Keywords are defined as "the words that academics use to reveal the internal structure of an author's reasoning. While they are used primarily for rhetoric, they are also used in a strictly grammatical sense for structural composition, reasoning, and comprehension. Indeed, they are an essential part of any language."
Note the last sentence in this definition. Keywords, especially long-tail keywords, are indeed an essential part of how we communicate and how we search for answers and solutions when conducting an online search. This couldn't be more true in the business world and how the B2B buyer thinks and searches.
So what makes a keyword phrase a long-tail keyword phrase? And what are the best practices to make every word in these phrases count?
Head Match Keywords vs. Long-Tail Keywords
As marketers, we sometimes still think in terms of the head match keywords we want to be found for. But as searchers, we have all begun to adapt to using a more long-tail keyword approach to find a more specific solution or answer.
For example, if your business is a manufacturer of custom packaging equipment, you likely want to be found for the head match keyword "packaging equipment." This is considered a head match phrase since it's only two words, making it much more competitive to rank highly for in organic search results.
Thinking like your ideal buyer (let's say a manufacturer of windows) and how they may be searching for the solution you provide, an ideal long-tail keyword phrase to target may be "packaging solutions for windows" or "custom packaging solutions for windows." Compared to the head match keyword that was comprised of only two words, these long-tail phrases are more descriptive and contain 4-5 words.
These long-tail phrases may receive fewer searches on a monthly basis but are easier to rank for and more likely to result in the right type of traffic to your website, since "packaging equipment" is very broad.
Best Practices for Writing Long-Tail Keywords
Thinking and writing in the form of long-tail keywords should always feel natural. If it feels forced and awkward you're likely trying to use too many words. That's why using a guide of 4-5 words as a basis is a good place to start, but nothing says you can't use 6-7 words.
The intended use of your long-tail keyword phrase, whether it be for a blog article title, website page title or video title, should also influence how you write your phrase and how you pair it with additional words. Using the long-tail phrase example I mentioned above, here's how it could be utilized in different ways:
- Blog Article – Custom Packaging Solutions for Windows That Result in Less Waste
- Website Page Title – Custom Packaging Solutions for Window Manufacturers
- Video Title – How [Company Name] Engineers Custom Packaging Solutions for Windows
Each usage keeps the long-tail phrase in tact but utilizes additional words to further support its use, and help it feel natural to the end-user.
The Long-Term Benefit of a Long-Tail Approach
As I referenced above, a long-tail keyword will receive fewer monthly searches than a highly competitive head match keyword. But by targeting the right long-tail phrases, and numerous variations of those phrases, you'll begin to be found at the top (or near the top, depending on your industry) of search results for those search phrases.
In comparison, trying to only target competitive head match keywords will take more time, more effort and possibly more budget, since you'll likely need to resort to paid options such as Google AdWords. And, you'll be attracting a lot of the wrong search traffic depending on how broad the phrase is.
By adopting a long-tail mindset and finding creative ways to utilize these phrases in various online content formats, including even your personal and company social media profiles, you'll be hard to ignore when your ideal buyer begins their search for the custom solution/answer that you have to offer.