What are long tail keywords? – Definition and special features

From the terms and groups of words that the user enters into the search mask of Google and Co., the complex search algorithm compiles the best possible organic result pages that match the search query and displays them.

In a sense, one interacts with the search engines via these keywords. You tell them: a certain topic interests me, I need an answer to this question.

Keywords play a central role in search engine optimization. A distinction is made between generic, compact short-head keywords and concrete long-tail keywords, which consist of several words.

But what exactly are long-tail keywords? The answer to this question and what distinguishes them and why their search volume is lower than that of “normal” keywords will be examined in more detail in this article.

Concrete and specific: These are long-tail keywords

When researching the appropriate keywords, SEOs basically distinguish between the rather unspecific, general short-tail keywords (also called short-head keywords) and the long-tail keywords or complete phrases.

Long-tail keywords are characterized by the following features. They

  • consist of at least three words
  • describe a very specific search intent
  • describe a product, brand or company very specifically

 With each new word that the user adds to his search query, the long-tail keywords and thus the search intention are mapped even more precisely and accurately, i.e. it becomes increasingly clear what the user actually wants and what goal he is pursuing.

So in this case, he has a very precise idea of what he is looking for. When optimizing for these phrases, the website operator adjusts to them and tries to cover the search intention exactly.

Examples of long-tail keywords

Below you can see some examples of long-tail keywords

  • SEO Agency focus Local SEO (Short-Head: SEO Agency)
  • Book Portrait Photographer Frankfurt (Short-Head: Photographer)
  • Ladies boots white size 38 (Short-Head: Ladies shoes)

Keywords are important for onpage optimization

Both in the daily work of an SEO freelancer and an agency (e.g. in consulting), as well as when a website owner performs his onpage optimization himself, the definition of the right keywords is essential. The terms must fit to the own website content, cover it and represent it.

If the website is not focused on the relevant terms (which are also searched for), it will have a hard time to be listed attractively for the matching keywords. Onpage and content optimization for these terms is therefore an enormously important part of all SEO tasks. The remedy is keyword research, i.e. searching for and weighting those terms that users actually enter in Google.

Long-tail keywords: search volume and competitors

Since most users tend to enter short phrases and general terms on Google, long-tail keywords are also less competitive. Their search volume is much lower due to their length and the specific need behind the search. However, this also results in great opportunities and advantages for (on-page) search engine optimization.

Due to the usually lower competition and competitors, it is much easier and usually faster to rank well for long-tail keywords. While for generic short-tail terms it is much more difficult to prevail against the other competing websites and service providers and get into Google’s top ten.

Topic-relevant content optimized for long-tail keywords that is already geared to exact search intentions (and thus user needs) is already sufficient in many cases to generate attractive rankings in a timely manner – especially in niches and thematic specialties.

Appropriate keyword research helps to find the right short- and long-tail keywords. SEO tools, such as KWFinder, Answer The Public or Morningscore, often support this.

Conclusion – What are long-tail keywords?

As you have seen, long-tail keywords have certain characteristics. Nevertheless, they are very important for search engine optimization and should be considered in any keyword research.

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