Keyword Research: What Are You Doing Wrong?

Text written on a black board.

In SEO basics you’ve learned just how important is keyword research. 

A few more scrolls and clicks and you’ve certainly run into the notions of head keywords and long-tail keywords. 

Alternatively, your keyword research guide might have talked about primary and secondary keywords.

Just to make sure we are absolutely on the same page:

Head keywords = primary keywords

Long-tail keywords = secondary keywords

The correlation is not a 100% match of meaning, but it will suffice for the points this article will make.

Are my keywords working?

Charts and statistics.

Next time you’re sitting in front of your laptop thinking about how to rank higher on Google, be sure to dedicate that brainpower to figuring out how to do long-tail keyword research. 

It’d be a great use of your time since well over 70% of all web searches are generated by long-tail keywords. That leaves about 30% of the traffic being generated by head or primary keywords, so maybe don’t stress yourself as much with crafting meticulous sets of them.

If you’ve been snoozing on the long-tail keyword research, the harsh reality is that you’ve been missing out on about 70% of the online traffic. It’s ok. At least now you’re in the know. 😉

What exactly are long-tail keywords?

People discussing at a desk.

You might know what keywords are and how they work but perhaps you’re not completely clear on what long-tail keywords are, so let’s get rid of that issue right now. 

Long-tail keywords are phrases containing 3 to 5 words as opposed to 1 or 2 as it is with head keywords.

The main characteristic that distinguishes long-tail keywords from head keywords is that they have a low search volume

Wait so they don’t bring any traffic?

They do bring traffic, but, truthfully, not as much as head keywords do.

So then why should I use long-tail keywords?

Because they bring in more targeted, and therefore, relevant traffic, which, in turn, leads to higher conversion rates.

Huh? 

No worries, we’ll get to it in a second. 💪

Are long-tail keywords better?

Person consulting a manual.

The main purpose of using long-tail keywords is to try to get as close as possible to the user search intent. 

Why? To do this:

Anticipate the user intent ➡️ Get the clicks ➡️ Get the traffic.

That’s settled. 😁

Think about it: when you get on Google, you usually type in something specific in the search queries if you want to end up with a satisfactory result in this lifetime. So you’re engaging long-tail keywords.

Benefits of long-tail keywords use

Now that you know for sure how to identify long-tail keywords, let’s have a quick look at the benefits of using long-tail keywords. 

  • Long-tail keywords rank easier

Why?

Because the competition is less.

There are far fewer pages competing for a keyword such as the benefits of content marketing in 2020 (long-tail keyword) than they are for content marketing (head keyword). 

  • Long-tail keywords rank best for voice search 

And voice search is the future of SEO. The logic behind this is simple, right? 

The user usually utters a minimum of 4 to 5 words when talking to Siri or Google Assistant. You’ve seen the funny videos, you know. People literally ask them full-blown questions.

What is the best ice cream place near me?

How do I bake brownies?

How do I use shortcuts on my MacBook Air?

All long-tail keywords carry great untapped potential.

Which basically places your content at the very top of the results page, above the sponsored links. 

Am I telling you that you can reach the very top of the page without having to put money into ads?

Yes. With content built around long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keyword generator? Is that a thing yet?

A neatly arranged desk.

How do you put together a relevant long-tail keyword list? 

1. You use Google Autocomplete

All you have to do is type in your head keyword and see what other kinds of words pop out related to the search. 

For instance, if my head keyword is document projects, all I have to do is start typing in a question containing it. 

Google autocomplete screenshot.

The Autocomplete will list the top ways the question I typed in is most commonly asked.

Go ahead and take your pick of user-driven long-tail keywords.

Also, you can scroll down the page and check out the searches related to your inquiry. 

Related search on Google screenshot.

So if Autocomplete searches were not exactly on target, it’d definitely be worth it to take a look at the bottom of the page.

2. Get on Quora 

Chances are you’ve already googled something and came across people discussing the topic on Quora. So obviously you need to go where the conversations take place.

It works similarly with the way the Google Autocomplete works. You type in your head keyword in the search box and scan the results. See what fits best for long-tail keywords options.

For example, when I wanted to see what Quora had to say about easy content marketing, it immediately suggested the following questions:

Quora questions screenshot.

Enough with stressing out about your long-tail keywords. It’s only a simple 2-step process. 

3. Go on Answer the Public

Can the name be more obvious? 😅

You’ll discover that much like the results you can get from Quora, Answer the Public also provides you with sets of question-based keywords. 

So to use the example from above:

Alphabetical keyword clusters.

After typing in the head keyword content marketing, I got a total of 203 alphabeticals. 

The website also provides nice visual alternatives in offering this information. So, if I click on the Image rectangle, I get this:

Keywords clusters in branches.

The more opaque the color, the better the keyword choice. The intense green at the top, thus, represents the top user searches. 

I’m confident you know what to do next. 📝

Blogging and SEO

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