One of the hardest things about being a new blogger is no one knows you exist. Sure, you can tell your friends and family, and they can spread the word. But while that might be a good start, it’s not a long-term plan for success.
By now, you’ve probably learned that traffic from Google and other search engines, also called “organic traffic,” can be a great way to earn exposure for your blog. But how is a small, newer blog like yours supposed to compete with the giants of the internet?
The answer is by targeting long-tail keywords.
In this post, we’ll explore what they are, why they’re so powerful, and how you can take advantage of them.
What you will learn today is extremely important but if you’re in a rush at the moment, don’t sweat it! You can always pin this post for later.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Put simply, long-tail keywords are more specific, less popular searches that big websites are less likely to compete for.
Here’s an example, based on data from my favorite SEO tool Ahrefs:
The keyword phrase “how to lose weight” gets an estimated 125,000 searches per month. That’s huge. But dozens of enormous websites are competing for that real estate. In fact, this search has a “super hard” competition rating of 85 out of 100.
You might think that means there’s no point in writing about weight loss as a new blogger — at least not if your goal is organic traffic.
But you would thankfully be wrong. Because there are lots of long-tail keyword options that still bring in respectable traffic with much less competition.
Here are a few of them:
|Keyword||Searches Per Month||Competition Score (0 – 100)|
|How to lose weight||356,000||85|
|how to lose weight fast without exercise||33,000||39|
|how to lose weight in thighs||11,000||26|
|how to exercise with bad knees to lose weight||2,100||9|
|how much sodium per day to lose weight||1,600||7|
Notice how the longer, more specific searches tend to be much less competitive — yet they still bring in enough searches to serve as a meaningful stepping stone toward growing your blog.
Plus, one article can rank for multiple keywords. For example, these three keyword phrases could easily be targeted by the same article:
“how to lose weight without working out” (4,700 searches per month)
“how to lose weight without exercising” (19,000 searches per month)
“how to lose weight fast without exercise” (30,000 searches per month)
So, now that we’ve covered the general idea, let’s talk about where you can find long-tail keyword ideas for yourself.
Where to Locate Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities
I mentioned earlier that I’m a big fan of Ahrefs, a popular SEO tool, for keyword research. But it is a premium platform — and priced accordingly. For new bloggers, that’s not always a practical solution.
The good news is Ahrefs also offers a free tool called Free Keyword Generator, which allows you to type in potential keywords and see some basic statistics for a number of similar alternatives.
With this handy tool at your disposal, you’ll be well on your way to finding exciting long-tail keyword opportunities. But before we wrap up, let’s take a quick look at a few categories of long-tail keywords you might want to explore.
As we’ve already seen above with the weight loss examples, “how to” posts are a great place to look for long-tail keywords because you can almost always get a bit more specific and targeted.
Here are three more categories of articles you might consider.
1. “Best This for That” Posts
“Best of” articles are popular among readers because they can be very timesaving. And bloggers love them because they often lead to affiliate revenue opportunities. But what can you do if the “best of” keywords you find are too competitive? Answer: Look for a long-tail alternative.
For example, let’s say you want to write an article about the “best podcasts.” That keyword gets 46,000 searches per month, and it has a competition score of 53 — that makes it a very challenging topic for new sites.
But “best podcasts for writers” has a competition score of only 13. And no, it doesn’t get 46,000 searches per month, but it does get 500 just for that one exact term, which could make this long-tail keyword a real and meaningful opportunity for a new blog.
2. “Cheapest” Posts
Along the same lines of the previous point, since so many people are competing for “best of” real estate, another pivot you can make is writing “cheapest” articles.
For example, let’s say you write about food or food delivery. “Best food delivery services” gets 1,700 searches per month, and has a massive competition score of 77. But “cheapest food delivery service” has a competition score of 38 — and it actually gets more searches per month!
2. “Worth It” Posts
When shoppers are considering a new product, they’ll often search for an online review in order to get a second opinion. But since review keywords are great affiliate opportunities for bloggers, they can get pretty competitive. Not to worry. You can often get around that with a little long-tail creativity.
For example, “Blue Apron reviews” gets 3,500 searches per month, with a competition score of 34. Meanwhile, “is Blue Apron worth it” has a competition score of only 24 — a full 10 points lower. And while it only gets 450 searches per month, for such a focused, purchase-oriented keyword, 450 people can be worth a lot.
You now have a game plan for growing your blog’s organic traffic, which is very exciting!
There’s a lot more to SEO than what I’ve been able to cover in this short article, but I hope you now understand the unique power of long-tail keywords, especially for new bloggers. They’re a great way to get in front of new readers and begin to grow your digital empire. Good luck!
This is a guest post by Kyle Young.
Kyle Young is a Marketing Strategist for Ultimate Bundles. His writing has also appeared in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, CNBC, Psychology Today, Forbes, and Business Insider. You can find him on Twitter here.