How to Choose Long-Tail Keywords for Your Content Plan

February 15, 2023
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Choosing the right keywords for your business is challenging, especially if you are a startup or just building your online presence. One way to quickly increase traffic to your website is by using long-tail keywords. We've previously published a 101 on long-tail keywords, discussing why they are crucial to SEO strategies. In this article, we will talk about finding the best long-tail keywords for your blog.

Long-tail Keywords: What are They?

If you haven't read our previous article (linked above), you might be wondering what long-tail keywords are. These are keywords that people don't search as often as more popular phrases. At a minimum, these phrases are three words long, but the number of words alone does not determine which phrases are long-tail and which ones are not.

The opposite of long-tail keywords are head keywords, which are more general ones that many people use. Examples of head keywords are general or umbrella topics like "home improvement." If a site is new, they won't be able to rank for popular head terms like "marketing," "flooring options," or other competitive search phrases. At least, not right away—it will take years of dedicated SEO. Instead, it's better to target less frequently searched terms, especially ones that attach a location to the keyword.

Examples of Long-Tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are phrases like "content writing for e-commerce websites," "flooring options dining room," "Content marketing near me," and the like. As you can see, compared to "marketing" or "flooring options," these keywords are more descriptive. Long-tail keywords, when taken individually, do not move the needle on search volume. However, when you group all the long-tail keywords a successful SEO campaign targets, they will outnumber the searches for head keywords. So, a content marketer should know which long-tail keywords to include in their content plan.

Which Long-Tail Keywords to Target

There is no template for identifying the best long-tail keywords for a company. You can try several phrases before finding the perfect fit for your business. However, you don't need to rely on trial and error; keyword use involves principles that allow you to create a content plan strategically. Here are something you should try:

Identify Keywords That Align with Your USP

Among the best keywords to target are long-tail keywords that align with your unique service proposition or USP. Think about your business—what makes your service or product stand out? What features make you uniquely helpful or desirable?

Identify the people who need what you provide and the reasons why they should choose you instead of your competitors; if you know these, you'll find it easy to determine which long-tail keywords to prioritize. Ideally, your keywords will help you reach likely conversions.

Find Keywords Your Audience Searches

Potential customers have needs and wants, and you have to identify these when coming up with a keyword strategy. You can take the direct route and ask your audience what questions they have about your product—ask about their pain points and any solutions they wish your product provides.

If you have a sales team or anyone in your company who deals with customers and clients, they can also provide you this data. Otherwise, you can use audience insight tools to uncover questions that people are asking about your company.

Consider User Intent When Selecting Keywords

Suppose you have a list of long-tail keywords you have aligned with your USP and your audience's concerns. The next step is to determine how people are using these keywords. What stage of the buying process are they in, what are they looking for, and how do these keywords lead to conversions? 

The keywords you use should provide the exact information people in the niche want to know. Don't include long-tail keywords just because you think it will be easy to rank for them. A visitor who searches for these keywords will be annoyed if you cannot answer their queries.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords

After finding the keywords you should focus on, you have to learn how to use them correctly. Here are some tips that should help you start a strategy for your long-tail keywords.

  • Incorporate keywords the way you naturally would in a sentence. You don't have to follow the structure you see in your keyword research software—for example if the keyword is "brown rice recipes Indian," don't use the phrase as is in your article. You can adjust your keyword by rearranging the words (Indian brown rice recipes) or including prepositions (brown rice recipes from India).
  • If possible, include the long-tail keywords and their variations in the headers, sub-headers, and titles of the articles you are using to target them. You should also have the keyword in your first paragraph—ideally, in the first sentence.
  • If it is too challenging to accomplish everything in the previous bullet, you don't have to force it. It's always better to observe proper grammar in your copy than to force keywords where they do not fit. Your priority should always be the usefulness and reliability of your articles.
  • Some long-tail keywords are "support" keywords, ones that are part of an umbrella topic. Taken independently, they do not help you rank for SERPs. Look at the results page—if it has generic or broad articles, you probably have a supporting keyword. This type of keyword isn't worth targeting separately; if you want to include it in your strategy, you're better off figuring out which topic clusters it falls under and creating articles for those.
  • If you have a "topical" long-tail keyword, one that appears on SERPs, you can rank for those. Choose 20 to 50 long-tail keywords for your strategy—you can fill up your "quota" by creating variations for keywords. For example, instead of just targeting "knee-high boots," which is highly competitive, you can append modifiers. Use "leather knee-high boots," "knee-high boots [country]," "knee-high boots no heel," and the like.


Keywords are a crucial aspect of search engine optimization. Today more goes into a good strategy than just having the right words on a page. However, it still matters, especially in ensuring audience fit and user intent alignment. Including long-tail keywords in your strategy is crucial; they will help you rank for topics where you face a lot of competition.

Clarify your content strategy when you team up with Ranked. Our SEO platform and service enables agencies and enterprises to build sustainable search strategies—book a call with the team to learn more or activate your free trial today!