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Ranking on Long-Tail Keywords: An In-Depth Guide

  • Joe Dearing
  • 14 min read
Ranking on Long-Tail Keywords: An In-Depth Guide


Originally used to describe e-commerce websites’ top-selling niche products, long-tail keywords are generally among the least-used search phrases on Google. As a result, their competitions are low, but their conversion potential is high.

This article will go through what makes them essential, how to rank them, the benefits of long-tail keywords in link-building strategies, and what makes them useful for new websites.

What are Long-Tail Keywords?

If you’re new to SEO, you might ask yourself, ‘what are long-tail keywords?’. Don’t sweat it. They’re nothing to be afraid of and are pretty easy to master.

There are two types of long-tail keywords: topical and supporting. Topical long-tails represent a unique search query that typically adopts a local SEO strategy.

In contrast, a supporting longtail is a less popular variation of a head term. Therefore, we will focus on ‘supporting long-tails’ as they’re more relevant to new website owners.

Think of long-tail keywords as questions that users ‘ask’ Google or their preferred search engine. They’re search queries that receive low amounts of searches monthly.

Typically, their phrases are longer than the standard search term, with more significant conversion potential.

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A good example is the differences between the two search terms below. Firstly, ‘Coffee’ receives 10 million searches per month. Whereas ‘how much caffeine in coffee’ gets 75 thousand monthly. Meaning that the second KW counts as a long-tail keyword.

Keyword Volume


how much caffeine in coffee


Also known as tail-topics, digital marketers take advantage of the Long-Tail Keywords SEO strategy, as they have far less competition than head terms. As a result, content containing long-tail keywords leverages better rankings and higher conversion rates.

One Head Theme

The majority of blogs have focus keywords, AKA a head theme, which are terms people search for. They’re short, concise, and come with high volumes. As mentioned previously, competition is far higher with the following heads, as thousands of marketers are trying to leverage rankings using them.

Keyword Volume
face masks


coffee beans


covid-19 test


tea bags


Typically, digital marketers base their articles around these head terms to have a better chance of gaining organic traffic, enhancing search positions, and attracting increased conversions for the company they’re working with.

Think of it this way: If you have a coffee-based blog, one of your articles would be about beans. So, for your post to leverage rankings on Google, something like [Coffee Beans] or [Premium Coffee] would have to be used as the main keyphrase and theme in your content.

Just be sure not to overuse it - otherwise, Google will mark your website as spam and decrease your search positions to penalize you. New digital marketers make this mistake when working on their first publications.

Due to the high competition with the one-head theme, using the above SEO strategy on a new website would be a mistake. Instead, it's more appropriate for websites with high authority and/or good URL ratings.

This is where long-tail keywords come in, with less search competition and higher conversion potential. Although, it’s worth noting that long-tails need to link to head terms.

Long-Tail Keywords

Named after the search demand curve, long-tail keywords are well-structured queries in question, sentence, and phrase form. As compared to head terms, they’re generally longer in length with 3 words or more. A sample long tail keyword can be "home phone service in Virginia". It's more than 3 words and it's a long tail form of the parent keyword "home phone service".

Tail topics exist in large numbers, tend to be easier to address, allow for a more targeted audience, and are far less competitive. In general, long-tails are 3 or more words in length, but this isn’t a strict rule.

The search demand curve contains the current Google trends, based on search activity. The “head” of the curve includes heads with greatly high volumes, the “tail” entails keywords with small amounts of searchers. In form of a Pie Chart, the curve should look something like the following graph:

Long-Tail Keywords

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To qualify as long-tail, a keyword doesn’t always have to be less than 0.0008% of the monthly searches on the chart above. It’s also worth noting that there’s no strict definition. To consider a search term a long-tail, it goes by the “head” you’re linking it to.

What Makes Long-Tail Keywords So Important?

Long-tail keywords have less competition and are easier to rank on. Mostly, they’re question-based keywords - meaning articles surrounding them answer their readers’ questions. Not only will you leverage rankings, but your website will likely gain returning visitors. As mentioned previously, they allow digital marketers to produce content around popular niches with far less competition.

1) Less Competition

Imagine you are about to launch a site about coffee. When searching for keywords, you’ll find that some search terms have a higher keyword difficulty score than others. ‘KD’ refers to how difficult it is to get to the first page of Google results with them. Therefore, the higher the number, the harder it is to rank.

Keyword KD Volume
coffee 95


The beauty of long-tail keywords is that many of their KDs are generally lower than heads. For the most part, it is far easier to rank on the first pages of Google by including them in your articles. It’s safe to say that these queries haven’t been made to the raiders of most digital marketers.

Keyword KD Volume
protein powder in coffee 15


When a keyword difficulty is lower, your website has more chance to obtain search positions and gain organic traffic. With a SERP analysis tool, you can find faults with your competitor’s rankings to improve your rankings by getting a detailed analysis of any head or long-tail.

Note: If you’re new to SEO and don’t know what SERP stands for, the letters stand for search engine results page, which is in response to a keyword - either head or long-tail.

SERP analyses go by 3+ trillion backlink data, as well as accurate KD scores. Therefore, you’ll know whether or not competing with your competitor on a long-tail or head-term is worthwhile. Therefore, it saves you time and raises your article rankings above those of your competition.

2) Easier to Address

Generally, long-tail keywords are easier to address. Going by the search terms above, it’s possible to write thorough articles about those topics. The reason is that most long-tails are question-based. Therefore, your article would be answering their questions. For example, ‘what’s the best niche in digital marketing?’ or ‘what are the best alternatives to coca-cola?’.

However, this is speaking in general terms. It goes without saying that not every long-tail keyword is easy to expand into a full-length article.

3) They Exist in Large Numbers

Long-tail keywords exist in great quantities. The more you address, the more organic traffic you're likely to obtain. If done correctly, you should see substantial growth of web visitors on your platform.

For example: If you type ‘best TV shows’ on a keyword explorer, you're likely to come across at least a few dozen results. Thus, marketers are unlikely to come to a shortage anytime soon. Below are a few long-tail keyword examples.

Keyword KD Volume
what are the best comedy tv shows on netflix 47


what are the best reality tv shows on netflix 38


what are the best tv shows on netflix reddit 5


4) Targeted Traffic

Due to the consistency of long-tailed keywords, visitors are far more likely to convert. If you take a keyword like ‘Best Football Gear’, people who are specifically looking for sports items are going to become your readers. The only thing is to make your content stand out by answering your audience’s questions.

Another example would be [‘PC repair shop near me’]. People with broken laptops are likely to read your article. Providing they like what they see, they’re likely to convert into clients.

It’s inevitable that your web visitors have already researched what they’re looking for, so it’s worth adding eye-catching and concise Copy to your SEO strategy.

Ranking on Long-Tail Keywords

When it comes to SEO strategies, using long-tail keywords can be just as effective as adapting one-head themes into pieces of writing. As mentioned earlier, they have less competition as singular keywords.

Basing your blog post around long-tail keywords not only reduces competition but also makes your content more relatable and specific to your readers; answering their questions more efficiently. This means your target audience is likely to think highly of your website, and the reputation of your brand would potentially rise.

Instead of [Coffee Beans] or [Premium Coffee], you would use ‘Best Coffee Beans’ or _‘What’s the Best Premium Coffee’ _as the title or subheading in your article. Also, it’s worth organically including it in your text. Again, don’t overuse it - that’s a big no-no SEO.

With a high-end keyword finder, locate and implement a variety of long-tail keywords based on your niche. Scatter them across your article, but make sure they are relevant to the context of the piece. Below are a few long-tail examples of what you can find.

Long-Tail Keywords Examples

Long-tails are always linked to their head terms. In general, their search volumes and keyword difficulty scores are far lower as compared to their counterparts.When basing content on long-tail keywords, content creators are more likely to leverage rankings and conversions - even if it’s a mere 30 visitors per day.

To give you a better idea of long-tails, referring to long-tail keyword examples is worthwhile.

coffee shops
KD: 41
Volume: 1.2M
which u.s. city has the most coffee shops per capita?
KD: 12
Volume: 400
how much do coffee shops make
KD: 12
Volume: 600
what i know about running coffee shops
KD: 0
Volume: 300
KD: 97
Volume: 178K
how to connect airpods to android
KD: 35
Volume: 500
how to gain self control
KD: 28
Volume: 9.0K
how to facetime android
KD: 48
Volume: 11K
self control
KD: 71
Volume: 19K
what does self control mean
KD: 35
Volume: 500
how to gain self control
KD: 43
Volume: 400
how to improve self control
KD: 43
Volume: 300

The head ‘coffee’ shops’ receives 1.2 million monthly searches, and has a high keyword difficulty of 41. Therefore, publishing an article with this keyword is less likely to succeed in the leveraging rankings. Whereas, using a longtail will likely enhance organic traffic. The same applies to the other longtails above.

Popular head terms have high amounts of competition. To tackle this problem, link-builders use tail-heads to produce question-based content, allowing content creators to produce content on their assigned topics, without competing with other websites as much as they ordinarily would.

Incase you Didn’t Know: This method has been proved to be useful for link bridging, which refers to the act of enabling transactivity between website links. A general rule to remember is to make sure the site links are relevant to the webmaster’s niche.

To build link bridges to the websites they’re aiming to grow, link-builders use the back-links as part of the main focus of their campaigns. This is done by producing question-based content, like ‘how to improve self control’ for a web master’s site. Inevitably, the article is going to get readers. Therefore, they’ll organically include their backlinks within their pieces of writing.

A good way to analyze your link-bridges is to use Rank-Tracker’s Advanced Back-Link Monitor, which analyzes the websites that have stopped or continued to link to your own site, as well as your backlink progress over time. It uses the latest stats to provide you with deeper insights into who linked to you and what their domain authority is.

In a successful content strategy for a new site, it’s worth choosing your keywords carefully. Rather than going to high-volume search terms, it’s better to opt for longtails - as they are more suited to search queries. Below is an example of a longtail is high conversion potential:

Head Term

Keyword KD Volume
motorbikes 95


Now, try to modify the keyword

Longtail Example 1

Keyword KD Volume
how much are motorbikes 20


If you’re still not having luck, try this variation:

Longtail Example 2

Keyword KD Volume
best motorbike brands 16


By all means, the focus keyword depends on the intent of your article. However, it’s always good to base your content around these search terms.

Besides longtails, having a well-structured article is important, as it enables your content to be easily readable and engaging. Kindly refer to the example below:

H1: How Much are Motorbikes?: Buying Guide

H2: In General, How Much are Motorbikes?

H2: Best Motorbike Brands

H3: 1) Honda

H3: 2) Suzuki

H3: 3) Kawasaki

H3: 4) Ducati

H3: 5) Triumph

H2: Final Thoughts

This is where programmatic SEO apps, like Data to Page, come into play. Programmatically generated pages target longtail keywords, allowing your site to obtain more conversions by putting less effort into your content strategy.

How Do I Find Long-Tail Keywords?

Finding long-tail keywords isn’t difficult at all. In fact, it’s just as easy as using them on search queries. Below, you’ll find 4 dependable methods on how to find them.

1) Ranktracker

Using Rank Tracker’s high-end SEO tool is one of the easiest ways to locate long-tail keywords. It enables you to locate the best ranking opportunities by searching their up-to-date global database. There, you’ll find longtails based on your head term.


As mentioned previously in the article, the difficulty score is listed on each keyword as mentioned in the article. To make the most out of SEO, it’s worth opting for longtails with low KDs. Additionally, the keyword tool shows you the cost and pay per click, which are referred to as CPC and PPC.

2) Answer the Public

Answer the Public is another keyword tool that generates long-tail keywords. In order to use it, all you need to do is type a head term, and click on the ‘Get Questions’ button. Like the above tool, it will also show you long-tails. Except, they have been generated onto data cards, with the option to have them in alphabetical order.

Answer the Public

3) Google’s Autocomplete Feature

If you are unable to access Rank Tracker and Answer the Public, or don’t have time to do long-tail keywords research, simply search within Google to find automated predictions. It makes finding longtails quicker, but you won’t see the KD, Volume, CPC or PPC.

Google’s Autocomplete Feature

4) Review Competitor’s Ranking Keywords

Rank Tracker puts your competitors’ SEO under a magnifying glass by providing a thorough insight into your competitors’ backlinks, enter their URL to view their analytics, amount of backlinks, URL rating, ‘new’ or ‘lost’ status, first and last week, and their dofollow/nofollow link ratio. Think of it as being a digital detective for your website or company.

Review Competitor’s Ranking Keywords

When you see what works for other people, succeeding in SEO strategies becomes a lot easier. With this rank tracker, marketers can illustrate how marketers can analyze their competitor’s ranking content, as well as the keywords they’ve used to leverage those rankings. This means you’ll always be one step ahead of your competition

How do I Track My Website’s Long-Tail Keywords?

Rank Tracker's main function allows users to easily analyze their search rankings by measuring your website as its positions increase and decrease on Google searches. The SEO tool provides you with a thorough insight into the performance of your content, as well as helpful alerts and visual overviews. To track progress for any specific location, all you have to do is enter your URL, along with your location.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords Correctly

When it comes to long-tail keywords, finding them is only half of the task. After obtaining them, you need to place them organically within your content - without spamming it with the same keyphrases more than you should. This is because Google is smart, and it will penalize anyone who overuses a keyword. Although, you don’t need to worry, as below are a few tips on how to use long-tails correctly.

1) Place Keywords Into Content Naturally

Don’t force keyphrases into your paragraphs. Long-tail keywords don’t always fit into sentences, as they’re long and clunky. For example, [‘link-building agency USA] doesn’t work in a structured sentence. This means you might have to either slightly adjust the keyword or opt for another search term. At the end of the day, your piece of writing needs to make sense to your readers.

For instance, imagine you’re a digital marketer who’s working on a backlink article for a website that your company is liaising with. The head term is [‘link-building]’, and you decided to use [‘link-building agency usa’] as a long-tail. It would fit within a heading or subheading, providing you put a comma before ‘USA’. Although, it is unlikely to read well in a sentence.

On the other hand, a long-tail like [‘link-building agency’] would fit within both sentences and headings. An example sentence would be ‘Before committing to a link-building agency, you need to do your long-tail keywords research first’.

2) Add Your Keywords Strategically

If possible, organically include long-tail keywords within your sentences, heads, and subheadings. A good rule of thumb is to implement your focus long-tail within the first sentence in the introduction. This will reduce the bounce rates, as researchers typically have short attention spans. Also, this will make the article more likely to leverage rankings, as Google will recognize it as relevant to the search term (moreso).

As mentioned earlier in the article, it’s important to scatter your selection of longtails across your text. It’s important to make sure they grammatically fit, as well as be relevant to what you’re talking about. Additionally, they need to show relevance to your target audiences’ intent.

Monitoring your website’s SEO health gives you a better idea of how to add your keywords strategically. Using a Web Audit Log Tool is just the ticket, as it provides you with a thorough search engine optimization checkup by analyzing any issues it has and your on-site SEO factors. Then, it shows you how to fix any issues you may have. In other words, this amazing tool allows you to scan your entire platform to find out how well-optimized it is.

Add Your Keywords Strategically

3) Put Yourself in the Shoes of a User

Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. By simply placing your chosen longtail into your first paragraph, you won’t rank high on Google. Your content has to match the niche that’s related to the keyword’s search intent. If your article is off-topic, search engines will recognize that, and your search positions are likely to be low. Besides that, your bounce rate would be high.

Before writing an article, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are my references relevant to the topic?
  2. Do my keywords match the niche I’m working on?
  3. Do I have a substantial amount of keywords based on my focus keyword?

Once you have taken the above factors into consideration, you’re ready to start working on your article. This means your content will be exactly what they’re looking for, and they will likely see your website as a reliable source.

4) Optimize AI Tools Into Your Content Plan (Optional)

With the latest AI tools, like Data to Page, you can easily generate high-quality content at a click of a button. Simply input your topic and focus keyword, and your marketing material will come out of the other side - within 45 seconds. If you’re a link builder without writing skills, programmatic SEO is something you will highly benefit from, as digital marketers don’t require writing abilities to produce effective SEO content. The process is below:


Input your Focus Long-Tail Keyword, and Heading.


AI Process

(Typically 45 Seconds)


Output: Your High-Quality Marketing Content


Long-tail keyword research is the main basis of successful SEO performance. They’re beneficial for new websites, as they allow marketers to leverage rankings and conversions without facing the competition they would with head terms.

With the increasing competition in today’s SEO world, using long-tail keywords is a life savior. Generally, they’re more specific than head terms but come with lower search volumes. Having said that, their conversion rates are a lot higher than their counterparts.

If you’re still asking yourself, ‘what is a common benefit to long-tail keywords?’, Listen up. Making your SEO campaign more specific can result in it being successful. Ultimately, your material can become more profitable when focusing on specific long-tail terms that match your product or services.



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Joe Dearing

Joe Dearing

Digital Marketer

Throughout my 4-year career, I have used multiple SEO tools. As a digital marketer, I’d say Ranktracker is one of the best search engine optimization tools I have used, as it shows the keyword difficulty score, CPC and PCP, search volumes, SEO health, and backlinks, among many other things. I would highly suggest their platform to new digital marketers, including link-builders and content writers.

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