It took me two years to really understand long tail keyword research. I knew the concept, I knew how to use tools and what metrics to search for, but I didn't really know how to find killer keywords, and how to massively increase your chances of finding ones that you'll rank for.
Let's face it, there's no guarantee that you'll hit page 1 for a keyword. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. One of the most frustrating things about SEO is having to wait and see. However, if you do your research correctly (and most people don't), you'll be so much better off and a lot closer to success.
Long tail keywords are very important for getting rankings. When a site is new, you”ll probably spend a very long time doing the keyword research, and making your first mistakes while doing it.
By the way, I made a post last week asking people which keyword they'd choose from 5 examples. The only one I would choose is number 5, and in this post I'll explain why.
Mistake Number One – Thinking Long Tail Keywords Are Easy
It's not enough to just say that long tail keywords are going to be easy to rank for. They've been called the low-hanging fruit and the niche marketer's greatest tool. It's true that you'll find it easier to rank for “How to research keywords in Google” than “Keyword research”, but you can't just assume something long-tail will always be a winner.
It only takes 10 strong websites to keep you off page one, so you have to take that into consideration. You also need to consider that Google doesn't always show results that exactly match the search term, so going too long-tail could mean other sites rank above you anyway.
Basically, look at the bigger picture and focus on all the metrics.
Mistake Number Two – Ignoring The First Page
This is one of the most common mistakes and was something that it took me a long time to learn. Keyword tools are great for telling you an approximation of search volume and quantity of competition, but you have to use your own brain when checking the QUALITY of the competition. Jaaxy and Long Tail Pro are two tools that go some way to helping you analyze that competition, but you'll need to head over to Google and check out what you see on page one first.
Things to consider:
- If it's a “buying” keyword, the first page will probably be full of eCommerce sites that physically handle sales of that product. This is a sign that your affiliate site might not get there. If you have an eCommerce site and you do sell that product, you might be more likely to get to page 1. Learn more about this.
- How authoritative are the sites there? Are they large sites with hundreds of pages, lots of sites linking to them, and a great trust and citation score on MajesticSEO? If you see lots of weak sites or forums on page 1, you've probably found a great keyword.
- Are there lots of “similar” words coming up in the results? Often Google will rank sites with similar words instead of exact words, because the big G knows that they have the same meaning. This can often make the great looking long-tail keyword irrelevant.
The ideal keyword then would be one that doesn't have a whole lot of strong sites already ranking for it on Page 1. On the previous post I made, the final example is the only one with a weak page 1.
Mistake Number Three – Focusing On Search Volume
The whole point of long-tail keywords is that you want to rank for them! Search volume shouldn't really matter. If something gets a few hundred searches and is very rankable, great! Don't go for a similar keyword with thousands of searches that is a lot less rankable.
If you are on page 1 for 50 keywords that get 100 searches a month, it's far better than being on page 4 for a 10,000 a month keyword. Nobody visits page 4.
This is why they are known as the low-hanging fruit. Don't chase after big search terms except for one or two “main” keywords.
Mistake Number Four – Forgetting Grammar
If you are writing article titles that don't make sense, you're not going to rank (Google will show sites that make sense in the results instead), and nobody is going to click on the results anyway. “Keyword research how rank fast” isn't going to be a winning keyword, no matter what the metrics in Jaaxy or LTP tell you.
Mistake Number Five – Using The Wrong Research Tools
Using Google's keyword tool isn't enough, as it's designed for running ad campaigns, instead you'll want to use something which specializes in SEO.
If you're not familiar with either of the two tools I just mentioned, I'll give you a little summary here. The two I recommend are Jaaxy and Long Tail Pro. One is a “one off” fee and one is a monthly subscription, so it depends on your budget and what kind of fee you'd like to pay.
I spent my first two years using just Jaaxy, but I've come to find that LTP has some excellent features for checking the competition strength as well.
Both are great, and both come with a free trial.
Jaaxy is from the owners of Wealthy Affiliate, and is a great tool for digging deep and finding those long tail search terms. When you type in one term, you'll get 20 or more similar results displayed, an clicking on one will get you another 20 or so results, you can find dozens of keywords with just one or two searches.
It also tells you a little about the strength of the competition via the “SEO Power” metric, and the quantity of competition with the “QSR” metric. It's very easy to use and get some great keywords for further analysis via the page 1 check I mentioned above.
You can also check up on your own rankings as well. Jaaxy comes with 30 free searches, then costs $19 a month or $199 a year.
Long Tail Pro is from Spencer Haws of Nichepursuits fame. I'd heard of this tool for a long time before I decided to use it. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. While it works in a similar way to Jaaxy for displaying search results and suggesting other keywords, it also lets you find out about the strength of the sites on page one and lets you filter your searches.
You can enter your root searches and have the tool only show you the results that match the criteria you're interested in. This is a great feature and makes keyword research a lot less time consuming. This is a major advantage it has over Jaaxy.
LTP costs $97 one-time fee, and comes with a 10 day free trial.
Keyword research takes time to do, and takes even longer to master. The thing is, if you can do it right, the payoff is amazing. Most people fail online because they simply can't get this first step down. If you can get traffic to your site, everything becomes a whole lot simpler.