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Long-Tail Keywords: Influencing Semantic Search Engines for Moving to the Top of the List

Brittany Nowlin, Director of SEO

Every company wants to make sure their products and services appear at the top of the list when prospects search online. Just how high you rank depends so much on how well you construct your long-tail keywords. By using longer and more specific phrases that prospects are likely to use when close to a buying decision, semantic search engines will align the intent and contextual meaning of search phrases to your products and services.

Capturing semantic searches through long-tail keywords is extremely important to your digital marketing strategy. You are more likely to convert prospects and less likely to compete with keywords used by your competitors. Long-tail keywords can also answer voice assistant searches. 

Long-tail keyword phrases should make up more than 50% of your search terms. They are critical because in today’s digital work, people are spending less time searching online. But that doesn’t mean they are buying fewer things. In fact, 2020 proved to be the year of online shopping—as many people started ordering everything from toilet paper to dinner to exercise equipment when faced with no in-store options. 

Focus on Prospect Wants Over Needs
While people are spending less time looking for the things they need, they are spending more time looking for the things they want. For example, when I need diapers for my one-year-old, I don’t generally browse <diapers>. Instead, I search for <size 3 non-toxic diapers> because that’s specifically what I want, and I’m ready to make a purchase. 

That is the beauty of long-tail keywords—both for the user and the brand. I get what I want quickly and easily, and the brand that meets my needs gets the sale!

In this case, I am the mother of a 15-month-old, and I need diapers for him. But take a look at my buying journey to see how I actually go after what I want: 

- Before baby was born, I searched for diapers using terms like <best diapers for newborns> and <natural diapers for newborns>. 

- And just because I want to feel like I do my part for the environment, I also looked up <cloth diaper service>; now I know all my options!

- Google somehow knows I am a new mom in the research phase and serves up a page of <best of> diaper lists for me to read. 

- The result that grabbed the <Featured Snippet> is the one I go with because it looks better than the others. In my mind, that result is the best choice for me.

- My <cloth diaper service> search also pulls up a nice array of SERP features, including the local <3-Pack>, <Some People Also Ask>, and <Related Searches> sections. 

- Google must know I am trying to be an environmentalist. Not only do I see diaper services, I also see eco-friendly diapers, bamboo diapers, and what they call <eco-friendly diapers that aren’t cloth>. 

What does all this mean? Google knows I want diapers and that I am somewhat conscientious of the material of my diapers. And Google is here to help. That’s semantic search! 

Key Drivers for Semantic Searches
In the anecdote above, the semantic search engine was guided by two aspects:
 
1. My intent: <to choose and buy diapers>. 

2. The semantic meaning of the search terms I used: <cloth diapers = bamboo diapers = eco-friendly diapers>. 

One of the best diaper brands that the semantic search engine brought me to offered a subscription that has cute prints. Sign me up! But not before I search for reviews on that brand. That’s because I want a little more information on what to expect. At that point in my journey, I was a satisfied mom-to-be and a proud diaper subscription holder. 

Also during my buying journey, I have a baby shower and get loads of diapers from many different women. They are almost all the same brand….hmmm….these women must know something I don’t! 

So I want to know more about this diaper secret and wonder, do they have a diaper subscription too? There goes another long-tail keyword search: <compare diaper subscriptions>. 

After baby is born, I use both my cute prints and my baby shower diapers, and I find the cute prints don’t stack up. So I hesitantly cancel my subscription. 

As a new mom, I have my hands full, so my voice assistant in the form of an Amazon Echo has become my new best friend. I ask my new BFF where I might find these diapers (cue long-tail search). She tells me and I buy them. 

Connecting with Prospects When They’re Ready to Buy 
It is now six months later, and my baby is starting to crawl. The same diapers that I swore by as the mother of a newborn have been good to us, but they don’t fit our needs any longer. I need diapers that have staying power, and I kind of miss those cute prints!

I once again use a lengthy keyword to find my solution. I am delighted to find that there is a diaper for babies on the move by searching for <diapers for crawling babies with cute prints>. And I find these cute, durable diapers by screaming at the little vibrating microphone on my cell phone. 

I could provide several mommy examples of long-tail searches and continue to go on through my baby diaper buying journey, but I think I have made the point. Not once did I search on <diaper>. I also became a brand loyalist. I will spend thousands of dollars on diapers in the next couple of years, and I will do so with the company that captured my search query. Not only have I become a brand loyalist, I will also tell my friends.

My journey is very similar to the journey your prospects go through as well. By creating long-tail keywords, you greatly improve your chance that semantic search engines will point prospects to you when they search online. You’re also more likely to connect with prospects who are ready to buy and who’s wants match to your products and services. And that’s sure to bump up your conversion rate!

This is our third blog in our SEO series. In our first blog, we discussed how to determine if your business needs SEO and the benefits it can bring to your business. In the second blog, we examined the impact that your website navigation, architecture, internal links, and user experience have on how high you will rank when prospects go searching for a product or service that you offer. If you’re looking to find out exactly how SEO can drive more traffic to your website, increase conversions, and lower your bounce rates, contact R2i today.  

About the author: Brittany Nowlin

As the Director of SEO at R2i, Brittany Nowlin loves all aspects of SEO, but her expertise lies in technical SEO and creating sound website foundations for housing strategic content. Brittany has over ten years of helping clients in capturing search engine real estate while also driving real business results from organic search for industries such as fashion e-commerce, higher education and healthcare. She also brings a deep knowledge of user experience—with a passion for understanding what the consumer wants and needs, and making that a reality. Brittany’s favorite challenge in her day-to-day life is helping her clients build dialogues with their users through her ability to analyze and use data to drive recommendations and results.

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