The Only World-Standard SEO Software

Download Now
SEO PowerSuite
SEO PowerSuite Hot-new version
Supported OS

Long Tail Keyword Research: Finding Keywords that Convert

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category Keyword Research SEO Tools

long tail keywords

Although broad (or head) keywords feature through-the-roof search volumes and promise boatloads of traffic and sales, they are extremely competitive and in many cases don't convert as well as you might expect.  Long tail keywords on the other hand may not impress you in the number-of-searches department, but give them a chance, and you'll see that the traffic behind these terms is way more targeted and leads to higher conversions.

What are long tail keywords

Long tail keywords are more or less specific search queries usually made up of 3 or more words. They indicate that the user has already done his initial research and is looking for some particular product, service or information.

Let's compare the following keywords: [cell phones] (head keyword) vs [compare prices nokia e72 black] (long-tail).

The more general head term [cell phones] is frequently searched for (over 30 million searches/mo according to Google AdWords Keyword Tool) but it's also extremely competitive. This type of queries is known as informational searches. We don’t know what particular information about cell phones the user is interested in and therefore our chances to hit a sale here are pretty low.

The long-tail keyword [compare prices nokia e72 black] is less popular with the searchers, but it has two important advantages: it's extremely specific and the competition for it is much lower. You can tell from this query that the searcher has entered 'buying mode'. He's chosen a particular cell phone model and even the color and is now looking for the best price. Obviously the conversion rate on this keyword will be much higher than on the head term.

How to find long tail keywords

However long the tail, these are still keywords, so general keyword research methods can also be used here:  brainstorming, adding modifiers to your existing keyword list, using keyword research tools and competitive intelligence are sure to throw you some ideas about the long-tail opportunities in your niche.

There are specific keyword research tools that help you focus on the long tail like Wordtracker questions generator, Wordstream Keyword Niche Finder and some of the keyword suggestion tools in Rank Tracker.

Another great way to find long tail keywords is by checking your website logs to see what search terms people are already using to find your website. This keyword research method has several advantages:

  • The keywords you uncover are tightly related to your business
  • Your website already ranks for these keywords so optimizing for them will be easer
  • You can analyze the traffic that comes via these search terms and evaluate the potential conversion rates

Here's how you can explore the long-tail end of the keywords that drive traffic to your website. First you need to export the list of keywords from your website logs, Google Analytics or whatever system you're using for traffic tracking and analysis. If you have Google Analytics installed, log into your account and go to 'Traffic sources' -> 'Keywords'

There you'll get a list of keywords that referred traffic to your site from the search engines. Export the keyword list in a CSV file. By default Google Analytics allows to export only 500 keywords at a time, but there's a workaround. Add "&limit=50000" (without quotes) at the end of the URL and hit enter. Google Analytics will still display only 500 entries in the report tab, but you'll be able to export all your keywords.

If you have a large list of keywords it's pretty hard to explore them all by hand. The best way to sort out the long-tail keywords from your list and analyze them is by importing the keywords into Rank Tracker (you can do it even with the free version). Here's how you do it.

Open the exported CSV file with your keywords and copy the column with the keywords. Then create a new project for your website in Rank Tracker -> click Add button -> paste your keywords and click finish.

Now you need to locate the long tail keywords on the list. To do this switch over to the 'Keyword research view' workspace.


In this workspace you'll get the columns with the data that's most important for keyword analysis: i.e. the search volume and competition. Before you get down to analyzing your keywords you need to add a new filtering condition to the current workspace that will help you sort out the long-tail keywords. To do this simply rightclick any column title and click the '+' button to add a new filter:


Select the following filter conditions: Length -> more than -> 3

This filter will limit the view to the keyphrases made up of more than 3 words. Depending on how deep into the long tail you want to dive you may set the number of words higher. Click Ok and the filter will be applied to your workspace.

Once you have located the long-tail keywords, click 'Update KEI' to check how many people are searching for these terms every month and how many websites compete for them. When you have this data you can sort the keywords by the 'Number of searches column' and check what long-tail search phrases are worth optimizing for. You can then check your site's positions for these terms in Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines that are important to you. Just switch back to 'All keywords' workspace, hit the 'Check' button and you'll know how far you need to go to hit the front page.

And what techniques do you use to hunt down the long tail?

back to SEO blog