David Gutierrez
May 23, 2018

E-commerce Smarts: Driving Long-Tail SEO

Long-tail keywords for e-commerce

In the competitive world of e-commerce and online marketing, every brand wants to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. But what about getting in front of the right eyeballs? You know, the ones that will actually convert.

While any e-commerce SEO strategy should include plenty of keywords with large search volumes, it’s often the more specific, less-searched-for keywords that end up driving conversions. I’m talking about long-tail keywords.

Let’s learn more about what long-tail keywords are and why they’re a big part of any eCommerce company’s organic marketing campaign.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords generally contain at least three or four terms. They are therefore more specific in nature than their high-volume counterparts. It might take years of dedicated effort to rank well for high-volume keywords. But you can grab search real estate for strategic long-tail keywords in just a few months. Maybe even less, depending on the depth or lack of competition.

And here’s the interesting thing. Even though long-tail keywords carry much lower search volumes, they make up around 70 percent of all search queries. You probably already know the vast majority of long-tail queries that relate to your offering. But maybe you haven’t spent time targeting them because the more significant keywords seemed like dollar signs.

Make a list of all of the relevant long-tail keywords you can think of. Be as specific as possible. Then plug them into a free long-tail keyword tool like Keyword.io for further suggestions. Additionally, free e-commerce websites like Shopify offer long-tail keyword plugins to help you track your efforts.

User Intent

So now that we know that there’s value in targeting long-tail keywords and ranking for them will be much easier than ranking for highly searched keywords. So let’s address why long-tail keywords usually have much better conversion rates.

Basically, it all boils down to something called user intent.

Ranking well for widely searched keywords will increase site traffic and brand awareness. However, broader queries also mean broader user intent. It brings a lot of top-of-the-funnel or unqualified traffic since it’s impossible to know what the searcher is really looking for.

A long-tail keyword, on the other hand, has already reached a certain level of specificity in a searcher’s mind. They have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for.

 Here’s an example:

  • User A is looking for a new pair of pants, so they search for “men’s pants.”
  • User B is also looking for a new pair of pants, but they have a better idea of what they want, so they search for “olive green chinos.”

According to Keyword Planner, “Men’s pants” is searched around 3,600 times a month while the grammatically aesthetic “men’s pants” is searched 22,000 times each month. Even if you’ve managed to rank for this ultra-competitive keyword (which would be an impressive feat on its own), there’s a good chance that when user A visits your site, you won’t carry a style of men’s pants that they want. And that’s OK. We can’t be everything to everyone.

However, you’ve just whiffed on the sale.

Conversely, we can tell User B has a more concrete idea of what they want by the specificity of their search terms. This means that if user B lands on your site, you sell olive green chinos and have a decent chance to earn the conversion.

Of course, this assumes you’re doing everything else right, such as:

  • Displaying detailed product info
  • Showing high-resolution photos of models wearing the chinos from different angles
  • Offering a simple interface

“Olive green chinos” is only searched 380 times a month. But is undoubtedly much easier to rank for than “men’s pants.” So you make the call. Would you rather spend years trying to rank for “men’s pants” or a few strategic months earning a top five spot for “olive green chinos”?

Getting Ahead of Your Competition with Voice Search Optimization

Long-tail has been a vital organic SEO strategy for years. It’s now becoming even more crucial with the widespread adoption of voice search through mobile and smart home assistants. People are increasingly turning to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and Google Home to answer both pressing and spontaneous curiosities.

According to ComScore, by 2022, half of all searches will be voice searches. Since it’s atypical for humans to ask a question or describe something through minimal speech, it’s safe to say most voice searches will be long-tail keywords. For e-commerce companies, this presents an exciting opportunity to get ahead of the competition by optimizing for voice search.

Something to Ponder: Most voice searches will be long-tail keywordsClick To Tweet

But it won’t be easy! Ranking for long-tail keywords requires a lot of content creation and proper optimization. Long-tail terms are unique, so it’s hard to have a one-page rank for multiple long-tail queries. So put on your thinking cap, create a list of long-tail queries and analyze the user intent behind each query.

What is the motive of the searcher? Informational, transactional? When you’ve assembled a list and have a good idea of each term’s user intent, start outlining a plan to create the various content that’ll have you ranking well, and hopefully, driving more conversions.

And Comments?

Interesting, huh? Long-tail search is important now, but as voice search becomes more common, it will become essential! Do you see any other changes on the horizon for search? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below.


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David Gutierrez

David Gutierrez started his career as a web designer in 2005. In 2012 he founded a creative design agency. Now it serves clients all over the world across multiple industries with a specific focus on FMCG and Fin-Tech.