How to Choose Long Tail Keywords For Explosive Search Traffic

By | August 28, 2019

Are you struggling to get traffic from Google? Maybe it’s because all of those juicy keywords
are dominated by mega publications and authorities in your niche. Well, I’ve got two and a half words for you
that’s going to help you solve this problem. Long-tail keywords. And in this video, I’m going to show you how
to find, choose, and rank for long tail keywords to get a crazy amount of search traffic. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs, Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the
SEO tool that helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors, and dominate your
niche. Now, today, we’re going to dig deep into the
growing your search traffic part with long tail keywords, and the byproduct will be dominating
your niche. Now, I’m excited and I hope you are too, so
let’s get to it. So what are long tail keywords? Long tail keywords are search queries with
low individual search volume but can have an enormous total search demand as a group. The name comes from the “long tail” of the
so-called “search demand curve,” which is a graph, that plots all keywords by their
search volumes. For example, if you look at the topic of cute
cats and a few long tail variations in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, the first keyword would
be at the head of the curve because of its popularity, the cutest cat in the world would
be a long tail keyword somewhere further down, and the other two phrases would be at the
end of the tail since they’re unpopular ways to search for the topic, but there are numerous
variations that would likely add up to a massive cumulative search volume. So long tail keywords are defined by search
volume and not because the actual keywords are long or have X number of words in them. But naturally, in most cases, long-tail keywords
are going to be lengthier since more words often communicate a more specific query, right? But let me quickly bust a myth on keyword
length vs. search volume because longer words don’t always mean lower search volume. If you look at these 3 keyword phrases in
Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, you’ll see that the 4 and 5-word phrases have significantly
more search volume than the two-word phrase, “lose weight.” And I’m not just picking a topic that I know
fits the bill. In fact, we studied 1.4 billion keywords and
found that 9.3% of keywords with over one million monthly searches have 3 or more words. And if you look to the other side of the graph,
you’ll see that there are still a good number of unpopular one-word keywords that have less
than 50 searches per month as indicated in purple. So Ha! Myth busted. Now every single topic has a search demand
curve and they fall into two distinct buckets. So topics that fall into bucket #1 are usually
broad and have a very long tail with a ton of relevant phrases. Looking at the top 10 ranking pages in Keywords
Explorer for the query, “hairstyles,” you’ll see that most of these pages rank for thousands
or tens of thousands of different relevant keywords. And bucket #2 are usually topics that are
much more focused and will have much fewer long-tail keywords. So for example, if you look at the SERP for,
“squeeze page”, you’ll see that the number of keyword rankings is significantly less
because the topic is so focused. Now, these two types of long tail keywords
are clearly quite different and it’s important that you treat them differently too. So let’s explore these buckets and I’ll show
you how to choose and find long tail keyword phrases for each one. Bucket #1 is called “the long tail of broad
topics”. And these tend to have a few high volume search
terms and a ton of long-tail variations. So the search query, “how to lose weight,” is
the perfect example. If you look at keyword rankings for Healthline’s
weight loss article, you’ll see that they have around 9500 keyword rankings in the US
that rank in a top 10 position in Google. People are essentially looking for the same
thing, but they’re typing in all sorts of different variations with the same or similar search
intent. So the head term here is clearly, “weight
loss,” which has 109,000 searches per month, meaning that any queries with let’s say, 500
searches per month are 100% long-tails right? So let’s filter for these keywords that still
rank in the top 10 and you’ll see that there are still over 9100 keywords. These are the long tail keywords for the topic
on weight loss and they account for 96% of this page’s keyword rankings. But this is much more than just another “fun
fact.” There are two very actionable tips to take
away from this: Number one, by ranking high for this “head
term,” you’ll almost always rank for the thousands of other long tail searches. So when you pick your topics, always look
to the ones that have the largest total search traffic potential. And number two is equally important. If Google “merges” a long tail keyword into
a bigger topic, then there’s no point in targeting it, right? Think about it: we already know that Google will rank one
broad article for thousands of search queries. So by trying to publish dedicated articles
that target a single long-tail keyword within the broad topic, you’ll achieve nothing but
wasted time. Here’s some proof. This article from Healthline generates around
490 thousand search visitors globally, each month. And they rank for a ton of keywords. But here’s the thing: not all topics with a ton of long tail keywords
have super high search volumes. For example, if you look at these search volume
metrics, then you’ll see that SEO tips has more than double the search volume of “submit
your website to search engines.” So at first glance, it seems like a better
topic to target, right? Not necessarily. If we look at the SERP for SEO tips, then
you’ll see that the top ranking pages get significantly less traffic than the search
volume for the main keyword, and they don’t rank for that many different keywords either. Now let’s look at the SERP for the query,
“submit website to search engines.” You’ll see quite the opposite effect. The traffic numbers are more than triple the
search volume of the top keyword, and most of these pages rank for thousands of keywords. So again, always analyze the SERP to see the
total traffic these pages generate and look at the number of keywords these pages rank
for. An easy way to find these long-tail topics
is to look up a popular website in Site Explorer. So I’ll search for Next, I’ll go to the top pages report, which
will show us their pages that get the most search traffic. And since we’re talking about topics with
tons of long-tail keywords, let’s sort the results in descending order by the number
of keywords each page ranks for. In order to identify these long tail topic
opportunities, you want to look at these columns: traffic, keywords, top keyword, its volume,
and position. So let’s analyze their top pages, and set
a checklist to identify the most obvious long tail topic opportunities. First, the page must rank in the top 5 for
their top keyword. Next, they should rank for lots of keywords
and get a good amount of search traffic. So far so good. The final point is that the page should get
significantly more traffic than you’d expect based on their ranking position compared to
the search volume of their top keyword. And in Healthline’s case, that only excludes
a couple of these pages. So now we have a ton of long tail topics that
we could create for our own website if we were in the health niche. And I actually have to point out this one
with the top keyword bumps on skin that has a search volume of 8,400, but the page gets
over one hundred thousands search visitors each month. That’s bananas! Now, it’s important to note that you should
also look at the number of referring domains that the page has. And this should be a good indication of how
many links you’ll need in order to get similar rankings and be competitive in search. Now, why should you care as an SEO? Because by picking topics with more long tail
keywords, you’ll generate a lot more organic traffic than the search volume of just the
“main keyword” since you’ll be ranking for so many other long-tail variations. These long tail topics are ideal for established
websites that can or have a history of ranking for head terms. And by ranking for your head term, there’s an element of predictability to know that your pages will rank for tons of other long
tail variations with relative ease. Alright, so we’ve covered the long tail of
broad topics, but there’s a completely different type of long-tail keyword, which has its own
bucket. And that’s topical long tail keywords. These keywords represent individual topics
of their own rather than being part of a bigger topic. So for example, if we look up “keyword cannibalization”
in Keywords Explorer, you’ll see that this query has a monthly search volume of 150 in
the United States. Scrolling down to the top 10 SERP, you’ll
see that the top ranking pages get significantly less traffic than the suggested search volume
and none of the pages rank for a particularly large number of keywords. The topic of keyword cannibalization doesn’t
fit into a larger topic. It’s a topic in itself and the long tail keywords
within it happen to be much smaller than broader topics like “weight loss.” So why should you care about these long tail
keywords? The obvious answer is that since search volumes
are much lower than the “fat head” keywords, the competition is usually going to be much
weaker. So you’ll have a better chance at ranking for
them and you’ll likely see results much faster than going after competitive terms like, “how
to lose weight.” The not-so-obvious reason is that you can
still generate tons of perfectly relevant traffic if you rank for 20 to 50 long tail
topics. For example, if you look at the SERP overview
for the keyword, “how to help my husband lose weight,” which is a good example of our so-called
“topical long tail keyword,” you’ll see that the top keyword has a search volume of 60,
and the page gets 76 search visitors per month. And to put the cherry on the top, the top
ranking page has 0 referring domains pointing at it, so it’s likely a low competition keyword. Now if you were to create 20 pages around
different long-tail topics that individually generate 70 search visitors per month, then
you’re looking at 1,400 monthly search visitors. That my friend is cumulative value. So how can you find a whole bunch of these
topics with ease? I have three super simple strategies for you. The first one is to look for modifier keywords
within a larger topic. So if we look at the phrase match report for
the keyword, “black shoes,” then you can use the “include” feature and type in a modifier
keyword like, “with.” And you can see right away that there are
almost 2,800 awesome keywords and by looking at the keyword difficulty scores, they all
seem like pretty easy topics to rank for. If we look at the SERP overview for the keyword,
“black shoes with navy suit,” which has 600 searches per month, you’ll see that all of
the ranking pages get a decent amount of traffic, and almost all of the pages have little to
no backlinks. Clicking through to this page, you’ll see
that the content is rather thin with a few images so you won’t need to worry about creating
monstrous guides to outrank them. You can then click on the number of keywords,
and investigate further for long tail variations and subtopics within the Organic Keywords
Report. These would be much easier to rank for than
a fat head term like “shoes.” The next strategy is to append locations to
your product or service keywords. For example, if we look at the phrase match
report for “rent a truck in”, you’ll see hundreds of results that are all very low competition. Now, this might seem underwhelming since the search
volume is really low, but take roughly 300 keywords multiplied by 10, and you have 3,000
searches per month now. In this example, I would guess they hold commercial
value too. Keep in mind, that even though Ahrefs’ keyword
database is absolutely monstrous, it doesn’t contain all possible search queries
that people might search for. So there’s a lot of low hanging traffic here
up for grabs. The third strategy is to look at questions
on a topic. And the best part about this is that you can
actually do it in very competitive niches. So let’s type in “weight loss” in Keywords
Explorer. Next, go to the questions report. Since it’s a very competitive niche as you
can see from the keyword difficulty score, let’s set the max KD to something low like 5. And I bet you would have never thought about
targeting these long tail keyword topics on your own. With these questions, you can create your
own FAQ section on your website and start getting a ton of long tail traffic from these
phrases. These so-called ‘topical long tail keywords,’
are great for new websites or those that haven’t quite built an authoritative backlink profile yet. You should be able to get traction quicker
than targeting the long tail of broad topics since you’ll essentially be going for low-competition keywords. And as your site builds a solid backlink profile,
you can start branching off to the broader topics. So I want you to take this key point away
from this tutorial. 96.54% of all search queries in the US have
less than 50 searches per month. So by neglecting these long tail keyword phrases,
you’re missing out on the majority of searches that happen every day. But now you have a perfect understanding of
the two types of long tail keywords, those that belong to a broader topic and those that
form a topic of their own. So keep grinding away, use these tactics and strategies to get ahead of other SEOs, and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.

49 thoughts on “How to Choose Long Tail Keywords For Explosive Search Traffic

  1. Joel Oquendo Post author

    Wow…I don't think people understand the value of these topical keywords in starting a blog from scratch. Amazing!

  2. Jabir Mohamed Post author

    Is that thumbnail a subtle shout-out to Naruto, or what? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. mantu biswas Post author

    Thanks for this awesome video.
    Actually I was searching a keyword in keyword explorer. And the keyword has zero competition, and in other hand same keyword has max difficult in semrush, how?

  4. AH360 Post author

    So Im in automotive, and I see a ton of articles by strong domains like an Autotrader that are ranking for topics with really weak content. Im talking 3 paragraphs with one h1 tag and maybe a picture. Is it possible to rank in here based on how weak the content is? Or is all that matters the strength of my domain?

  5. Hitesh Lambat Post author

    What great content there Sam, highly appreciated. thank you so much for the video, cleared a lot of issues I had for Longtail keywords.

  6. Aan Darmatirta Post author

    awesome Sam,
    i think you need to embed this strategy to David McSweeney's post at
    or, standalone post would be great too.

  7. Arthur Post author

    Holy crap Sam! I had to rewind this about 20 times to understand what you were saying… Not because you were confusing, but because these concepts just blew my mind!! Your ideas about the long tail made so much sense, especially since you added the data to support it. Thank you so much for giving me a different way to look at keyword research. Do you have a thorough tutorial / template on how to do comprehensive keyword research? Some of my favorite semi-automated excel templates have come from Robbie Richards, 97th floor and Big Leap. I'm also looking for a solid way in the research phase to silo my keywords so I can better determine site architecture.

  8. Lorena Kononenko Post author

    Great article! We have been using long tail keywords but never really paid much attention to the potential total traffic. Great tips! Thanks

  9. Ismail Kina Post author

    great video , facts= SAMOH Turns his face to left up to 100 times ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  10. Nilesh Kadivar Post author

    Hi! I have one suggestion:

    When we search the keyword in ahrefs " keyword explored" then it shows the keyword density and suggest the number of referring domain required to rank in 1st page.

    Here is a trick, people always confuse when they see the top 10 results in a bottom, they can see that somebody have less number of referring domain and some have hundreds of RF in top 10 result.

    You should suggest that or formulate something like which shows the number of the domain required to form high DA, mid DA or lower DA scoring site. You can add many attributes as well (DA of customers site etc)


    You should give a calculator where a customer can enter the number of RD and DA score user is getting from, Calculator can show the Rankscore in a result which determines that customer need the RF from more high DA. If they get RF from more DA site then their Rankscore will increase. Here, top 10 results would have the rankscore, highest won will be rank first. Ultimately, client can know the perfect score to rank.

  11. Desislava Angelova Post author

    Why do we need to look at only the number of backlinks but not the DR? I dont think we can compete for a position on a query where mostly high DR websites are positioned on the first page even though they have zero to little backlinks.

  12. Muhammad Umer Farooq Post author

    Always Great ๐Ÿ™‚ one question Sam, if I write 4000 to 5000 words blog post on best gaming mouse should I target only one keyword for that post like "best gaming mouse" or should i target for 3 to 5 keywords like "best gaming mouse" "best mouse for gaming" "best budget gaming mouse" "cheap gaming mouse" like that kindly tell please i am very confuse about it

  13. pestcontrolstrategies Post author

    Excellent video, i am still digesting all the information after seen video more than 5 times. Question: why you multiply by 20 or by 10 pages….can you just use all the long tale key words in just one page and call it good? I am looking long for my first blog article and i do not understand why i need 20 pages. I hope you can replay . Thanks

  14. Alex Herrera Post author

    Great video. Once you have the key words ready, and i want to create and FAQ as you suggested. What is best strategy, create a blog per every keyword or use more than one key word in just one blog? Thanks

  15. Alex Herrera Post author

    Question about key words: I am using key word "bed bugs" , i have a total of 143, 928 results with a maximum KD of 71. But when i limit my keyword difficulty (KD) to 100 I obtain $ 21, 850, how is this possible….. ? i was expecting to have same search results count if i limit or not if i use 100 with is the maximum score. I have just realized buy these results that not all the keywords have a KD assigned. In my specific example if about 85% ( 1-(21k/143k)=1-0.14=0.85% ) without KD. How can i follow your tips if the majority of keywords do not have KD. I can not just filter for <5 KD and be sure that i get the majority of them. Can you share your thoughts? Thanks

  16. Jabal Shah Post author

    Great video but doesn't all this come to nothing without backlinks?

  17. Jwardmuscle Post author

    Message from the video:

    How to lose weight…..cannibalization!

  18. Anthony Halkias Prod. Post author

    awesome tips man!! Hope it helps my videos rank better

  19. Ziggy Knows Disney Post author

    Hi Sam, killing it as usual with this video, thanks for the great info!! Just one question: How do you tell when doing Keyword Research if itโ€™s the long tail keyword of a broader topic or topical long tail keywords. From what I understood in the video a high ranking page for a broader topic keyword will rank high for hundreds or even thousands of long tail key words, but why can't I write individual blog posts about some of those long tail keywords? Won't I rank for any of them if my article is more specific to the long tail keyword rather than my competitor who has a more broad page? I find it difficult deciding what and how many article/s to write about specific keywords I want to rank for. I've read all the blog posts on Keyword research on the Ahrefs blog and watched all the videos and still not very sure about this… Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. JayQwery Post author

    LOL, I love your senses of humor with the fox tail! Thanks for the video on SEO working I am optimizing a youtube video upload rn.

  21. Viral Videos Post author

    I am seeing 1 dislike don't know who do this ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

  22. Dykoy deck Post author

    the only problem with all those tutorial. you not real only using href or other platforms that are payable, it seems like you rank a site without pay tools. which is false. anywhere those things just clear your mind but nothing that you saying is really helpful..

  23. Real Thinker Post author

    Very nice Information sir,
    It will help me as I am a sm Youtuber

  24. Anupam Sethi Post author

    My question
    A blogpost of ranks at #1 for head and 100 other related long tail keywords.
    We choose 1 long tail keyword out of those 100 and publish article on

    How will be successful at ranking 1-10 SERPs whereas also ranking on the same long tail keyword #1.

  25. Edouard Soutzo Post author

    How about long tail keyword between 0-500 but that have a high KD?

  26. Joseb Pipia Post author

    Hello, it's an amazing and useful triks, thank you for it.

    Can you tell me how to choose user friendly Url for long tail keywords?

    i mean,there can be more then 1k similar meaning keywords we can rank for. but how can we choose URL for the topic with lot of relevant keywords?

    should we use parent topic in url? or there is any better method?

  27. Rahim Agayev Post author

    It took me one hour to watch and digest the information. Concluded this: you can either do long tail keyword research starting from a specific keyword or from a competitor site. Also, you can do it with Questions report or using modifiers. And in all cases you should filter down results that have huge amounts of traffic VS search volume, position in top 5 on serp. In addition that one page you choose should also rank for the other different keywords. Plus, you should pay attention to RD and KD if you are just starting your SEO and have low domain authority. Am I right?

  28. shweta kumari Post author

    Thanks alot…this is really the best keyword research for the beginners ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Shopketeers Now Post author

    Hey guys, i am planning to do a T-shirt online business next year and doing some research and stumbled on ahrefs. I think i will invest money here first than doing my online website. Thanks Sam for sharing your ideas on this video.


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