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The Importance of Long-Tail Keywords

By | 04.06.17
The Importance of Long-Tail Keywords

The topic of SEO likely came up when you set up content on your website, or perhaps if you’ve gotten so far as blogging and heard about it there. SEO (search engine optimization) is a tactic we use to ensure our business ranks well enough with search engines such that it shows up prominently on results pages. Basically, when someone searches for what we do locally, we want to be one of the top results they see. That part’s pretty intuitive.

Now comes the tricky part. Over the years, SEO has become more and more of a science. Search engines are now very advanced in how they calculate the trustworthiness and relevance of websites, changing their algorithms regularly. Keyword stuffing and focusing your efforts on single, one-word keywords are a thing of the past. Search engines like Google see right past these amateur tactics, and they even punish sites that employ them. Instead, SEO experts are incorporating long-tail keywords into their content.

What is a long-tail keyword?

It’s exactly what you might guess. It’s longer than the typical keyword(s) you would incorporate into your content, and it’s more specific. Some quick examples:

  • “Lawyer in Poughkeepsie” becomes “Family attorney specializing in custody in Dutchess County”
  • “Grooming in Dallas” becomes “Pet grooming and self-serve dog baths in Dallas/Fort Worth”
  • “Landscaping in Boston” becomes “Tree pruning and up-scale gardening services in Boston”

Why long-tail keywords matter:

Some industries have a lot of players in your local community, so the competition is steep. When there are multiple websites and businesses offering the same service in the same geographical area, it can be really tough to get found online. Long-tail keywords allow you to compete in the right space.

Long-tail keywords also bring you more qualified leads. Basically, if you’ve used a more detailed keyword phrase and someone finds you because they’ve conducted the same, specific search for what you do, they’re much more likely to get exactly what they’re looking for from your business. We call this “qualified”, because they’ve basically self-identified as someone needing your precise service offering. Now it’s on you to swoop in and earn that business.

If you’re thinking, “Wait! Is there a chance I could end up with fewer total leads than before?” The honest answer is, “Absolutely.” But here’s the difference. Since these leads are more qualified and more accurately match what you’re selling, your conversion rate is likely to rise. Fewer, high-quality leads with a greater percentage of customers converting and buying your product or service should make you a happy business owner. And, you’ll stop wasting your time on folks who want something slightly different from what you’re selling.

Making the magic happen:

  • If you want to attract a certain type of customer within your niche, don’t be afraid to say so!* For example, if you’re a contractor and you provide flooring, it’s important to be clear if you provide high-end, custom installation services using more expensive materials. Not only will you weed out any leads who won’t be a good match, you’ll get more qualified leads searching for your up-scale offering.
    *We obviously say this with the caveat that you need to follow all federal, state and local laws regarding discrimination.
  • Focus on less-competitive keywords. Instead of using generic terms for your business’s service, think of more specific words that may be searched slightly less often but that should still lead a customer to your page.
  • Use language your target audience would use. Avoid industry terminology and acronyms. Shoot for simple.

Ready to get started with better targeting?

Go ahead! Begin incorporating these more specific, less competitive keywords into your website, social and blog content.

Do you already have good content, but it’s not quite working for you? Don’t waste any more time. Contact a Thryv expert today, and we’ll provide a free assessment of how your website is performing compared to the competition.

Get started now.

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