Long Tail Keyword Examples

Keyword Research May 12, 2016

Long Tail Keyword Examples

Let’s face it – the Internet is flooded with tons of articles claiming numerous benefits you can potentially get when targeting long tail keywords. But what those articles lack most of the time is real-world, practical examples that can give you a clear idea of what long tail keywords actually are and how you can apply them in your SEO strategy.

In this post we’re going to fix this omission and give you long tail keyword examples taken from real-world case studies. But before we continue, I just want to quickly remind you what long tail SEO is all about (feel free to skip this chapter and head over straight to the example #1 if you are already well-familiar with the theory).

Definition: long tail keywords are search phrases that are highly relevant to your specific niche, product, service or topic, have low competition level, comparatively low search volume and, generally, consist of 3+ words.

The most important qualities that you should pay attention to when researching keywords are:

Competition. Long tail keywords are much easier to target compared to generic “head” keywords. Sometimes, it may be quite enough just to optimize a web-page with properly selected long tail keywords to get into the Top 10 of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), even without getting any backlinks.

Relevancy. Long tail search phrases are highly relevant to specific niches and usually reflect searcher’s intent more precisely compared to generic phrases.

For example, let’s consider a generic keyword – “shoes”. Not only the keyword has an extremely high competition (over 621,000,000 of relevant pages found by Google), it doesn’t tell us anything about what a user is actually looking for. Is it men’s or women’s shoes, sneakers, pumps, hiking boots, fancy flats, or, maybe, sandals?

In contrast, a query “converse all star white women’s” gives us much more details. And if you sell this specific model, you may want to add the keyword to your basket.

Search Volume. The reverse side of relevancy is search volume. The more specific a keyword phrase is, the fewer visitors it can potentially bring to your website.

In our example, the average number of searches for the keyword “shoes” is 1,220,000. While the phrase “converse all star white women’s” has only 320 searches per month.

The good news, however, is that there may be tens or even hundreds of long tail keyword variations, which, when added up, can bring you a decent and stable flow of prospects. In our example such keyword variations include:

Long Tail Keywords - Example 1

A bit earlier I’ve published an article – all about long tail SEO. I highly recommend reading it if you’re still not convinced whether the long tail SEO strategy can be applied to your website or blog.

Now, let’s take a look at long tail keyword examples taken from real-world case studies:

Long Tail Keywords: Example #1

GroupDocs.Comparison for Cloud is a web-based application that allows you to compare common document types, including PDF, Microsoft Word and Excel directly in a web-browser and without having to install any software.

When promoting this application, I highly relied on an organic search campaign.

One of the challenges in this campaign was the fact that the application supports multiple file types, meaning that the number of keywords that need to be targeted multiplies by the number of supported file formats. In other words, each file format (PDF, Word, Excel) has its own set of keywords that needs to be targeted.

Here are a few of keyword examples: “compare PDF files”, “compare Word documents”, “compare two Excel spreadsheets”, etc.

A possible way to handle this could be to create individual landing pages for each of the file formats and then target appropriate keywords on them. For example, all PDF-related keywords can be targeted on one page, while all Word-related keywords – on another.

In most cases, I would stick with this approach. But since the client’s website was already too complex to browse (there are 6 different applications, each of which supports over 50 file formats), we’ve decided to target all “profitable” file types on a single web-page – the main product’s page.

Another challenge was the fact that there were a lot of desktop-based document comparison solutions on the market (including free ones). We didn’t want to compete with them in the organic search, since that doesn’t make any sense – even if we outrank all those apps, it is highly unlikely that users will prefer GroupDocs.Comparison over the free alternatives. Our goal was not just to generate visits, but to generate qualified leads that could potentially convert to customers.

As a result, we ended up with the following major keyword research prerequisites:

  1. Support for multiple file types, so a large keyword basket that needs to be targeted on a single web-page.
  1. Focus on a web-based and cross-platform market to avoid unnecessary competition with desktop applications.

The only way to fulfill these requirements was to apply a long tail SEO strategy.

For each supported file format I conducted a keyword research and outlined the most relevant and potentially profitable keywords. In this example I will list PDF-related keywords only. Otherwise, this post will grow too long.

The keyword research algorithm was pretty simple:

  1. First, I wrote down all relevant keyword variations that came to my mind. For example:
    compare pdf files
    compare two pdf documents
    compare pdfs online
    pdf comparison tool
    compare 2 pdf files online
  1. Next, I used these ideas as seed keywords in Keyword Planner to find as many phrase variations as possible. Update: due to the recent Google updates, Keyword Planner is nowhere useful anymore for getting keywords’ search volume estimates. Here at HitTail, we’ve just released a new feature that gives more accurate results when searching for long tail keywords, so we’re welcoming everyone to try it out.
  1. Once I’ve got a list of over 150 relevant keywords, I did a qualitative and quantitative keyword competition analysis for the top keywords that have the highest number of searches and ended up with the following table:

Keywords List

, where:

  • Global Monthly Searches shows how often people searched for a keyword worldwide.
  • InTitle – the number of pages with the keyword in the Title tag. Basically, this shows how many competitors target that exact keyword phrase.
  • InTitle to Search Ratio – the number of pages with the keyword in the Title tag divided by the number of searches per month. The lower the ratio, the fewer competitors you need to outrank to get a single visit.

As you can see from the table above, the first four keywords consist of 2-3 words, have the highest number of monthly searches (over 1k) and relatively high competition level. These are classic examples of generic “head keywords”.

Since our goal was to target only prospects who are looking for a web-based solution (e.g. wants to compare files in a web-browser without having to install any software), targeting these generic head keywords would be a waste of time and client’s budget.

Instead, I focused on long tail keywords that reflect searchers’ intent and match product’s features better. Such keywords appeared to be the following:

compare pdf files online
compare pdf online
compare two pdf files online

These keywords are highlighted with a green font in the table above.

Please note how much less web-pages that have these specific keywords in their Title tags are there.

For example, there are 144 times less pages that target the long tail keyword “compare pdf online”, than those that target the head keyword – “compare pdf”.

A similar research has been conducted to find keywords for the rest of the popular document formats.

As a result, I’ve got a set of 11 highly relevant keywords and managed to bring GroupDocs.Comparison into Google’s Top 10 with all of them by just following standard on-page optimization techniques:

Long Tail Keywords - Rankings

This example clearly shows how valuable long tail keywords really are. If your website is new or your domain has a low authority (DA), there is just no other way to quickly get organic search traffic other than by targeting keywords highly specific to your niche.

Long Tail Keywords: Example #2

Banckle.Chat is a web-based support application that allows you to add a live chat widget to your website and provide live help to your website visitors. They’ve been running an AdWords paid search campaign, but couldn’t get a positive ROI for quite a long time.

One of the reasons to this is an extremely competitive environment that Banckle operates in. When researching Banckle competitors’ marketing activities, I found around 90 companies that offer similar software.

By the time I conducted the research, the total budget of all PPC (per pay click) campaigns running by the competitors estimated to around $350k per month.

Having a maximum CPC (cost per click) as high as $5.50 per 1 click, Banckle ads had an average position as low as 5.9. In fact, many of the keywords that Banckle targeted had a minimal first page bid price of $9 per 1 click. Note that this is not a first position bid, but first page, which means that they had to pay even more to get a good position on the first page among their competitors.

After the research has been finished, we had a detailed plan on how to raise the AdWords campaign’s ROI.

One of the key points was to revise campaign’s keyword basket, remove generic phrases that have multiple semantic meanings, and redistribute campaign’s budget in favor of more specific, highly relevant search terms.

Here are several examples of generic keywords that we’ve removed from the campaign:

Head Keywords - Example 1

What’s the problem with these particular keywords?

According to Wikipedia:

“Online chat may refer to any kind of communication over the Internet that offers a real-time transmission of text messages from sender to receiver.”

So, when a person hits “live chat” or “online chat” in Google, he/she may actually be looking for:

  • Instant messaging software, like Skype, Google Hangouts, or AIM
  • Chat websites/rooms
  • Online dating services
  • Collaborative software
  • Live chat support software

Although these keywords have a lot of monthly searches, targeting them with a paid search campaign is cost-inefficient. Such keywords bring a lot of irrelevant traffic, have low conversion rate and, hence, burn out campaign’s budget with little to no ROI.

Another example of generic keywords includes:

Hed Keywords - Example 2

Again, it is not clear what a person is looking for here. Is it some online help service, or live support software?

Since there are so many semantic meanings, we’ve limited Banckle’s AdWords campaign with long tail keywords that contain at least three of the following words:

helpORsupportORcustomer service
softwareORwidgetORfor website

And here are a few examples of the keywords we’ve got thanks to the adjustments:

Long Tail Keywords - Example 2

These are classic long tail keyword examples. Each of them:

  • Consists of 3+ words
  • Have a low number of monthly searches
  • Highly relevant to a specific niche
  • Have high conversion rate and bring qualified leads

After implementing these and other adjustments, we’ve managed to increase Click Conversion Rate by around 167% and reduce Cost per Converted Click by 60%.

What’s Your Experience with Long Tail Keywords?

Do you have any positive or negative examples of targeting long tail keywords? I’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, I’ve just added a detailed guide on how to find long tail keywords and am welcoming everyone to read it here.

  1. Avatar
    Corey Zeimen

    These are some great examples. One really good way you can use hittail to save money on PPC is just to figure out which phrases are common and irrelevant so that when you launch a modified match keyword campaign that you do not have to start off by adding zero negative keywords, rather build a list of negatives to start with and stay fairly efficient, right from the start and is what I try to do.

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks a lot for sharing this, Corey! Indeed, this is a great idea – kind of reverse-usage of HitTail to filter out irrelevant keywords – something I haven’t covered in the article!

  2. Avatar

    Really interesting post, first time i heard about your tool ! I need to make a try to see how many good long tail keywords it can spot for me !

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks Julien, glad you liked the post! You’re very welcome to try the tool to see how it works for you – you can start a free trial here: https://www.hittail.com/

  3. Avatar
    Jack Duncan

    This was a great piece for practical long tail keyword research. I do have one question though. Are you aware of a recent test to determine how accurate or “honest” the Google Keyword Planner is with the search volume numbers. I’m thinking much of the search volume data is calculated differently than is stated. For example, in the screenshot above, “compare pdf files online” shows 390 avg. monthly searches and just below “compare pdf online” also shows exactly 390 avg. monthly searches. That just seems too coincidental. The best way to determine this would be with PPC on Google Adwords to get actual impression counts. Do you know of a recent study that compared actual PPC data with Google Keyword Planner search volume counts? Thanks!

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks for your comment, Jack! Yes, Google Keyword Planner only gives you rough estimates of a keyword’s search volume. And Google’s recent update makes it even worse, since Keyword Planner now only shows search volume ranges, not actual numbers.

      Running AdWords paid ads to see search volume is a good idea. Moreover, you can use it to see which of the keywords have higher conversion rate, which is even more important. However, sometimes, you just may have not enough time (or budget) to run an AdWords campaign for a month or two before you can optimize a landing page. In this case, you need some set of keywords to start with.

      Also, you can use Search Console to see how much impressions each keyword gets. So it’s yet another way to revise your keyword portfolio and make changes if needed.

      We’ve also released a new feature in HitTail recently, which allows you to get long tail keyword ideas along with their search volume estimates, so you’re welcome to try it out.

  4. Avatar
    Gregory Weiss

    In long tail keyword research Googe KW tool is better to be paired with tools like SERPstat. Gives me greater span and insight into competition level. Long tails can be artificially twisted – Google will show incorrect competition level for such keywords.

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks for sharing this, Gregory! Yes, it is a good idea to combine multiple tools to have more accurate details.

  5. Avatar
    arindam biswas

    Really helpful to select keywords. Thank you sir

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      You’re very welcome!

  6. Avatar
    Bhuboy Villanueva

    My site are fairly new, and I am looking into incorporating long tail keyword into my strategy, which tool do you think is the best in finding those keywords thanks. And do you have a minimum searches per month before you decide to use a long tail keyword?

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Personally, I’ve been using Keyword Planner for quite a long time. However, Google’s recent updates make the tool much less useful. You can try HitTail, as it has a new feature called Keyword Ideas, which gives you long tail keyword variations along with estimated search volume based on your entered phrase or term.

      The minimum number of searches per month depends on your target market or niche. For example, if there are several hundreds of long tail keywords that you can choose from and their search volumes range from 10 to 1k+, then I would probably choose something in the middle with 100-500 searches per month. But when there are only a few keywords to choose from, you would probably want to target all of them, including those with 10-50 searches per month.

  7. Avatar
    Jacob james

    This is a great read for someone new to the industry or planning to get into it. I will certainly be sharing with people going forward as it will certainly benefit their career.

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks Jacob, glad you liked it!

  8. Avatar
    Ghulam Hussain

    Please give me an example about, How to use long tail keyword in my URL?
    Keyword.com/keyword1/keyword2/keyword3/Keyword4 It is a right method?
    And also please give me any example website ?

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Thanks for your questions, Ghulam.

      Generally, you should target 2-5 long tail keyword variations on a single web-page. Once you’ve selected keywords that you want to target on a web-page, you may want to stick with the following basic rules when building a URL:

      1. Keep the URL as short as possible.
      2. Use hyphens to separate words.
      3. Place your web-page as close to your domain name as possible.
      4. Do not stuff your URL with multiple keywords. Instead choose the core keyword of your topic and try to include it in the URL exactly as is. Here is an example:

      This blog post has the following URL:

      The keywords targeted on this page are:
      long tail keywords examples (90 searches per month)
      examples of long tail keywords (30 searches per month)
      long tail keyword examples (30 searches per month)
      example of long tail keywords (20 searches per month)

      As you can see, these are a few variations of the same phrase. When building a URL for the article, I just took the keyword phrase that has the highest search volume and included it into the URL as is. The page is also quite close to the domain name and is separated by the /blog/ folder only. Hope this is helpful.

  9. Avatar
    Muhammad Usman

    Thanks for sharing such a nice article Stas. nice examples for me to learn about log tail keyword. Thanks and keep it up.

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      You’re very welcome!

  10. Avatar

    Hi Stas
    very insightful post. I am a newbie in SEO and want to use this long tail strategy.
    have Got a great idea about various keywords and their comparison from this post. Thanks for such a helpful post

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      My pleasure!

  11. Avatar
    Gaurav Verma

    Thanks for sharing and long tail keywords examples. It really helpful for me and another new bee blogger.

    1. Avatar
      Stas Tatarin

      Glad you liked it!

  12. Avatar

    Thanks for such a detailed article. Helped me to understand what exactly the long tail keywords are. I’ll try to apply for my blog.

  13. Avatar
    Clay Smith

    Hi there Stas,

    There are different opinions about long tail keywords, but I really think that you gave the most detailed article about it, I’m going to back your version.

    Clay Smith

  14. Avatar
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