What Are Long Tail Keywords?

What are long tail keywords blog header with woman working on a laptop in a park

In a typical conversation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, two terms you will hear often are “keyword” and “long-tail keyword”. But what are they, and how can they help your website? A keyword is basically what search engine users type in to find your product or service. If someone has a leaky roof and needs to replace some shingles, they might go onto a search engine and type “roofing shingles”. When someone types this into a search engine, it will scan all possible websites to see which sites contain “roofing shingles”. If your website has that keyword, it will have a better chance of showing up higher on the results page. It is important that your website uses general keywords to help you show up better on common searches.

But a problem can arise from the fact that “roofing shingles” is a very general search term. It does not tell a business why roofing shingles are needed, or how many are needed. Also, general search terms are more competitive, and you may find your website up against bigger stores that carry building materials such as Home Depot or Lowes. That is why it is important for your website to include longtail keywords. These keywords are more specific and receive less traffic compared to more general keywords, but make up for it with a more targeted audience..

An example of a longtail keyword is “whole roof asphalt shingle replacement due to cold weather.” This is more targeted than just “roofing shingles”, and someone who searches this may be more likely to get service from a roofing contractor or buy new shingles from a local hardware store since that website will likely appear near the top of search results.

So, should a website focus mostly on long-tail keywords since they are more specific? Not so fast. Simply put, your website’s keyword strategy should have a healthy mix of both simple and long-tail keywords to maximize the site’s exposure in search results and maintain a high level of website traffic.