Last updated: 21 August 2016
Let’s talk about long-tail keywords… because aside from the obvious on-page seo factors like url structure, long form content, fast page speed (for which you’ll need to find some decent web hosting, depending on location. We’ve done the research and created top lists like the best web hosts in Canada, web hosting reviews for Australia, web hosting Singapore, and more), interlinking pages, etc. It’s in the long-tails these days. And even though we all love Google’s Keyword Planner to grab our main keywords, it’s proven to be less than helpful when you’re digging around for fresh semi-related keywords that fall outside Google’s keyword ideas (and definitely now that Google has tied the amount of research you can do to how much you spend on Google AdWords…). Don’t get me wrong, the Keyword Planner is (read “was”) my first go-to for decent keyword research, and it’s a must to pinpoint your main high traffic ones. But as soon as you’re trying to look for those longer lower competition keywords (or phrases), it really falls short.
Luckily for us, the residents of the interwebz (eg. people a lot smarter than me) have produced a whole variety of alternatives, solutions that can give you useful long-tail keywords to use in your SEO campaigns or while building your site.
In this post, I’ll give you 3 free alternatives. But let’s start with the reason we need the alternatives in the first place, those elusive but oh so valuable long-tail keywords.
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What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are basically longer keyword phrases – usually composed of 3 or more words (example: online marketing trends 2016). They’re highly specific, quality over quantity type of keywords. Even though the overall traffic volume is lower when compared to your main keywords, the actual traffic that you do get will be more targeted.
That’s why long-tail keywords tend to have higher conversion rates when compared to regular keywords. And while they have a lower search volume, you can easily match the traffic of a main keyword by targeting a LOT of long-tails instead (and they’re easier to rank/SEO).
Quick Tip: I still see a lot of people tracking their keyword positions by manually checking in Google. This might work when you’re targeting a few high traffic kws, but you won’t be able to do this when you start targeting those long-tails (as there will be way too many). So please consider using a keyword tracker! It’s cheap, extensive, and tracks every keyword for you (but more on that later).
So, advantages of targeting long-tail keywords:
- More relevant traffic and higher conversion rates. As mentioned above, long-tail keywords are more specific, which means you’ll have more targeted traffic on your website. In other words, the content itself should have more value to the viewer. Think of it like this: which page will receive more relevant traffic? A site that ranks for the general term keyboard, or a page that targets wireless solar Logitech keyboard? The second is the answer of course, it’s targeting a highly specific keyword, with massive commercial potential.
- Long-tail keywords keep you flexible and agile in the search. Things can get difficult if you start getting less traffic from your main keywords. Your business can take a hit, and you would have to recover your position – which is not an easy thing to do in a short period of time. This is where long-tail keywords differ, because slipping in the search for a few phrases won’t harm you as much, and you can stabilise your rankings much faster.
- Lower competition = easier to rank. Pretty self-explanatory, longer keywords are usually a lot easier to rank for as the traffic volume is lower, so SEO-ers probably aren’t actively targeting them.
3 Free Google Keyword Planner Alternatives
This is a great free site that helps you research long-tail keywords for your SEO or SEM campaigns. It has 8 tools – specifically created for finding long-tail keywords on different platforms. You basically select a platform and insert a “seed keyword” (which is the base word), and the tool will find the best long-tail keyword variations. Once it loads the long-tail keywords, you can easily select which one you’re going to need from the table. You can select a number of keywords from the list, and export them as a text file. Though in order to do this, you’ll need to sign up for an account – which is completely free!
In a nutshell:
- Gather the most relevant keywords that people use in the search
- Make use of the great filter tool that helps you narrow down the results
- Save time from brainstorming and manually searching for long-tail phrases
- Download all the information for free
- Upload the exported file of keywords in Google’s Keyword Planner to get more insights on stuff like search volume.
Keyword Tool is another great alternative that can generate 750+ relevant long-tail keyword suggestions. It is based on Google Autocomplete, and it’s a reliable tool that can help you discover thousands of phrases that people search for in Google. And again, all for free.
The tool extracts Google suggestions for a particular term, and it presents those suggestions in a table. You can select certain keywords from the table or just copy all the results on your clipboard. Also, you can select a specific Google domain and a language combination. It does have a pro version that goes a step further and generates more keyword suggestions, export options and search volume data.
Ubersuggest is another 100% free keyword research tool with a pretty intuitive UI. Just like in the two previous tools, you insert a word, and it instantly suggests long-tail keywords that you can use for your SEO and SEM efforts. This tool presents the keyword suggestions in a list and a word cloud. You can select the keywords that you’re interested in and export them in a .csv format, or view them as a text.
Tracking Your Keywords in Google
As briefly mentioned before, manually checking your keywords in Google will definitely be a massive pain when you’re dealing with 100+ long-tails, so consider using a keyword tracker.
I’ve gone through a lot of them, and in the end settled on ProRankTracker. They’re the cheapest around, come with a variety of plans, super easy to set up, it has pretty graphs, and can even email you daily summaries of position changes.
So stop wasting time doing it manually. For the cost of a few cups of coffee, you can have an automated solution in place. They even have a free plan for you to try! -> Have a looksy
Image Credit: NY (http://nyphotographic.com/)
With a passion for digital marketing and web design (primarily WordPress), Matthew never stops learning! He rather reads up on new marketing strategies than binge-watch the next big NetFlix special.
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