What the Heck is a Long-Tail Keyword?

It seems like there is always more to learn about creating high-quality web content. Now that you’ve nailed down your priorities, your target audience, and your keywords, your marketing team has thrown in something new: the long-tail keyword. But what the heck is it? And how will it help you generate more traffic?

Setting the Stage With Keywords

Before we can dig into long-tail keywords, remember that your website and social media are driven by a relatively short list of primary keywords. These keywords are based on what a person might use to find a professional like you.

For example, if you run a personal injury law firm, your primary keywords may include “car crash lawyer” “slip and fall” or “hurt at work” (if you handle workers’ compensation). While “personal injury attorney” and “civil litigation” will be on the list, they probably won’t be near the top. That’s because most of your potential clients don’t commonly use the same formal terms that lawyers do.

Some of your primary keywords should be featured in each of your blog posts and web pages. But that doesn’t mean every one of your posts should center on them. That could get boring very quickly, and it will certainly miss potential clients who are asking a different, but related question.

How Long-Tail Keywords Work

This is where long-tail keywords come in. A long-tail keyword is a phrase that is specific to what you do. It is often related to a primary keyword, but on its own it won’t generate very many clicks compared to the broader category. It is called a “long-tail” because it is part of the long, gradual decrease in clicks leading to your website in an analytics report. While each long-tail keyword doesn’t generate many clicks, together they can account for up to 70% of your web traffic.

Keyword Demand.
Image Source: ergonotes.com

The traffic long-tail keywords generate can be particularly high-quality. By the time Internet users have narrowed down their searches from “car crash lawsuit” to “spine injury insurance benefits” they know what they are looking for. If you provide that service, a potential client searching for a long-tail keyword is far more likely than the average user to convert into a paying customer.

Choosing the Right Long-Tail Keywords

Your law firm has at least as many long-tail keywords as it has cases. When you are trying to decide how to feature what you do, consider boiling down one of your best cases to its core essence. For the personal injury attorney that may be “fatal school bus accident” or “grocery store slip and fall”. Those are the long-tail keywords the firm can use to get more of that type of case.

Keep in mind that the people looking for these long-tail keywords are likely to try to hire you for that kind of work. Give preference to phrases that reflect profitable or otherwise desirable cases. If a particular kind of case is a money maker, consider thinking up a few different ways that case type can be described.

Once you have outlined several long-tail keywords, it’s time to pull out your content calendar. Look ahead to the coming weeks or months and plan a blog that features each long-tail keyword. Keep in mind holidays or seasonal trends that affect this kind of case. For the personal injury attorney, it is probably better to write about the “black ice parking lot crash” in February than it is in July. When it comes time to write your blog, you can go back to your calendar, identify the long-tail keyword that you will feature, and start writing.

A strong list of long-tail keywords can be a great way to fight writer’s block and generate high-quality, and highly effective blog content. By honing in on why people hire you, the content you create with these terms can shorten the distance between a user’s initial click and the choice to commit.

Lisa Schmidt is a writer for Legal Linguist in Ferndale, Michigan. She writes blogs and web content for lawyers and small businesses. If you need help creating profitable web content for your business, contact Legal Linguist today to schedule a meeting.

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