A keyword in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to a word that summarizes the whole content of a blog post or a web page. A key phrase is a collection of words that describes what a web page or blog post is all about. It is what search engines look out for while trying to display different posts on search results. It is also those words that people type into the search bar of a search engine. The process of finding suitable keywords for your blog post is called Keyword research. There are 6 best practices that you should consider applying while carrying out your Longtail Keyword research for better SEO.
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What is a Longtail Keyword?
A longtail keyword is a collection of two or more keywords in the form of a sentence which summarizes what a blog post is all about. A perfect example is the title of this blog post;
6 Best Practices For a Perfect Longtail Keyword Research
All the highlighted words are the keywords I used for this post. And each of the words above sums up what one is expecting to see when they open this post to read. On the other hand, search engines also use the content of a longtail keyword phrase to determine the results to show, when someone searches for a topic or asks a question.
Why You Should Use Longtail Keywords for your Blog SEO
1. There is little Competition for Ranking
Take a Keyword like “Blogging” for example. There are millions of blog posts, if not billions on this topic, and maybe each talking about different aspects of blogging and web content creation. And you probably happen to also know a lot on this topic too and would like to share your own ideas on your blog.
Now, if you set your keyword for the post to be just blogging, it is nearly impossible for your posts to appear even in the first ten pages on Google search, no matter how detailed your blog post is. The truth is simple; there is already sufficient information on the subject.
But narrowing down your keywords into specific areas of blogging using 3 to 4 Keywords arranged to form a sentence, there is a chance that there are fewer posts pointing to all 3 or 4 of your keywords. This increases the chances of your post appearing on search results.
2. It is More Specific and Easier for People to find
When people read the title of a post that contains the keywords on that post, it guides them to understand the contents of a blog post, and know whether it could contain the answers or solutions to their problem.
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3. Increases Traffic
Because of the low competition for posts ranking for longtail keywords, it increases the chances of your posts appearing in the first few pages on search results. This means an increase in the chances the post has to be clicked.
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Best Practices for a Perfect Longtail Keyword Research
1. Do Not Use More than 4 Keywords
In as much as you are trying to combine as many keywords as possible to increase your chances of being featured in the top pages of search engines, do not try to rank with more than four keywords. I do not clearly understand why though, but I think it has to do with the increasing difficulty of your keyphrase with an increasing number of keywords.
The more you narrow the contents of a web page down by using more keywords, the more difficult it is for someone to actually search for a topic with a combination of all your keywords.
But with just four keywords, the probability of someone searching for topics related to those four are higher, and the more chances your web page has to be featured on search results.
Even YOAST recommends that you do not use more than four (4) keywords for a blog post. Perfect keyword research is one of those factors which contributes to the SEO score of your post on YOAST.
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2. Research the Search Volume of Each Keyword on Google Trends
For every word that makes up your longtail keyword, look out for the search volume, and relevance using Google trends or any other keyword research tool.
Substitute those keywords which are losing relevance (not trending) with those keywords which are currently on the trending list. This will help you to maximize the potential the post has to be featured on search results.
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3. Analyze Each Longtail Keyword You Research and Replace with Less Competitive Ones
Ranking for highly competitive keywords will decrease the chances of your post appearing on web results. To analyze the competitiveness in each keyword, find out if it is what your competitors are using.
Your competitors are those people who have written similar posts like yours and are ranking for the same keywords you intend to use.
To find out if your competitors are using the exact same keywords intend to use, search for the keywords on any search engine like Bing or Google. Analyze the keywords and find out if they are the same as the ones you have in mind.
Also, analyze the content of the post they are being ranked for, and find out if you can outperform them by providing more detailed information that will be helpful for your readers.
If there is already a lot of content on the keywords, it’s a red signal, and it is advisable that you terminate the plan of writing on the topic at all. But if after your analysis you figured that there is only a little information on the topic, and you can fill in the gaps, then you can go for it.
If there are similar topics on other blogs, which are well written, and are ranked using the same keywords, then consider modifying your keyword by using a synonym or a close substitute.
By doing this, you will not compete with anyone for a keyword that you know a lot about.
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4. Spread Out the Keywords within the Post
There is a bad practice among some bloggers who are using YOAST and other SEO tools. I used to do it, but have been learning some lessons lately.
While optimizing your post using YOAST, it is expected that you have a considerably high keyphrase density; that is the number of times your keywords appear within a single sentence in one post. It is usually recommended that all your keywords appear at least 3 times for every 1000 words you write.
In trying to fix this, ie. finding a perfect Longtail keyword phrase), some persons try to manipulate their way into increasing the key phrase density but only end up repeating the same sentence over and over. This makes your post look suspicious, and not cool in the eyes of your readers.
Remember you are writing for people to enjoy and learn from your posts, so their satisfaction should be your priority, not the affirmation from search engines. Don’t allow anyone to tell you anything different.
Even without an optimum keyword density, a post can still score perfectly for SEO. And it will rank well on search engines as long as you did justice on the topic the keywords you specified is about, and as long as you answered the question your post is meant to answer.
So focus more on providing value to your readers instead of keyword density, it is a turn off for most readers and some smart search engines as well.
Use this Strategy to Spread out your Keywords
There is a strategy I use in spreading out my Keyphrase to avoid making it look suspicious. I include them in different parts of the post like; One in the Introduction, One in the body, and another at the conclusion.
I also include them in less obvious places like Image captions on the post where it won’t be noticed.
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5. Do Not Use One Keyphrase More than Once
This is a rule I have only seen on YOAST. For all your blog posts, use a unique keyword for each. The reason is that it will be difficult for search engines to decide which one to feature on Search results. And you will find your posts competing against each other, instead of against other blogs.
If you think you need to write a post on a topic that is similar to another post on your blog, then consider combining the two posts on one page.
Or if you feel the post will be much and overwhelming for your readers, create a new post, but do not forget to mark the cornerstone content for the most relevant post between the two.
6. Use Conjunctions to Form a Sentence from the Keywords
Finally, while specifying your keywords, make it look like a sentence or a question by separating keywords with conjunctions like and, for, with, etc. Remember that your SEO title (Post title as it appears on search results), should contain all your keywords for the best results.
So consider using the topic of your post as the keyphrase, and remove excess keywords. This will help you to struggle less with trying to make your SEO title to match your keyword phrase and post title.
Putting these practices together will definitely help you carry out a perfect longtail keyword research and an optimum SEO for your blog post. Keyword research is a very dynamic topic, but using a Longtail Keyword has proven to be one of the best ways of boosting your post’s SEO and search appearance.