HW Creative Marketing Blog

Unlocking Keywords: Mastering Long-Tail Keywords

[fa icon="calendar'] July 29, 2015 / by Richie Knight



Have you ever Googled yourself? If you have, and you have a moderately common name, Google probably returned around 22 million results, and your Facebook page might have shown up on the 20th page.

But try including a unique characteristic about you -- and only you -- and you're more likely to appear on the first page of results.


Using the right keywords in the right place has become a science. Today, almost every business has an online presence, so when people search for “used cars,” your small dealership is likely pushed down by your much larger competitors.

Keywords like "used cars" are referred to as broad or short-tail keywords. They're used by searchers frequently, but they're not dependable for getting a desirable results ranking, because the volume of competition is so high.

used cars search on google

It's a tough world for a short-tail keyword. But when you turn "used cars" into a more specific search term, you land in a much more shallow pool of results, giving your business the chance to appear on the first page.

This is why using long-tail keywords, a 3-5 word phrase that searchers will use to identify more specific requests, are the key to keywords.

To truly get out of the short-tail keyword mentality, start thinking of keywords as "key phrases" instead. They're three to five word elevator pitches that tell the internet what sets your business apart from the crowd. Rather than “used cars,” a user might search for “Used Honda Dealership Atlanta GA.”  

Your business is unique, so why would you want keywords that make it look like all the others?

google search results

Still need more convincing of the benefits of long-tail?

Here's food for thought: If you use Google Adwords, you are paying for every time someone clicks on your ad. It's smart to target a user who is looking for used Hondas in their city, rather than someone looking for a Ford dealership in another state. When you use long-tail keywords, you cut down on wastseful clicks and save money.

There's a science to striking the balance between targeted long-tail keywords and general short-tail keywords. If you want an more information on nailing down your keywords and taking a look at the future of search, check out out Pillar Page for more information.


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Topics: SEO, Inbound Marketing

Richie Knight

Written by Richie Knight

Richie is a Senior Partner and the go-to guy at HW. He spends most of his day helping our clients reach their marketing goals. He's also very active in the Athens community and never turns down the opportunity to teach.