Blog SEO: befriend the long tail!

September 16th, 2015 – 19 Comments

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 second post about blog SEO (read my first post about the importance of blog categories), 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 wideness 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 previous post or buy our eBook about Content SEO.

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. 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 in our redesign. 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 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.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 page. Remember: always link from the tail to your head! That way, you show Google what the structure of your site is 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 important reasons why a blogger should focus on long tail keywords: easy ranking and higher conversions.

1. It is much simpler to rank for long tail keywords than for more common 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. Focussing on a group of long tail keywords will result in a great deal of traffic altogether.

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!

Focussing 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’ »


19 Responses to Blog SEO: befriend the long tail!

  1. Claire Greenhow
    By Claire Greenhow on 23 September, 2015

    I find long tail keywords within a well-written and optimised page are a great way of attracting readers/customers who are actually interested in learning/buying.

  2. Claire Greenhow
    By Claire Greenhow on 23 September, 2015

    I’ve find long tail keywords within a well-written and optimised page are a great way of attracting readers/customers who are actually interested in learning/buying.

  3. Tarun Gupta
    By Tarun Gupta on 23 September, 2015

    I am totally concur with you, Long trail catchphrases will help you to support your focused on movement keeping in mind the end goal to get the consideration of totally new and additionally eager groups of onlookers. Another good thing is it can advantage you concoct thoughts concerning totally new content. Thanks for sharing it Marieke van de Rakt !

  4. Andronod
    By Andronod on 21 September, 2015

    Thank you for this article , because this article has helped me to better know the seo .

    Thank you very much

  5. Andronod
    By Andronod on 21 September, 2015

    Thanks for the article, I have a question.

    How does this apply to an Ecommerce stores blog with many unrelated categories? What is the best strategy when you have multiple separate head terms you are optimising basically?
    Thank you.

  6. Bec
    By Bec on 21 September, 2015

    Great article – thanks. I’ve always wondered what the best way to optimise all my blog posts. Long tail keywords appear to be the answer!

  7. Day
    By Day on 21 September, 2015

    Hi Marieke, thanks for the nice article. Well, sometimes I use longtail keywords but sometimes not. It just that if I think that the keyword is fine as it is, then I’m not going to add more words to make the keywords longer. Maybe I’m not that creative to make the keywords more interesting, haha. And of course, I’m still new to “SEO”, but I will try to add more longtail keywords from now on.
    Btw, again, thank you!

  8. Inaki
    By Inaki on 18 September, 2015

    Thanks for the tips, Marieke. Now, if I choose a long tail keyword, it will be difficult to do a good job optimising my content for that long keyword in Yoast SEO, as it looks for the keyword word-by-word (titles, image-alt, headings, content..) and will not be able to find it literally. So I will end up with a “poor SEO” status on that page… am I missing something? thanks for your help!

  9. Francis Quarshie
    By Francis Quarshie on 18 September, 2015

    Hi Marieke,
    This is the kind of info I’ve be following for some time now. What I see missing is how to effectively apply long tail keywords within your posts.

    Google I learn does not care about the percentage of focused keywords in a post.

    You being an expert in this field, kindly help clarify this issue for for me.

    Your post have inspired me considering the importance you’ve outlined. Thanks to you.

  10. Ben
    By Ben on 17 September, 2015

    Thanks for the article, I have a question.

    How does this apply to an Ecommerce stores blog with many unrelated categories? What is the best strategy when you have multiple separate head terms you are optimising basically?
    Thank you.

    • Marieke van de Rakt
      By Marieke van de Rakt on 18 September, 2015

      This is a great question to be answered in a different blogpost or in one of Joost’s vlogs. A bit patience, we will get back with a full answer for this question

  11. Jenna
    By Jenna on 17 September, 2015

    Also i wanted to know that how many links should be there in a normal blog of 500-700 words ? including internal and external and all other links.

  12. Jenna
    By Jenna on 17 September, 2015

    I couldn’t get the whole idea. Will give it a second read to fully understand. But my point it that long tail keywords are not that generic, people do search with short phrases without even writing full prepositions, then how does a long tail keyword bring your blog in SERP ?

  13. Lawrie
    By Lawrie on 17 September, 2015

    Slightly off-topic, but how do you get away with this…
    “Our blog is all about SEO. We even named it SEO blog in our redesign. So, all of our blog posts are about SEO, or about SEO-related-topics. SEO is definitely something we like to be found on.
    The main topic or theme of your blog is the number one keyword (or key phrase) you want to be found on. In our case SEO.”
    Isn’t that keyword stuffing??? Or can you get away with it because it’s relevant.

    • Marieke van de Rakt
      By Marieke van de Rakt on 17 September, 2015

      Interesting question. I did not write this piece of text aiming to optimising it. I used SEO that often as a style figure, trying to emphasise what our blog was about. My point is: I did not try to overoptimise or to stuff a piece of text with keywords. So, my using the word SEO so often is definitely relevant for the blogpost. I’m not sure that Google will understand my style figure… so I will be a bit more careful next time. Thanks!

  14. Nigel Abery
    By Nigel Abery on 17 September, 2015

    Hi, great info! It really makes sense to me to link to short tail pages and make them cornerstone content.

    Where the longer tail key words are also competitive, is there value in also linking from the short tail to the longer tail pages. That way visitors to the short tail page are also directed to the longer tail page for more information about that aspect. Or do you think that will confuse the search engines and weaken the short tail page?
    Cheers.

    • Marieke van de Rakt
      By Marieke van de Rakt on 18 September, 2015

      You could do that (linking from head to tail) to guide visitors through your website for more specific information. Remember though, that you want your website to be structured like a pyramid. So make sure you are linking more from tail to head than vice versa.

  15. Melhor Franquia
    By Melhor Franquia on 16 September, 2015

    Very interesting tips… But now rank on long tail keywords is an extreme competition in high paying niches.

    • Marieke van de Rakt
      By Marieke van de Rakt on 17 September, 2015

      You should aim to rank on even longer tail keywords first… so even more specific as what the competition is doing. It can be a nice strategy to first rank in a very small niche and slowly going up to more and more head keywords.


Check out our must read articles about Analytics