Blog SEO: long tail

Blog SEO
Befriend the long tail!

Blog SEO: Befriend the long tail!

Focusing on long tail keywords is a great SEO-tactic for blogs. A long tail keyword strategy makes it easy to keep the structure of your blog in good shape. Also, it allows you gradually to get more traffic and to be found by new and motivated audiences. In this post about blog SEO, I will explain the importance of long tail keywords for blogs.

The_long_tail_bookcoverWhat are long tail keywords?

The term long tail keyword comes from the book The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. In this book, Chris Anderson shows there is a market for virtually every product. In some cases, however, this market is really, really, really small. The vastness of the internet, though, makes your niche product, or your niche blog post profitable. Long tail keywords are more specific and less common than other keywords. They focus more on a niche. Read more about long tail keywords in this post or enroll in our interactive SEO copywriting course.

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

Yoast SEO: the #1 WordPress SEO plugin Info

One head theme, lots of tail topics

Most blogs have one main topic – this is called the head term, or main keyword. Mom blogs are usually about children and family life; food blogs are about eating, restaurants, and recipes. Our blog is all about SEO. We even named it SEO blog. So, all of our blog posts are about SEO, or about SEO-related-topics. We most certainly want to rank for the term [SEO].

The main topic or theme of your blog is the number one keyword (or key phrase) you want people to use to find you. In our case SEO. Imagine yourself having a food blog about homemade Italian food. You would then like to be found on a search term like [homemade Italian food]. That would pretty much be the number one.

You cannot, however, optimize all blog posts for the same term [homemade Italian food], even if all your blog posts will be about homemade Italian food. Instead, you should write a whole number of blog posts about all kinds of long tail variants of your number one search term. In the example of the food blog, you could write about all kind of delicious things: homemade Italian pasta, homemade Italian salads, homemade Italian pie. These could be your main categories.

Your blog posts could even be more long tail. You could write about: homemade Italian spaghetti bolognese, homemade Italian lasagna, homemade Italian penne carbonara and so on. You will find all of these keywords if you have done your keyword research correctly. If you come up with a lot of very long focus keywords, you can read my post about how to handle those here.focus on long tail keywords

Link from the tail to the head!

If you optimize your blog post for different long tail variants, you should link from these blog posts to your more ‘head’ category pages and from these category pages to your most awesome pages: your cornerstone content. Remember: always link from the tail to your head! That way, you show Google what your site structure looks like and which of your pages is most important.

Make sure your most amazing pages rank high in Google! Perhaps you have a fabulous page with your most delicious recipes, which will immediately convert passing visitors into loyal blog followers. Make sure your different long tail optimized blog posts all link to this most important ‘head’ pages of your blog.

Learn how to write awesome and SEO friendly articles in our SEO Copywriting training »

SEO copywriting training Info

Why are long tail keywords important for blog SEO?

In our view, there are two main reasons why a blogger could focus on long tail keywords: easier ranking and higher conversions.

1. It is much simpler to rank for long tail keywords than for more common head keywords because fewer websites compete for high rankings in the result pages of Google. The longer (and more specific) search terms are, the easier it is to rank for the term. Because of the vastness of the internet, it is easier to find your audience for your particular niche. Focusing on a group of long tail keywords will result in a great deal of traffic altogether. Read on to find out how to choose keywords that’ll attract traffic.

2. Another benefit for blogs of concentrating on long tail keywords is that visitors that find your website are more likely to become regular visitors of your blog, maybe they even subscribe to your newsletter. The longer and more precise the search terms are, the higher the chances of conversion are. People who use a very particular term have a clearer idea of what they are looking for. And individuals who know what they’re looking for are much more prone to become frequent visitors! So, long tail keywords focus on an audience, even on a very motivated audience. And this makes that focus a very, very profitable SEO-tactic.

Keep writing those long tail posts!

Focusing on long tail keywords is a great SEO-tactic for bloggers. Doing it the right way (linking from tail to head), will help you to rank for specific keywords, to increase your traffic and to attract new and motivated audiences.

Another advantage of long tail blogging is that it can help you come up with ideas for new posts. For bloggers, it can be quite a challenge coming up with another subject for a blog post. Making a list of all the possible long tail variations of your number one keyword helps you to come up with new ideas! So start writing those long tail posts!

Read more: ‘SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide’ »

12 Responses to Blog SEO: Befriend the long tail!

  1. Annie
    By Annie on 14 January, 2018

    What if the “head” posts that you are linking the “tails” to are actually lists of all of the content that all under the head with descriptions. Those are my most popular pages, but does it hurt to link up and down?

  2. Matias
    By Matias on 11 January, 2018

    Brian Dean wrote in a blog post, that long tail will not work anymore. We should focus our effort in “Medium Tail Keywords”

    Did you hear about that?


    • Rick Rouse
      By Rick Rouse on 14 January, 2018

      Hi Matias. Based upon my referral logs, I would estimate that at least 90% of my blog’s search traffic comes from long tail keywords, and that traffic has increased virtually every month for the past three years.

      That make me a true believer in the effectiveness of long tail keywords, especially for blogs in a highly competitive niche.

    • Melina Reintjens
      By Melina Reintjens on 12 January, 2018

      Hi Matias, well, we believe that every good SEO strategy starts with keyword research and that long tail keywords are part of that. People tend to overestimate their chances to rank on certain keywords! But we absolutely agree that you should put a lot of thought into your long tail keywords and keyphrases, and it’s not a good idea to make them too long. Marieke recently wrote about that here:

  3. nexvan
    By nexvan on 10 January, 2018

    Marieke, What is the best free plugin for image optimization?

  4. Digember
    By Digember on 10 January, 2018

    Focusing on long tail keywords could help a lot in getting higher conversion rate. But these days, everyone is focusing on long tail keywords that made really hard for new bloggers to outrank them in search results. I try to use LSI (latent semantic indexing) on my blog and it helped me to outrank higher authority bloggers.

    • Melina Reintjens
      By Melina Reintjens on 12 January, 2018

      Hi Digember, great to hear that you managed to outrank other bloggers! As it happens, we have a post about LSI keywords planned in the near future, so stay tuned! :)

  5. Greta
    By Greta on 9 January, 2018

    Thanks for this post. My longtail strategy has been about zero. SEO can be tedious, but this post has simplified that some.

  6. Adekunle Ibrahim Olalekan
    By Adekunle Ibrahim Olalekan on 9 January, 2018

    With all the series of article you have published based on long tail keywords, i have already have 85% of the knowledge and it is working great for me.

    Big Thanks.

  7. Pereira
    By Pereira on 9 January, 2018

    Excellent article for the content and clarity of information. I learned much more than in certain paid courses that are shallow and without teaching.
    Thank you!

  8. Alfred Grant Lewis
    By Alfred Grant Lewis on 9 January, 2018

    In your paragraph “Link from the tail to te Head” you write that we should link from the long tail optimized posts to the more head category pages. Do you mean the “category pages” as set up in WP category taxonomies?

    The ones Joost writes about in the 25 August 2017 Using Category and Tag Pages for SEO post?



  9. eyauuk
    By eyauuk on 8 January, 2018

    I am glad you made clear here the order of importance on the site “pyramid”
    1 Home page
    2 Catagory pages
    3. Cornerstone Pages

    You cleared up in this post that cornerstone content pages should be linked to from from the category pages, not the home page.

    I was confused because in another post you chastised Joost for not linking to a cornerstone from the home page.

    Also, if cornerstone articles are “pages” will they show up in SEO premium “post overview?”


Check out our must read articles about Analytics