Using Long-Tail Keyword Phrases in Online Marketing

June 14, 2011


Using long-tail keywords in online posts and on websites is a powerful way to gain search engine recognition an important part of your online marketing strategy.

However, when you do it wrong, guess what happens? Nothing. Yes, nothing. That's right...your website isn't seen, your online posts aren't read, and your customers don't find you.

The most common mistake made is to use general keywords instead of specific (long-tail) ones. For example, a car dealership website I examined this past week had keywords such as "service" and "car" and "used."

Now just many people type in one of those words in a Google search in any given day? I have no idea, but I can guarantee it's millions upon millions. So, where do you think this car dealer's website will rank for those keywords? Not high.

Plus, what do those keywords say about the car dealership anyway? Not much!

Instead of general keywords, businesses and marketers need to use specific keyword phrases. So, using the example of the car specific keyword phrase would be "used car dealership in Toronto." Another might be "Toronto used car dealer" or "used cars in Toronto" catch the drift.

Keyword phrases need to capture what it is your target market will be typing into their Google searches AND they need to be specific.

Why? Well, here's the real truth...

When you use specific long-tail keyword phrases, your website and your online posts show up in top search engine results much more quickly.

Less people are typing in "Toronto used car dealer" than simply "used car" but instead of being ranked 3 millionth in a search for "used car" you could be ranked first in search for a specific keyword phrase.

First is where you want to be!

Let's look at another example: If you search "Halifax spa" on Google, there are more than 8 million results. However when you search "Halifax spa services" there are only 1 million and when you search "downtown Halifax spa services" there are less than 150,000. Still a lot, yes...but it's a lot less than 8 million. Using the keyword phrase "downtown Halifax spa services" can result in your business being ranked very high very quickly!

Here are a few tips about creating specific keyword phrases:

  • Start with something basic that represents what someone would search online to find what you have to offer: bookstore, baby products, beauty services, etc.
  • Add words to make it less common with at least 3-4 words: “children’s books in sackville,” “bedford natural baby products,” “downtown halifax spa services”
  • Location words are very helpful with making keyword phrases more specific. Plus, your audience will be searching to locate services and products in their area. Using location words in your keyword phrases just makes good sense!
  • The more unique the keyword phrase, the higher it will rank in search engines (just don't make it so unique that no one will search it)
  • The key is having many specific keyword phrases instead of just a few general ones
So, go take a look at the keywords on your website. Did you have a web designer setup your site and you're not sure how to do this?

I have a solution (for PC users, anyway). Go to your website and right click. A menu will pop up; click on "view source." Then a ton of code will pop up in a window. It will look like nonsense, but if you scan not too far down you'll come across a group of words labeled as keywords and listed with commas in between them. See what's there. If they are general, make a commitment to yourself to change them.

Then...use the same revised keyword phrases with some of the other marketing techniques discussed on the blog. You'll find a significant increase in traffic and results.

New Call-to-action