depending on the niche, some long tail keywords can drive laser sharp traffic and convert very well.

  • Very nice instead using just normal keyword, we can try use very long one. i think with the change in the SEO world, long keyword will be much needed in the new era..

  • very nice post and nice trick by this we surly increase our visitors thanks for sharing.

  • One word keywords and long tail keywords both have values. Long tail keywords are easy to optimize so they are preferred more.

  • Hi Atish,

    As some other people have commented, I think you need to target a variety of keywords. If you’re building an authority site, I think it’s still worth aiming at some of the shorter, high volume keywords, as long as you realize you’re in for the long haul and don’t expect instant results.

    I do think keyword research is a bit of a minefield and if you’re not careful you can tie yourself up in knots – because there are all sorts of other imponderables, like what minimum search volume you should aim for, and whether to look at ‘broad’, ‘exact’ or ‘phrase’ returns – it all makes my head ache!


    • Yes Sue, you are right. We need target a combination of short tail and long tail keywords with high search volume. Keyword research is indeed the most important part of SEO. thanks for your views. Keep reading at TTW.

  • Hi Atish,

    Thanks for such a great post. Lots of value here.

    It is great to know that you are making a series about long tail keywords. As a new blogger, I find SEO a bit complicated and I am trying to learn all about it. Thanks for putting it all together. I will be checking back for parts 2 and 3.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Be Blessed,


  • Hi Atish,

    THANK YOU so much for this article. I am relatively new to the blogging world. I have just settled with a reasonably professionally designed blog. My next move is to learn all the SEO techniques.

    I agree with you that those big fat juicy keywords can be very competitive. Your view on the longer key words is insightful. I really appreciate your sharing 🙂

    I look forward to reading your parts 2 and 3 in this series!

    Be Blessed!

    Viola The Business Mum

  • Very Good article for the finding long tail keywords for our site, social media is great for finding long tail keyword. I think twitter is most reliable for this because people are generally tweet their thoughts so we can get quick idea from that. Your all four tips are really awesome to finding traffic and promote our site thorough long tail keywords.

  • Hi Atish,

    That’s a very good explanation of why broad keywords don’t work anymore. Gosh, when I came online over 6 years ago they already didn’t work anymore, so I can only imagine now.

    That’s why using long tail keywords nowadays is always a bet bet, even though I believe that nothing is ever granted with keywords, and we can only try and see. If it doesn’t work, well, we need to try something else.

  • Great post Atish!

    You point out three excellent points about the real trouble with trying to rank for high volume keywords.

    Your third point is excellent, that being, a searcher that types in a broad keyword, is probably not quite ready to become, either a customer client just yet. Excellent point, and great points in general as well!
    Mark recently posted…Three Simple Online Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From Former Boxing Great Sugar Ray Leonard!My Profile


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