Long Tail Keywords

Glossary  |  2 mins

Read the next term in our glossary

Long tail keywords are keywords which get a relatively small search volume (searches per month), but tend to enjoy higher engagement due to them being longer and more specific than high volume alternatives, or head keywords.

For example, the word “keto” is considered a head keyword because it gets a monthly search volume in the hundreds of thousands, whereas a term like “what does a keto diet consist of?” can be considered a long tail keyword because it only gets around 800 searches per month.

Long tail keywords draw their name from the fact they exist in the search demand curve: a visualisation that plots interest in search queries on a graph with one axis representing search volume and another representing the number of separate keywords.

Within this visualisation, the “head” of the curve is made up of a small selection of keywords with huge volumes. The curve is composed of more and more keywords as the volume gets lower and lower towards the “long tail”, which is where we find the most specific, high conversion terms.

How to Use Long Tail Keywords

Because they’re less competitive and easier to group by searcher intent, long tail keywords are a great component to include in your SEO strategy.

To use long tail keywords effectively, start by sorting into groups that share a similar meaning, then sort these groups by keyword volume to prioritise the ones which are likely to return the most value. From there, use the high priority keywords from each category on your relevant pages the same way you would with any other keyword; by including them naturally in the title and meta description, the body content, and the anchor text for links pointing towards the page.

One important thing to note when it comes to long tail keywords: it’s a common mistake for site owners to optimise several pages for the same group of long tail keywords that share a similar search intent, which can lead to keyword cannibalisation and mean that your website is fighting itself for rankings.

To avoid making your long tail keywords redundant, be sure to group them carefully and avoid creating unique content for topics that are too closely related.

Back to glossary

EBook Icon eBook

Download a PDF version of our glossary for everything you need to know


Long Tail Keywords FAQs

How do you identify long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords are search terms with a low monthly search volume, but a high potential for engagement because they’re more specific and have search intent that’s less open to interpretation. SEOs can identify long tail keywords by searching for seed keywords, and filtering the returned results down to the low volume, high intent terms.

What is the difference between long tail and short tail keywords?

While long tail keywords tend to have low volume and detailed, specific meanings, short tail keywords are search terms that consist of just one or two phrases, tending towards higher monthly volume, and existing in the “head” or “chunky middle” of the search demand curve.

Questions to ask your link builder