Long-Tail Keywords: A Guide on How to Find and Use Them

Would you rather have 10,000 unqualified visitors or 100 pre-qualified leads to your company website every month?

If you want qualified leads, then you need to focus on long-tail keywords.

In this guide, we’d strip long-tail keywords bare so you can find out what they really are, how to find them, and how to make them it can work for you.

Let’s begin with a definition.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are precise terms that often demonstrate higher purchase or commercial intent.

They’re less popular keywords with low search volume and are usually easier for you to rank for them.

Note that the keyword’s length is not a good criterion for calling it long-tail.

Consider a keyword like “software.” This keyword is as generic as they come as you can see from the search engine results for this keyword:

Besides being generic, you can be sure the intent behind this keyword search is not commercial or purchase-driven.

There is no way you can tell why a user will search for “software.”

Now, let’s contrast the “software” keyword with “best email marketing software.”

Voila. Look at the search engine results. What do you see?

You’ll notice that the number of results is lower than for “software.”

By using the “best email marketing software” keyword instead of “software,” we can assume to a reasonable degree that the user wants to buy email marketing software.

Examples of Long-tail Keywords

  • How to start a blog
  • Barbershops near me
  • Best leashes for small dogs
  • How to fix the AC in my car
  • Where to buy a truck in [city]
  • Best CRM for small business
  • Best email marketing software
  • Running shoes for women size 10

Here is what you will notice from these examples of long-tail keywords:

  • They are specific.
  • They have a lower search volume.
  • They have a higher click-through rate.
  • They contain more than one word or phrase (Usually 3+).
  • There is a purchase or commercial intent behind the keyword.
  • They have a lower keyword difficulty, meaning you can easily rank for them.

Why should you bother with long-tail keywords?

The answer should be hovering at the back of your head already.

Users who search using long-tail keywords are looking for answers to specific problems. They’re well past the awareness stage in their buyer’s journey.

They’re now actively seeking a solution. A solution that, hopefully, you can provide.

Let’s assume your business provides email marketing solutions. What keyword do you think is best for you to target and rank for?

A: Software

B: Email marketing software

Ranking for Option A would guarantee a ton of traffic to your website. But unless you are making money from ads, you don’t need that kind of traffic.

You need to target Option B and make users who want to choose an email marketing software come to your website.

Imagine the increased number of qualified leads you would generate when you rank for long-tailed keywords.

Long-tail keywords also make up more than 90% of search queries — giving you another reason why you should care about them.

Now that you’re clear on the importance of long-tail keywords, how do you find them?

How to find long-tail keywords

Here are ten ways you can find long-tail keywords for your business.

1. Find your pillar keywords

Your pillar keywords are the phrases that come to mind when somebody mentions your business.

If I say ActiveCampaign, you’ll likely think of email marketing or  Backlinko when I mention SEO.

So what are your pillar keywords?

If you are not yet sure about what your pillar keywords are, ask yourself:

  • How do my customers describe my business?
  • What phrases do I want my business to be associated with?

The answers to these questions will make it easier for you to identify your pillar keywords.

2. Check the bottom page of Google search results

At the bottom of Google’s search results, you will find a header that reads, “Searches related to [whatever keyword you search for].”

Here are the results from the search for “Google keyword planner.”

Google gives you a list of search queries related to the keyword you just searched.

Switch the keyword here for your pillar keyword, and you’ll have a list you can use.

3. Use the Google “People also ask” section

Here is another gem you can find right on Google’s front page. The “people also ask” section curates questions that users ask related to your pillar keywords.

The screenshot below shows what it looks like:

Result for people also ask. original from copy by nathan for Long-tail seo

4. Utilize Google auto-suggestions

It looks like Google is the gift that keeps on giving. Have you ever noticed that Google sometimes auto-completes your search query.

For best results, add prefixes like “best” and “how-to” before typing your keywords.

An example:

Let’s say I am looking for long-tail keywords for the keyword “running shoes.” Here is how Google auto-suggestion can help me.


Pro tip: add letters like “a,” “b,” and “c” for each search to see more results.

5. Use Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is an excellent SEO tool by Neil Patel that helps you quickly find long-tail keywords.

The exciting thing about this tool is that it can find long-tail keywords even though all you have going for you is one keyword.

Let’s find long-tail keywords for “car insurance” using Ubersuggest.

Here are the keyword results:

Click on the “View all keyword ideas” button. Here is what you will see next:

This is still a lot to work with. So here is what I recommend. Click the questions tab to find long-tail keywords.

You will find everything you are looking for here.

Other great long-tail keyword tools include KWfinder and Answer the Public.

6. Check your site analytics

Use the Google Search Console to check your site for keywords that you already rank for.

The Search Console not only shows you the keywords that you are ranking for, but it also shows the keywords users are using on Google to find you. Here is how you can use these pieces of information to your advantage.

Find the pages on your site that are currently ranking from pages 2 to 4. Collect the keywords from these pages and check if they can become long-tail keywords.

7. Find questions on Quora and Reddit

Quora and Reddit are two of the most underrated sites for finding keywords — even long-tail ones.

These sites work like forums, where users ask questions and other users provide them with answers. You would find the terms and keywords users use when looking for information on a topic.

Here is the result from a “best budgeting software” keyword search:

For Reddit:

Boom. Endless long-tail keyword ideas.

8. Ask your customers

You can find long-tail keywords by asking the people you are trying to reach.

The chances are that many of your customers found you on Google before buying your product or using your service. So ask them for the exact search query they used when looking for solutions to their problems that you now solve.

You can go a step further by asking them what piece of content they read before opening their wallets to give you their money.

The answers might surprise you.

Gather a list of the most common answers, and you will have gold on your hands.

How to use your long-tail keywords

You know what long-tail keywords are and why they are essential. You also now know nine ways to find these keywords.

What next? Here’s how to use these keywords for your business.

1. Understand the intent of the search

If your first instinct is to create a blog post after finding a long-tail keyword, you might be plunging yourself into quicksand. Stay with me here, I’ll explain.

I’m not saying blog posts are trivial, but you need to first understand the intent behind a Google search.

When you find a keyword, ask yourself:

Does this user want to buy stuff? Find a place? Or know more about a subject?

Somebody searching for “best barbershop in Austin” is not looking for a blog post, he wants directions. Similarly, a user searching for “best CRM for small business” likely expects a blog post that explains what to look out for in a CRM.

Identifying the intent would help you know what kind of content to create.

2. Create an outstanding content Piece around the Keyword

Get your PC fired up and write the content you will want to read on that topic. Don’t try to game the system by forcing your keyword into every sentence. Google is way smarter than that, plus nobody wants to read a sentence like this:

“We have the best email marketing software for small businesses that want to reach more customers. And since our email marketing software for small businesses is cheap, business owners would find our email marketing software for small businesses to be the best bet.”

Follow the best SEO practices and put the keywords in the right places, like in your title, headings, meta description, URL, and alt texts.

Content pieces are not limited to blog posts. You can also create videos, eBooks, and podcasts.

3. Use new long-tail keywords to improve existing blog content

Sometimes, you don’t have to create entirely new content pieces for long-tail keywords. Since you already have blog posts that rank on your site, you can add these new ones to it.

While doing this, make sure that the post and the new keyword you add to it are related. Adding the keyword “best Instagram captions tools” to a post “ how to write engaging captions on Instagram “ would work.

Final thoughts

Finding long-tail keywords that work are worth the effort. They allow you to rank for keywords that your customers are searching for on Google.

The steps listed in this guide would help you identify them, find them, and know how to use them.