Long Tail Keyword Research Guide

Finding keywords that bring in a ton of converting traffic is a tough job for any content creator. Ranking for high-competition keywords is almost impossible with today's content overload.

Luckily there are ways to go for keywords that are considered “low hanging fruit” that get you traffic with a high conversion rate.

This is done through long-tail keywords. If you don’t know what a long tail keyword is, then you are missing out.

Content marketing doesn’t look the same as it did ten years ago. There is more competition today, which means there are more people that are targeting keywords than ever before.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of opportunities for you to carve out your piece of the pie.

You just need the right tools to help you find the long-tail keywords that not everyone and their mom is going after.

This guide is going to show you exactly how to find long-tail keywords that can bring you high conversion rates, boost your sales, and get you the traffic that you need to be successful.

What are long-tail keywords?

Chances are if you are reading this guide, you are familiar with keywords and how they work. However, you may not be as familiar with long-tail keywords and why they are so valuable.

Long-tail keywords are keywords that are usually comprised of 3 or more words. In general they have less competition and fewer people who search for them. That’s what makes them lower hanging fruit.

You might be wondering, what makes them so valuable if fewer people search for them? And the answer is simple.

Long-tail keywords are a more specific search query. Someone who searches for a head term like “weight loss” is going to find a thousand different results.

This search may not bring them to the exact results they are looking for.

Most people who search do not use vague terms like weight loss. They are going to be more specific. They will type in something like “weight loss plans for the keto diet.”

By typing in that long-tail keyword with a more specific intent, they are more likely to find exactly what they are looking for.

Instead of finding weight loss supplements and a hundred different kinds of diets, they are going to find search results for keto weight loss diet plans.

This makes your job of writing content that brings in targeted traffic much easier, and this kind of traffic converts better.

Your job when writing with keywords in mind is to provide a search result that reflects the needs of the user’s exact topic.

Long-tail keywords do precisely that. Instead of steering them in the right direction, you are bringing them right to the answer.

Some benefits of long-tail keywords:

·       Less competition

·       More targeted traffic

·       Higher conversion rates

These are just a few of the benefits to what makes long-tail keywords an obvious choice for your content.

Long-tail keywords are probably the fastest way for a new website to grow its traffic and bring in higher conversion rates.

We’ve all heard the term “content is king,” and while writing excellent content that offers value to the user is very important, getting them to that content is half of the battle.

Now that you know exactly what a long tail keyword is and how it can help you drive traffic to your site let's look at the anatomy of a long-tail keyword.

Examples of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords do not have to be complicated as long they are formulated with the user's intent in mind.

With just a few key terms and modifiers, you can get a pretty good idea of what makes up a long tail keyword.

You’re going for something that mimics the way an ordinary person uses a search engine.

If you wanted to find the most effective way to remove stain from a door, you wouldn’t just type in “remove stain”, you are going to be more specific.

Chances are you would type in something like “how to remove stain from a door.”

This is how a long tail keyword is comprised. Try using a term like “best way to remove stain from a door.” This brings the user to a search result that is a direct answer to their question.

Using a modifier like “best” lets them know that this result is the most effective way to remove stain from a door.

Long-tail keywords let you tap into people's emotions and desires. A simple head term search for “pool sticks” does little to spark a person’s interest or answer any specific question.

However, something like “cool-looking pool sticks” taps into that desire and emotion that brings the user closer to want they want, a cool looking pool stick.

Since you are focusing on longer keywords that have less competition, this is extremely valuable to you.

You’re using a longer-term that has a specific intent in mind. Your search result is going to bring them right to their answer and if you word it right, it's going to compel them to click and to buy.

Let’s take a look at some long-tail keywords that combine modifiers with specific search intent.

·       “when to change a donut tire”

·       “auto part shop near me”

Now let’s break each of these examples down and find out why they work so well.

“when to change a donut tire” – If a person were to type in “changing tires” or even “when to change a tire,” chances are they would get hundreds of results for how or when to change a regular tire.

While knowing how to change a tire is extremely important, it doesn’t answer the specific question of when to change a donut tire. Donut tires are small replacement tires that you put on when you get a blowout.

They are not meant to stay on your vehicle, only to get you to a tire shop where they can put a new tire on.

By targeting the long-tail version of this search with a specific intent, you are more likely to have a higher click-through rate (CTR) because it is tailored to their specific question.

“auto part shop near me” – Long tail keywords are also very important to localized SEO. A head term like “auto parts” is going to bring up websites that sell auto parts from all over the world.

However, if you are a local auto part shop who is trying to target local buyers by adding a modifier like “near me” and making your keyword a long tail, you will reach your customers and bring localized traffic to your website and location.

These are just a few examples of long-tail keywords and how to use them. There is no special sauce on how many words, as long as it is 3 or more words, and has a specific intent, you will bring in targeted traffic.

What makes a long tail keyword vs. a short tail 'head term'?

I think so far we have a pretty good understanding of what makes a long-tail keyword, but in case there is any confusion, let’s look at long tail keywords vs head terms.

Head terms are keywords that are usually one to two word keywords that have a high volume of searches.

They are usually basic terms for niches and subjects that give you an idea of the subject matter but not any specifics.

Examples of head terms:

·       makeup

·       desktop computer

If you type in “makeup,” you are going to get thousands of results for hundreds of different types of makeup and brands.

To rank for the term “makeup” would be impossible for a new website or smaller website that is not one of the larger companies in the makeup industry.

The same would go for “desktop computer” if you typed that into a search engine you are going to get results from Bestbuy and Amazon. You are not going to be able to compete with these big dogs.

Now lets come up with some long-tail versions of those head terms that have a little more search intent.

“natural eco-friendly makeup”

The makeup industry is full of long-tail keywords that are directed to specific audiences. By using one of these longer keywords, you can target an audience that is easier to reach.

In this case, there is an audience of eco-conscious people that are searching for natural products.

Next, let's go with “the best desktop computer for elderly people.” This long-tail keyword is low hanging fruit that is ripe for the taking.

Targeting anyone looking for a desktop computer is a difficult head term; however, using this long-tail version hits a smaller audience.

The possibilities are endless when you enter the world of sub-niches and long tail versions of keywords.

Not only can you find search terms that have less competition, you can also use these types of searches to find narrowed down niches and categories.

It’s much easier to find success in an area that fewer people are targeting, as long as there is enough of an audience there.

How to find the best long tail keywords

Many methods for finding keywords have come out the last couple of years; however, not all of them have the same amount of success.

Here are a few free methods for finding excellent long-tail keywords.

1.    Type your head term into Google and let it auto-complete keywords

2.    Google has a section called “searches related to” with keywords

3.    You can use social media to find out what people are searching for

4.    Forums are a great way to look for questions people are asking

5.    Google’s “people also ask” box that shows up after your search

Using the Google autocomplete method and the other Google methods are very powerful since the suggestions come straight from Google itself.

To dig deeper into the autosuggest you can use the A-Z method. Typing your main keyword, followed by the letter a, and moving through the alphabet will suggest a multitude of long tail keywords.

The best part about using Google itself as a keyword research tool is that you know for a fact that these keywords are being searched for on Google's engine.

This is one of the best ways to find long tail keywords. The same with the “searches related to..” and the “people also ask box” from Google.

Social media can be a great place to learn the lingo that people use to search for things within your audience.

Facebook groups have targeted audiences for just about any niche or subject. These are great places to find out what people are saying and words they use to describe what they’re looking for.

The same type of data can be found in forums and message boards. There are many different variations of long-tail keywords.

For example, targeting question keywords is a great way to give searchers the answers they are looking for.

Writing articles that answer a direct question can bring in a ton of traffic. Many long-tail keywords can be used in the form of a question.

These are all manual ways to find valuable keywords. However, there’s also paid and free software that helps make this process easier and more streamlined.

Some of the paid software is very expensive and claim that they can find you all the long tail keywords you can handle.

In most cases, these paid tools do deliver outstanding results and are well worth it if you have a large number of sites.

We suggest trying free tools first. There are many free keyword tools that scrape the internet using the free methods we mentioned above, doing all the work for you with a single click.

We’ve had amazing results with many of these free tools, and frankly, who doesn’t like free?

Using free tools and getting results can help you decide to finally fork out the money to pay for some of the paid tools.

If you are getting results then the ROI of paid tools can be a good business decision.

Free tools to help you discover long tail keywords

While there are many free keyword tools out there that offer great results, a few of them stand out in mind as the very best.

I’m always hungry to try new free tools when it comes to SEO. The rules of content marketing are always changing, and having an edge to keep up with the times is an asset.

These are my favorite tools for finding long tail keywords:

1.    Scout Suggest

2.    SEMrush

3.    Ubersuggest

4.    Answer The Public

All of these tools use unique ways of combining data to bring keywords and content suggestions together.

Scout Suggest

My favorite free tool for finding long-tail keywords is Scout Suggest by SEO Scout. This tool scrapes all of the google search methods such as auto-suggest A-Z, to find the very best long tail keywords, phrases, questions, and comparisons with thousands of suggestions.

SEO Scout has a whole list of free tools that are the most valuable set of tools that I’ve come across.

Scout Suggest finds modifiers and word variations that all of the other free tools seem to miss.

The tool groups keywords into clusters that give you keyword options that you can use as inspiration for new content, as well as valuable keywords that you can add to existing content.

What sets Scout Suggest apart from the others on this list besides its fresh approach to finding keywords, is its ability to group keywords ideas without duplicates.

You get a better mix of awesome long tail keywords that can be used to explode your traffic and bring you customers that convert.

If you want to go further to improve and optimize your content and find new ways to get traffic to your site then you should check out our keyword research and analysis suite of tools that uses natural language processing to enhance your seo and go beyond simple keywords.


SEMrush is another great set of tools for finding keywords and other types of valuable data. Their free tools limit your amount of searches per day, but you can still get a lot of good information from them.

You get data such as organic traffic information, info on competitors, and search engine positions.

The paid very of SEMrush is a little bit pricy, but these tools can be extremely helpful for marketers who are developing multiple sites and need instant access to that kind of information.

They also have keyword tools that find many long tail keywords that will help bring traffic that converts to your website.


Ubersuggest is another awesome free tool that comes with many bells and whistles. For a long time, Ubersuggest was a completely free tool that combined powerful search methods to bring you keyword suggestions.

Now only a few parts of the platform are free, but they are still powerful enough to be valuable.

Ubersuggest uses many of the same techniques as other tools to bring you great content suggestions.

Answer The Public

The last on our list of free tools is Answer The Public. This free tool uses data-sets that discover questions and answers that people regularly search for.

Their system of analyzing what people are saying online is great for finding long tail keywords, phrases, and questions that bring in traffic.

You get insight into the collective mind of the internet, bringing together many content ideas and suggestions that are pulled from deep within the web.

Answer The Public’s free tools are worth checking out.

How to target long-tail phrases in your content

The best way to target long tail phrases within your content is to understand your audience. What is your audience looking for? Your audience is viewing your content because they have a need or problem that you can solve.

Once you can identify what the search intent of your user is, you can better serve them.

Long tail keywords are a more targeted way of getting at the center of what your audience needs.

You can tailor your content so that it encompasses multiple variations of long tail keywords that bring the user directly to the answer they are looking for.

This can be extremely helpful, and being helpful while offering value to the user is the name of the game.

Using modifiers & keyword patterns to widen your long tail rankings

Modifiers are my favorite way to reach the emotions of an audience. Speaking in a language that compels them is the best way to get their attention and keep it.

When you combine that with keyword patterns and long tail variations you make your content something that reaches more people that wouldn’t have clicked on your site otherwise.

SEO has so many components that change regularly, it can be hard to reach an audience consistently.

By using modifiers and keyword patterns, you boost your long tail rankings and keep them in the spotlight.

This is a very valuable way to stay at the top of the search results.

As long as you use some of the methods mentioned in this guide, you will be well on your way to success.

Let the internet work for you. Long-tail keywords are a powerful and refreshing way to reach your audience in a pool of head terms and duplicate keyword clusters.

So what are you waiting for? Check out these free tools and start creating valuable content that is tailored to the needs of your audience.