If you aren’t targeting long-tail keyword phrases with your content, you’re missing out on rankings, traffic, and leads. However, doing keyword research can seem a daunting task – especially if you’re on a tight deadline.
In this article I’ll give you simple tips and techniques for finding hot keyword phrases on the fly. I’ll also walk you through a few case studies, and give you a video with tons of inspiration for how to use long-tail strategy in your content marketing.
Case study from ContentVerve.com:
I write a lot about call-to-action buttons, and queries related to CTA subject matter are a highly relevant source of traffics and leads for ContentVerve.com. Unfortunately, call-to-action is super competitive, and it’s really difficult to get to page one of the SERPs on that particular term. At the moment, I’m not even ranked in the top 100.
Nevertheless, my article 10 Call-to-Action Case Studies w/ Takeaways & Examples from Real Button Tests currently ranks on page one in the top five for a bunch of popular call-to-action related phrases.
A good example of a popular related phrase is call-to-action examples. I’m currently ranked number two on Google.com for it, and it brings me about 1.000 visits pr. month.
The article also ranks in the top 10 for a number of other long-tail phrases like: call-to-action test, call-to-action case study, call-to-action button test, call to action buttons, call to action button examples, A/B test call-to-action etc.
So how did I manage that? Well believe it or not, it took me about 10 minutes to do the necessary keyword research.
I knew I wanted to write a post with a lot of examples from my CTA case studies, and a few quick Google searches revealed a bunch of interesting related phrases:
With these phrases in mind, I spent a little time putting them all together in different variations till I came up with a natural sounding headline that incorporated several long-tail phrases as well as the chunky, call-to-action.
Tips for finding long-tail phrases and using them in your content:
1. See what Google suggests
When you do a search, Google gives you a number of suggestions for different keyword phrases. These suggestions are based on other users’ behavior and can give you some really good ideas for potentially valuable long-tail phrases.
In the example I showed you before, call-to-action examples was the first suggestion Google came up with, and it turned out to be an awesome source of relevant organic traffic.
So start by typing in the main keyword or phrase and see what Google comes up with. Mess around with different queries that are relevant to the overall subject matter of your article, and you’ll in all likelihood get a number of cool ideas.
Note that Google’s suggestions are no guarantee for volume. So think of it more as a source of inspiration on search tendencies and trends rather than a cheat sheet.
You can of course compare your findings with data from Google’s Keyword Tool. But be aware that Keyword Tool has it’s limitations and primarily picks up on fat keywords and phrases.
Google’s Related Searches can also be helpful. When you perform a search, Google will often give you a number of related searches at the bottom of the SERP.
2. Use Übersuggest.org
Übersuggest.org is like Google suggest on steroids. It makes use of Google suggest and other services to bring you the ultimate list of phrases. In some case you can get several hundred ideas – all based on real user queries.
I use this tool a lot, not least because it’s free.
3. Pay attention to your audience and answer their questions
As people are becoming more and more accustomed to using Google to get answers, queries are becoming more and more elaborate. Instead of just typing in one word, people are asking Google actual questions.
I totally see this in my own behavior, and I bet you doing the same thing on a regular basis.
Now, if your potential customers are asking you questions in real life, there’s a high likelihood that they’re asking Google the same questions. If you have content out there that ranks for those exact questions, there’s a very good chance that your audience will choose to click your link.
Moreover, if you do a good job of providing solid insightful answers, there’s a very good chance that you’ll get a new customer or a loyal follower.
I’d like to show you an example of how I’ve used this strategy here on ContentVerve.com. I write about landing pages and landing page optimization. Landing page however, is highly competitive and takes a huge effort to rank for.
However, I get the question “How long should a landing page be?” all the time, and therefore I know that many marketers out there are having trouble finding the right length for their landing pages. A quick search revealed that people are in fact asking Google that exact question.
So instead of spending years trying to rank for landing page, I wrote an article called How Long Should a Landing Page Be? Simple Tips for Getting it Right and went straight to the page one on the long-tail phrase how long should a landing page be? And all it took was a few minutes of research, and a few tweaks to the original title.
A great source of inspiration for long tail keyword phrases is to simply pay attention to the questions your target audience are asking. Make a note of every single question, and you’ll end up having content for a whole series of articles.
A person who has perfected the art of creating content around answering questions is Marcus Sheridan of theSalesLion.com. In fact, he builds entire content marketing strategies around answering the questions that potential customers have.
Check out this interview I did with Marcus a while back – it’s full of awesome actionable advice on how to use long-tail strategy in your content marketing:
4. Target several phrases with one post
As I showed you in the example with the post, 10 Call-to-Action Case Studies, you can easily get one article to rank for several different phrases.
In fact the article on landing page length also ranks on page one for the phrase landing page case studies.
So instead of just going for the one keyword or phrase, spend a little time researching what other phrases that are relevant to the article. Be a little creative and try to come up with different ways of fitting those phrases in to the title and content.
Let’s take this blog post for instance. A little research with the techniques described in this post revealed that there are several relevant phrases that I can target. Here are a few of them:
Long-tail keyword, long-tail keyword research, how to find long tail keywords, long-tail keyword how to, long tail keyword phrases, hot keywords.
With a little creativity and tweaking, I came up with a title that sounds natural and revolves around subject matter that’s relevant to my target audience here on ContentVerve.com.
Bonus Tip: Write for humans – optimize for robots!
The main thing with targeting several phrases at once is to avoid going overboard with the SEO aspect. No matter what, you want the title to sound natural – so write for humans but optimize for search engines. If you get carried away, you can easily end up with a title that’s stuffed with keywords clearly not targeted at humans.
If you want a little inspiration for how to write content that ranks, check out my infographic SEO Copywriting – 10 Tips for Writing Content That Ranks in 2013.