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If you have ever marketed your business on the Internet, then you know how important the concept of keywords is. Keywords are the base on which every online marketing campaign rests. They define and narrow the available results to any web user according to selected parameters set by the advertiser.

Now, not all keywords are created equal. On one side we have the traditional keywords targeted by most marketers and online businesses. These are called short tail keywords, since they are usually between one and three words in length. Some examples of short tail keywords are:

  • Pets
  • Pet training
  • Pet training advice

These keywords and keyword phrases are usually the most sought-after by marketers and businesses in general, since they are the most searched for by Internet users.

On the other hand, we have what is known in the Internet marketing world as long tail keywords. As their name implies, long tail keywords are composed of four or more words and target very specific users. Also, since their scope is not that broad, long tail keywords are not in such demand as their shorter counterparts. Here some examples of long tail keywords:

  • Pet training advice for teenagers
  • Japanese pet training advice

Now, contrary to what may seem logical at first, unless you’re a big-name company, your best option when it comes to advertising your business on the web would be by far to use long tail keywords. The reason for this is that long tail keywords are far more focused and can target very specific audiences.

You see, when customers search on the web, they do it in two different ways:

They search recreationally or do some research about specific topics or products they are interested in. For these searches they use general, short tail keywords. They start with the “big picture” and narrow their searches little by little until they find the product they want.

Even then, it is a proven fact that people don’t generally buy the first time they find a product, but instead they do it the fifth, sixth and even seventh time they look for it on the web, only after thoroughly researching about it and the options they have.

But once they have decided which product to buy, customers perform very specific searches that target the exact product they have chosen. And since they have already made up their minds about getting that product, they are far more likely to make a purchase from the results they get from their highly targeted searches.

For example, let’s say you offer hiking and mountain climbing tours in Latin America. If you target the keyword Tours or even Latin American Tours, you might find yourself competing against huge companies that have the time and money to try to be everything to everyone. Of course as a result of this, people who perform a general search for those keywords will find those companies instead of yours and might buy from them or not.

However, if you target the keyword “Hiking tour in Latin America” or “Mountain climbing in Latin America”, people who are looking for that specific experience are far more likely to find your website in their online searches and, since they already know what they want, you are far more likely to make a sale as well.

Now that you have a general idea of the potential of long tail keywords, let’s take a deeper look at some of the main benefits they provide:

Higher conversion rate

As mentioned above, people who arrive at your site through a specific multi-phrase search are far more likely to click on your actions to buy your products, since they already know exactly what they want. Thus, the probability of making a sale lies more on you (content you deliver and quality of your product or service) than on external factors.

Higher rankings on search engines

Since long tail keywords are in less demand than short tail ones, they offer far less competition and are easier to rank higher for on search engines results. As a result, your site will not only receive more visitors, but these visitors will be highly targeted as well.

Higher monetisation potential

Since the audience that will find your site will be far more targeted and actually interested in what you offer, they provide the opportunity for you to capitalise on them repeatedly. This can be done by offering them alternative products or services or by having them subscribe to your mailing list or newsletter.

To conclude, long tail keywords offer a great opportunity for both small business owners and service providers to bring their businesses to the eyes of more people. And this potential audience will not just be any kind of audience, but a highly targeted group who will be far more likely to become your regular customers.