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What are Long Tail Keywords? Why are They Important?

In this post will discuss what long tailed keywords are, why you should use them, and why they target

Puneet Yamparala, Blogger

June 2, 2015

6 Min Read


So, you’ve come across the queer and puzzling cluster of keywords labeled “long tailed keywords”. What are they?

In a phrase, they are the treasure trove of traffic and app visibility in the search engine world, mobile and otherwise. Understand them and get them right, and you’re most likely to snipe your audience for downloads.

This post will discuss what long tailed keywords are, why you should use them, and why they target

The Tail of Keywords —What Are Long Tailed Keywords?

Search engines have become intelligent, and people know it. Hence, you’ll find people “talking” to search engines with their search queries. The key phrases (phrases made of three to four keywords) that your target audience is using to search products and apps are known as long tail keywords.

These are almost always highly specific, and they communicate the customer’s transactional intent.

Certain three to four word search phrases specific to the app you are trying to market always exist. Being highly specific search phrases, they are used by customers when they know what they definitely want to buy, or download.

These highly specific search phrases are your long tail keywords.

How the Long Tail Wraps “Late Buyers” — A Lesson In Marketing

Think of long tailed keywords like a dragon (the real one that goes on and on). With that imagery in mind, let’s see what the “late buyers” are and how these long tailed keywords help in wrapping them into your marketing funnel.

In virtually every case, specific long tailed searches are far more likely to convert to download than generic searches. These generic searches are called research key phrases, geared more towards gaining awareness of the products and services (apps, in our case).

Let’s illustrate this “wrapping” by looking at the typical marketing funnel that the customer normally follows before downloading an app. The target customer:

  1. Becomes aware of the app

  2. Seeks further information about the app (using research key phrases)

  3. Reviews and qualifies alternatives to the app (evaluating pricing, features, etc.)

  4. Makes their purchase/download decision

  5. Completes  the transaction/download

  6. Interacts with the app and decides if it’s worth keeping or deleting

Continues using the app

Now, as the consumer moves down the steps, they start using very specific keywords to phrase their searches. Keeping in mind that the customer is still searching, Where would you want to target the customer the most?

Most probably the customers hovering around step 4.

These are the late buyers — customers who are sure of what they want, and not simply searching randomly through the net.

Customer that reach step four, start using detailed, long tailed, keywords to search for products and apps.

Your task is to find these long tail keywords.

The Advantage — Rank Well with Tailed Keywords!

When it comes to competition, highly specific multi-worded phrases (long tails) are easier to rank than single and double keywords and phrases.

Awesome right?

Take the example of an app that’s targeting mountain climbers and travelers, and where thedeveloper wants to target potential audience organically and with paid advertisements. Now the most generic keyword for this will be “travel”.

If the developer went for this, his/her direct competitors would range from Travelocity.com to CNN.com and Yahoo.com. You can’t knock them out, or their content from the search engine results page (SERP) without investing a mountain of money.

Single words are not targeted, and by intuition you know that people will not be using it in singular. Then again, even mountain travel, mountain climbing, and similar two worded phrases will pit the developer against other heavy hitters (e.g. USDA forest service).

Now if you were to understand the long tailed keywords that are specific to what you’re selling, you can start ranking, generating qualified traffic, and initiating downloads quickly. Example:

  • XYZ mountain climbing tours

  • beginner mountain tours in XYZ

  • Guided mountain tours in XYZ

  • family climbing tours in XYZ

So how do you find these long tailed keywords?

Research your competition and keywords to determine which offer enough traffic to make them worth the effort. SensorTower and WordTracker are two great tools for doing just that.

This blog post is based in the advice given by successful app entrepreneurs in the AppEntrepreneurs and Marketers Group. Stay tuned for more informative and insightful posts from us!

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