If you’re trying to sell your services or products online, it makes sense to target people who are ready to buy. So, you need to target keywords in that same funnel. It will help grab the people who are ready to make a purchase for your goods or help them move along the buying cycle faster. These are long-tail keywords.

A study showed conversion rates for three major retailers who had more than 7 million visits converted two and half times more with long-tail keywords –three or more word terms, than short-tail keywords –one or two word keywords.

In comparison, short-tail keywords are usually the general word for something. While short-tail keywords look attractive with their massive search volume, you’re not going to be capturing your target audience with these short-tail keywords. You’re also going to be in competition with hundreds of other businesses trying to rank for that term. Rather than spend years trying to rank for the short-tail, your time is better spent focusing on long-tail keywords that are more akin to what people are searching for when they want to buy.

It comes down to AIDA:

  • Attention (Awareness) – attract the attention of the customer
  • Interest – raise customer interest by focusing on demonstrating advantages and benefits
  • Desire – convince customers that they want and desire the product or service and that it will satisfy their needs
  • Action – lead customers toward taking action and/or purchasing

Most people are in the attention phase when they start searching online for a product. This is where they will type out short-tail keywords to get a sense of what might be out there and see if something grabs their attention. Eventually, they will be funneled down as they gather more information on the different kinds of products available for them. This leads them down toward long-tail keywords, and you want to initiate action on their part when they get to those search queries.

Let’s put this into perspective and run through the whole AIDA process.

Purpose: I want to find something that will let me communicate with my family and coworkers with the added benefit of helping me organize my life.

Attention – Search query “Phone”

Interest – Search query “Cellphone” then “Smartphone”

Desire – Search query “Best Android Smartphone”

Action – Search query “Buy Samsung Galaxy S3”

The short-tail keyword builds attention to your product, but as you move through the AIDA cycle. The search terms become more focused and specific to the individual(s). Ultimately, the short-tail gets you noticed, but the long-tail will usually get the conversion. So hug that long-tail people!

Join the conversation

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Long tail keywords help establish your position in your niche. Say for instance you are a bakery in Boston who offers gluten-free baked goods. Going after a long tail keyword such as "gluten-free muffins Boston" will help to funnel more specific traffic to your site than just "gluten-free bakery." Those searching for the long-tail will be more inclined to visit your store as you offer just what they are looking for.