Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition | Small Biz Marketing Specialist
Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition

Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition

If you’re frustrated that your content isn’t ranking well, listen to this podcast! “Small Business Stacey” talks with “Digital Dave” about using long tail keywords to outsmart and outrank your competition.

Episode Transcript

Welcome, everybody, to another episode of Where Marketing Meets Technology. Today we’re talking about a topic that can really help you with your content marketing, and that is long-tail keywords.

Now most small business owners, they understand the importance of doing content marketing, that everybody wants to get found on the first page of Google. But if you use a simple keyword like peanut butter, chances are that’s not going to happen. Most small business owners end up really frustrated thinking that content marketing doesn’t work.

Well, I have with me today Digital Dave who has a strategy of using long tail keywords that we use to help our clients get found in search. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Ready, Dave?

Dave: I am excited. Let’s go.

Stacey: All right. Well, let’s start with long tail keyword one-on-one. What is a long-tail keyword?

What Is A Long-tail Keyword

Dave: It’s a keyword that has this very long tail sticking out of it. Right?

Stacey: Okay, next.

Dave: It’s a visual. No, what a long-tail keyword is is a word association with a main keyword. That’s the easiest way to look at it, where the main keyword is the body and the association to that keyword is the tail. Let’s take an example that Stacey just used: peanut butter.

Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition

Now peanut butter would be the body, the tail might be something like how do I make peanut butter? You see, that becomes a longtail keyword. Even though it’s a prefix to peanut butter, it’s still a long tail keyword to peanut butter. That’s essentially what a long-tail keyword is and looks like. That could come in many, many variations on any particular topic.

Stacey: Okay. Now we know what it is, why would a small business owner want to use longtail keywords?

Dave: Well, that’s an awesome question. I guess the question should be rephrased: why would a small business owner not want to use long-tail keywords? I’m going to give you some examples here of why you absolutely need to be focusing on long-tail keywords in your content marketing.

Number one is that right now, from all devices, 70% of all searches are longtail keyword searches on the internet, 70% as of 2017. This is based on some statistics that were put together by Neil Patel. I’m not sure if you know who he is, but he’s a very prominent SEO figure in the marketing space, and those were his words of wisdom is that 70% of searches right now are long-tails. I’ll give you some statistics that will enhance that in just a bit.

Now according to research by WordStream, generally, a regular keyword’s conversion rate is about 10% to 11%. Now if you look at a long tail keyword in that same study by WordStream, they found that it converts at 36%. If your topic is peanut butter, you have a much better chance of converting a sale, a prospect, a new customer if you’re using long-tail keywords in your content marketing, because it’s much more specific.

Then another statistic, and this is the one that’s really, really going to drive where things are going forward and why you should be highly considering long tail keywords as a content marketing strategy, is the invention of the voice assistants. That’s your Google Home, your Amazon Echo, your Apple Home. These are devices in which people generally don’t search using short-tail keywords. I mean I’m not going to walk up to my Google Home and say, “Hey, Google, peanut butter.”

Stacey: Right.

Dave: I mean it could be fine. You might get a great, funny answer back from Google, but you’re not going to get what you’re looking for. I think the statistic that’s amazing is that they’re projecting, and this is through 2017, it’ll be 30 million of these voice assistant devices in people’s home. That doesn’t even include the phones’ voice assistants. Think about that.

Stacey: That’s amazing.

Dave: Everybody’s got a cell phone they’re searching and now they’re searching at home using these voice assistants. You’re generally not going to be searching on your voice assistant, saying, “Peanut butter.” Really three great examples statistics-wise.

Some other reasons are it’s just better to improve your overall marketing strategy as a whole. It converts better. There’s just less competitions at this point in long-tail keywords versus standard keywords. Those are the key reasons.

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Stacey: Yeah, that makes total sense because you have to think you always want to put yourself into your customer’s mind. What are they thinking? What are they asking? What are they searching for? Chances are they’re not typing in peanut butter, they’re searching in how to make peanut butter or something, a recipe with peanut butter. It’s long-tail.

Then that brings up the next question. Everybody then gets, “Okay, I can understand why we would want to use long-tail keywords, but how do we find out what our customers might be searching?”

How Do You Find Longtail Keywords

Dave: That’s obviously the $10,000 question.

Stacey: Right.

Dave: There’s many, many utilities and there’s tons of information out there on SEO as a whole. We’re talking specifically SEO with long-tail keywords. A good resource is That’s how-to-choose-long-tail-keywords. We’ll put this in the show notes so you’ll be able to have that link. They have a great article on that.

There was another great article, as I mentioned before, from Neil Patel, which was at Again, this will be in the show notes as well. Those will give you the same information that I’ve shared with you of somewhat why and somewhat how to go look and search for long-tail keywords.

Now that you’re convinced the need for using long-tail keywords from the statistics and information we’ve just given you, we’re now going to talk a little bit about how to choose the right keywords. There are multiple tools out there today. You could use the Google Keyword Planner, which a lot of people do. It’s certainly effective for finding keywords. What it isn’t so easy to use for is to figure out how those keywords are as far as competitiveness to other keywords.

I’m going to take you through a real quick tour of a little piece of software that we use called LongTail Pro keywords planner. It is a tool that you can get at That’s

LongTail Pro keyword planner

As you’ll see here on the screen, you’ll get an account. Once you get an account, you have a seven-day trial, a free trial. You can use it for those seven days, I think, unrestricted. I can’t remember. It’s been so long. Then, of course, after a seven-day trial, you pretty much need to convert it to a paid version, which we have done here, and we use this on a regular basis.

I’m going to take you through a quick tour of some of the differences of using a tool like this versus the keyword planner. You can probably get most of this information on the Google keyword planner. Again, it just takes longer and it’s harder to find the information. Let’s just start with this particular tool, LongTail Keyword Pro, or Long Tail Pro is, I guess, its official name.

In here, you can store different groups of keywords based on name. This is some keywords for natural health that we’ve compiled for one of our clients that we have gone in and done some research. Now what we’re looking for here is we’re looking for, generally, not just long-tail keywords that people search for but also long-tail keywords that we can get traffic from.

There’s competitive rankings based on your site ranking, et cetera, et cetera, that Google determines which articles and stuff to post out there based on the keywords that are put in. What happens is that a lot of times you’ll be competing for keywords where your site just doesn’t have the horsepower to compete with somebody else in that industry at that point.

Looking deeper at long-tail keywords, you’re able to get groups of words that, in a lot of cases, as we suggested, produce better results for conversion and are more searched particularly now than even years ago. People used to search for the word “peanut butter”. I mean, again, nobody would search for peanut butter today, I don’t think. I mean they might, but something they might search for is how to make peanut butter.

Again, with voice devices such as the Echo and the Google Home and so on and so forth, I think this trend is going to even escalate further, because when people do searches on mobile devices like this, they’re not tight. They’re certainly not just going up and saying, “Hey, Google, peanut butter.” They’re going up there and they’re saying, “Google, how do I make peanut butter?” You can clearly see why keyword planning and long-tail keyword planning are going to become even more crucial as we go forward.

Now in this tool, what we’ve done is we’ve done some research already and, based on an initial keyword that we put in here, it might’ve been natural health that we put in here, we got all of these return keywords. What’s nice about this is that if you find one that looks pretty good, you can actually just click on this +20 and it’ll go out there and search amongst the universe and return keywords that are related to that, kind of like in Google, how it does the autofill as you type into the search bar, or at the bottom of the page, when you do searches, you’ll get synonym type searches at the very bottom that are also usually longer tail.

This does the same thing. It goes out there and it looks for other ones that are related synonymously to the word that you’ve started with here and it’ll add 20 to the list. We’ve come up with 455 keywords.

Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition

Now the way this works is that … and, again, I’m only going to go through a very brief overview of this. If you like a more in-depth overview, please contact us and we’ll be happy to give you a more in-depth review of how this product works. We have no affiliation with this company whatsoever other than we use their product.

One of things I can do here is once I’ve returned my overall list of keywords, I can drill down on these headers here and actually sort by that. The nice thing about that is if I want to see keywords that, based on these different things, it’ll sort them in that order to make it easier, like if I want it by volume or by ranking or by language for some reason or another, or even by bid. Bid, it would be for AdWords.

But one thing that is great about this little piece of software is this right here. This was the keyword competitiveness. This is the ranking of that keyword in the search engines versus other things and other factors out there to give you a scoring system that makes it nice for you to be able to figure out, “Hey, which keywords am I going to have a chance with probably?” I can tell you that, for instance, alternative medicines has an average KC, keyword competitiveness, of 62. I’m going to stay away from that.

Now the way this software is designed is they actually promote only going after keywords that have a keyword competitive score of less than 30. Now I will tell you that that is a great number and you should definitely do that.

Sometimes what happens, though, is when you get into very, very competitive niches like health, it’s very, very difficult to find anything, even long-tail, that has competitiveness of less than 30. Sometimes you even have to up yourself a little bit to 35 or even 40, but the point is that you want to stay away from the 75s and the 69s and the 62s. It’s just going to be very difficult for you, with a relatively new blog or a website that you are not a top-ranked domain, to compete for some of these more competitive keywords. It doesn’t mean you couldn’t, but it’s just going to be difficult.

Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to flip this and I’m going to look at these the other way. I’m looking at the ones with the lowest keyword competitiveness and working my way backwards. What I found is a good list here of keywords. There’s quite a few here that’s about 20-ish or so, maybe a little bit over 20 of them, where the keyword competitiveness is less than 30.

What I’m going to do with that information is I’m going to write my blog posts or my articles or whatever I’m writing with this being the keyword that I am trying to optimize for. I mean natural health practitioner is a good one. Am I going to get a ton of traffic from this? It only gets relatively low search volume, 210 hits per month. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you rank number one for that, you’re going to get the majority of that traffic per month. Don’t necessarily judge this by the volume, the higher the volume, the higher the competitiveness.

Now if I wanted to try to be a little bit more aggressive, I’ve got one here that’s a 23. This goes green, yellow, red. Green is really good. They’re saying less than 25 is really good, less than 30’s okay. But this one here, natural remedy, look at this one here. This is a great one here. It says it’s a 23 with 1300 per month. I like this one. I’m going to write an article that uses that as my longtail keyword.

Now what I can also do, as I said, which is nice with this tool, is that if I like that word, I can hit this +20 button. It will go out and it will get me additional 20 suggested keywords that are somewhat synonymous to this to continue to refine and build out this list.

You’ll go through many iterations of building this list out. Sometimes you’ll start a list and you’ll finish it and you’ll have five that are less than 30, and they’re all not so good as far as topics that you may even want to write, your blog post on Natural Health Houston. I mean I don’t know that that would help me much if I’m writing on natural health if I’m in Washington D.C.

That is the overview of Long Tail Pro. We use this quite a bit for our research for keywords. It really does work. This strategy really, really does work if you focus on these keywords that have the lower search volume and stay away from these super high ones, with 22,200 searches per month on health news. Now could I rank for that?

There’s a lot of factors that go into that, but if you’re just doing your standard keyword optimization on your pages, which we’re going to talk a little bit more next, you’re probably going to have a difficult time getting anywhere near the first, the second, the third, maybe even the fourth page for something like this if you’re not a high-ranking site. Again, LongTail Keyword Pro. Just want to give you a quick tour. We’re going to get back to our program.

Using Long Tail Keywords to Outsmart and Outrank Your Competition

All right, we’re back. Now that you’ve seen LongTail Keyword Pro, I’m going to turn it back to Stacey. Again, a great tool to make finding long-tail keywords pretty easy.

Stacey: Great. Thanks, Digital Dave. That was a great demo. To close this out, we now know what longtail keywords are, why we should use them, and the tools we can use to find them, how do you wrap this all together and what do you do once you have the longtail keywords?

What Do You Do Once You Have the Longtail Keywords

Dave: Again, that’s a great, great ending question for this particular show. It’s an art, it’s not a science, but when you go to apply long-tail keywords to your content, there is a specific rank and file way to apply them on your pages. For instance, you want to be doing things like putting the long-tail keyword in the title of your article, you want to make sure that you have some H1, H2, H3 tags that include that long-tail keyword. You probably want to be using the long-tail keyword on the alt tag of your images.

If you can, another tip and trick is to make sure you add that in the first sentence of your content itself, if it fits, because that also becomes in a lot of cases the description that the search engines show. You want to show that in there because in the search engine results, a lot of times they’ll highlight that, which just makes it stand out even more in the description. It doesn’t necessarily help your SEO that it’s in the description, but it does help when you’re looking at a page of search results and it stands out.

Again, we could do a whole episode just on how to apply keywords in your content, which we probably will. Probably a good topic for future. But those are the general rules to apply your long-tail keywords to boost your SEO and your content.

Stacey: Great. This was really valuable lesson today. A great starting point for your content marketing strategy focusing on long-tail keywords. What else would you like to know about when it comes to content marketing? Leave us a question or a comment below. We’d love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this episode of Where Marketing Meets Technology, we would be so grateful if you’d leave us a rating, a review, and share it with your friends. Take care, everybody. See you next time.

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About the Author smallbizmarketing

Stacey Riska, aka "Small Business Stacey" is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about saving small - and not so small - businesses one marketing plan at a time. She helps business owners become a #SmallBizMarketingWiz by teaching them marketing strategies that get MORE: MORE leads, MORE customers/clients/patients, MORE sales, and MORE profit. Stacey's in-demand "Small Biz Marketing Success Coaching and Mastermind Program" is transforming the businesses - and lives - of those who want wealth, freedom, and market domination. Her highly acclaimed book "Small Business Marketing Made EZ" lays out the 6-simple-step plan to get your marketing into ACTION - literally and figuratively. Stacey is also the creator of Cups To Gallons, the place where independent coffee, smoothie, juice bar, ice cream, dessert and snack shop owners go to learn how get into lucrative catering so they stop selling by the cup and start selling by the gallon. In this program she teaches from experience, as it was the key strategy that transformed her coffee and smoothie business from being $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. When not saving the small business world, she enjoys sipping red wine, eating chocolate (who doesn't!) and spending time with her amazing husband.

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