Q: Lisa, I was wondering what exactly are long-tail keywords and does it make sense to use them on my own site that doesn’t get much traffic? I don’t understand what would be the point.
A: This is a great question! Long tail keywords are keyword phrases that typically consist of 3 or more words. The general idea is that the longer but less competition your long-tail keyword phrase has, the more likely you are to rank high for it in the search engine results.
So the answer to the original question is that it makes a tremendous amount of sense to use long-tail keywords on your website or blog, because it is rare that if you are new to the web that you are going to rank for any one or two word phrases in your niche. There’s just too much competition now. It’s better to try and rank for longer keyword phrases, that have less competition, from lesser-known websites.
For example, if your niche and keyword is diet, I can pretty much guarantee that you are not going to rank in the any of the top 5 or 10 spots for that single keyword:
1. It has over 145,000,000 results in Google.
2. A site with the url of diet.com holds the number one spot.
3. The next tops spots are taken by web heavy hitters such as WebMD, eDiets, etc.
Now if you take a subniche within the diet niche, and try to rank for that, you will have much better success. For example, let’s use the long-tail keyword phrase: grapefruit diet weight loss
1. That returns only 667,000 results in Google. It may sound like a lot, but this is actually a number that you could easily penetrate if you know what you are doing.
2. Web biggie, About.com holds the #1 spot, but then there seems to be some possible openings to squeeze into the next few spots.
Using long-tail keywords is absolutely essential if you are new to the web or if you are in an already saturated niche. It is your key to gaining visibility in what is fast becoming the enormous content-rich life of the wild world wide web. Stake your claim now with long-tail keywords!