Guest Post: Victoria Greene, Victoria Ecommerce
Long-tail keywords are a small business owner’s best friend. Type in your primary sales keyword in Google, and you will find multinational brands at the top of the search results. As a small business owner, you don’t stand a realistic chance of outranking these big online retailers, right?
Well, perhaps not.
But you do still have a chance of stealing away their clicks and business if you have the right attitude towards long-tail keywords. Studies show 50% of search queries are four words or longer. Long-tail keywords tack on your main keywords, making them more specific in scope. For example, if you’re a brand that sells hiking boots, ‘ankle length waterproof hiking boots women’ is a long-tail keyword that could work for you.
Read on for more on how to find and optimise for long-tail keywords in your online store.
Establish your customer’s needs
If your customers are using Google search to find what they want to buy, they may type in a short keyword term to begin their search. If you do a quick search and look at the results, you may find upwards of five million results.
However, if you type in more descriptors into the search bar, the number of results falls to two million results, down to one million, etc.
This means that you, as a small online business, have a chance to be found as your customers get more specific in their search parameters.
Why is this relevant?
Think about online shopping you have done in the past. Have you ever had to type in different combinations over and over again to find the right listing? This can be very frustrating, especially when the search results appear to have cropped out your original search and replaced it with irrelevant products.
As a marketer, you should aim to use long-tail keywords to give searchers the long-awaited results they have been hunting for.
In other words, identify a list of common customer search problems and think about how your website and product pages can rectify these issues. Come up with a specific set of detailed questions in the form of search engine queries, then head to Google’s homepage for research.
Use Google search methodically
There is a straightforward way to build a list of keyword related long-tail search terms methodically, and it’s entirely free. Open up a spreadsheet and a separate browser window to copy and paste your results before you get started.
Step One: Type one of your customer’s search questions in the main search bar.
For example, ‘waterproof walking boots women.’
In the suggested results, you will find some ideas for long-tail phrases you may not have thought of. In this case, Google suggests modifiers like ‘arch support’ and ‘wide fit’.
Step Two: Follow the suggestions and test different word combinations. To make this exercise methodical, try each letter of the alphabet at the end of the phrase and take note of some of the suggestions Google throws up.
For example, under the letter ‘G’, Google suggests ‘essential guide to women’s hiking boots.’
A comprehensive guide could potentially be an excellent idea for a piece of blog content or product-bundle offer.
Click through to this suggestion and look at some of the top results ranking on page one. Take note for your optimisation notes (more on this later).
Step Three: Check out the list of search suggestions at the bottom of the results page. You can find lots of related long-tail keywords from this shortlist.
For hiking boots, Google shows that people have also searched for ‘backpacking’ and ‘lightweight’. These offer more clues on page titles and meta tags that could work for you.
Find LSI keywords for variation
You will also need to think about latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords to help you plan your long-tail keyword and Google Adwords strategy. LSI keywords offer search engines more context on the items featured on your website. For example, in the case of hiking boots, these terms could include:
- Ankle length
There are many free keyword suggestion tools you can use to build up your pages. Check out LSI Graph or Google Keyword Planner to get started. Once you have identified some qualifying terms, it’s time to begin reflecting your findings in your site’s content.
Optimise for long-tail keywords
Depending on the CMS system you are using to create your online store, you will find entries where you can input SEO-friendly titles and meta tags. In the case of Shopify and WordPress websites, you can see a live preview of your Google listing as you type it.
Titles and meta tags
Take a look at the sentence structure of the top search engine results and emulate these models for your listings.
Use hyphens and pipes to break up the text. But most importantly, centre the content of your tags around your long-tail, money-making keyword terms.
Don’t forget that your titles and descriptions should aim to draw in qualified clicks. So, make your entries enticing and answer the customer’s fundamental question.
But this isn’t the end of the story; you must also ensure that your page content lives up to your claims. Put yourself in the shoes of the person searching your long-tail keyword phrases. Answer the key questions within the look and content of your page designs.
Take a look at some of the top ranking competitors in your industry for illustrative examples. Many sites will take you directly to product category pages, for instance. At the top or bottom of the page, you will also find paragraphs of text containing keywords and answers to a searcher’s essential queries.
Take your LSI keyword findings and sprinkle these naturally throughout the page content.
Use H1 and H2 headers to separate the text and give crawlers more clues that will allow them to rank your site quickly and efficiently.
There are many other proven SEO checkbox tasks to aid you with search engine discoverability. For instance, create internal links with your long-tail keywords as the anchor hyperlink. Backlinks to reviews and guest posts can also include your long-tail keyword phrases to help you build internet clout elsewhere online.
Long-tail keywords can do wonders for those looking to build traffic figures using organic eCommerce SEO tactics. You don’t have to worry about ranking for highly competitive terms if you angle your content towards answering a specific set of queries.
Make the work of Google’s crawlers easy by providing your website pages with contextual details of what you’re selling. The more keywords you can find, the more you can switch up your vocabulary to keep your text content exciting and relevant to your customers’ needs.
Victoria Greene is a writer and brand consultant. She runs a blog called Victoria Ecommerce. She regularly offers tips to small business owners looking to maximise on search.