What is a Long Tailed Keyword? 3 Ways to Find And Leverage Them.

If you don’t already know, keywords are an important part of traffic generation for your site, but every one of them has it’s own measurement of “competition” and the lesser there is, generally the better it is for you. Hence, that brings us to the topic of the long tailed terms. 

So what is a long tailed keyword (LTK)?

It is a regular keyword term with added words before or after it (and even in between as I’ll explain below). The more words there are, the longer the “tail” for the whole thing. Make sense? Here, I’ll show you:

Here is an example of very basic keywords:

  • Become wealthy. 
  • Fat burning foods. 

These are terms which while easy to identify the context of, aren’t really definitive. Now if I were to add extra words to each of them, suddenly, the context and whole term would become more long tail. Here’s how:

  • How to become wealthy in real estate. 
  • 10 fat burning foods you can find at any store.

Now we have “add ons” to the original terms that suddenly make them bigger and more definitive and that is basically a way of describing LTK’s in a nutshell. 

While there is no limit or specific rules on how many words you can use, generally, there are 2 common things:

1) There’s at least more than 2 words present.

2) There’s a definitive understanding of the term and it’s searched by people. 

3) It shouldn’t be too long either because at that point it can become counterproductive as I’ll explain in the 2nd method of finding LTKs (Spoiler: There’s no traffic for SUPER long terms).

Why are long tailed terms so important?

1) They generally have less competing sites on Google and other search engines (that means you can rank high).

2) You can get more organic traffic from targeting them (free traffic, literally).

3) If you can rank high for a LTK and get traffic from it, you can also get ranked for shorter versions of it (without the tail) and those can actually lead to greater numbers (read up on LSI for more information).

In short, by properly looking up the right LTK’s, your site can get greater (and free) traffic numbers from and in turn greater business and profits, hence why I used the word “leverage” in the title. 

3 ways to go about finding LTK’s:

1) Start with niche related terms, always.

Any site you have, unless it’s absolutely gigantic like Amazon has to be niche oriented. Niche oriented sites have more specified audiences that seek something specific.

Take the original example of the term “become wealthy”. We know the context is wealth, but there’s so many branches of that, it could go anywhere and thus, that term is not niche specific (or long tailed). 

Now when we added the phrase “real estate”, I’m sure a lot of you went “oh”, because now we identified by what means we want to become wealthy.

I am saying this because if you have a site on becoming wealthy, it will not do as well as a site that teaches people to become wealthy through real estate and the latter if the niche topic.

And when we choose that, every term related to it (real estate) will be clearly defined and chase a much more defined audience.

2) The “longer” the LTK, the less the competition. 

This is an absolute rule and if you know how to look up competition for keywords, you will always see this. And if you don’t know how, here’s your guide

Now using that guide, let’s example the first term we used: Become wealthy. 

It has a competition of 450 (far above any number that is acceptable to have “little competition”) so you can probably forget about ranking on the first page for that. 

And if we use the LTK of it, we have a different number: 31. Vs 450, that’s a TON less and that number is FAR more acceptable to have chances of ranking on the first page. 

Now this is a rule that generally has 2 sides: 

On one hand, it is true the bigger the term (LTK), the better it’ll be for you. 

On the other hand, not every term that is longer has traffic, which is the other metric we seek to have besides competition. 

In the example of “become wealthy”, 450 was the competition number, but it is also a term that gets 500+ searches monthly.

The LTK of it, with the real estate term had 31 competition, but it also had 72 searches monthly.

Now this is actually good, despite the term we seek (the niche related one) having less searches, it is far more defined and will have more conversions. 

However, there may come a time when the LTK you find may have small competition, but also small traffic numbers. If this is the case, try to ideally find a term that has over 20 searches monthly. With LSI, it’ll probably be far more, but look at that metric if you stumble upon that problem…

How do you find how many people search for the term?

That’s what told me that one term got 72 searches and the other was over 500.

3) Product keywords will always be one of the BEST ways to find LTK’s. 

Think about this, most products you will find in ANY subject, will generally have a title to them that is pretty big and that in of itself is an LTK. 

That is why for me personally, whenever I do keyword research for my site, most of the things I find with the highest search traffic and lowest competition are in fact…products. 

In fact, if you want to test this, I recommend you read up on my Amazon example of where I found some great products, all of which were LTK’s that I ranked for and profited of.

My final thoughts and an addition strategy suggestion:

Provided that you really adhere to these 3 methods, you’re almost certainly bound to get your site a lot of traffic over a short period, possibly within months. Also, one other keyword article I recommend to you is this one

However, there was one missing strategy I didn’t mention on purpose and that is the framing of the LTK’s you find. By that I mean the following:

Let’s say you found an LTK that has all the metrics you want to write a blog post on in hopes of ranking. And if you know the general rule of ranking LTK’s, it’s this: 

Great, but the problem you may OFTEN find is this:

The term itself is BORING. And titles are a big part of ranking higher and getting traffic too (think Clickbait).

What can you do then? My suggestion is to mix up the wording of the LTK. For example:

Let’s take the “fat burning foods” we used in the beginning. If you make that your title, it’ll suck, sorry. So you can actually add words WITHIN the actual LTK term, making it longer, but at the same time better. So that same term can look something like this:

“10 foods that are great for burning fat”

Note the original LTK is no longer word for word the same, but it’s still fine to do this. So keep this suggestion in mind when you find your LTK but can’t really make a good title from the way it looks on it’s own. 

honest review


  1. Scott

    This is great information for someone like myself just getting into this world of online marketing. I had a basic understanding of keywords before reading this article, however I didn’t realize the options available to me using LTK! I also thank you for pointing out that I should use the keyword as my title but no more than 1% in the body of the content. This is great stuff thank you for sharing. It’s sure to make me more successful!

  2. Stephen Stefanski

    Hi There Vitaliy its a pleasure to meet you. I really like the content you put into your post. It gave me a lot to think about when I am writing my post. Are most of the keys words that you come up with successful? Is there a percentage guide that you follow so you know how well your keywords are doing? Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Stephen, I honestly do not measure the “success” rate of all my keywords for a number of reasons:

      1) Not all of them are actually successful, even if they reach the first page.

      2) It’s not always about the keyword and ranking high, it’s sometimes about the popularity of the topic associated with the keyword and often it may lessen by the time you hit the first page.

      3) I always seek to find new terms that get traffic and write as much as possible on it. Even if the minority of my work is what gets traffic, that is enough to fuel the whole business.

      4) I’d say looking at my analytics account, that maybe 10-20 pages get 95% of all traffic, out of the 500+ articles I’ve had, BUT the thing is the other articles boosted my site to the point that those 10 or 20 hit the first page to get the traffic, so it’s all worth writing.

  3. Derek Marshall

    Hi There Vitaliy,

    Thank you kindly for the explanation on what exactly is a longtail keyword, I was a little unsure of the difference between short tail and long tail.

    WOW what a give away! Thanks for the tip about product names! Now that is something I have to start using a lot more of!

  4. Michael

    This is a good, clear article on Long Tailed Keywords. When someone types in a search term like “how to become wealthy in real estate”, am I right in thinking the competition number only applies to that precise keyword? Also, within that keyword there would be different competition numbers for say “real estate” and “become wealthy” which will be beneficial or otherwise?
    This is such an important topic, we must get it right.

    • Vitaliy

      Hi Michael, yes you are correct in both assumptions, including the second and that basically is a branch of the LSI topic I linked to (but it’s here too). You will link for those other terms but keep in mind that in this case, those shorter terms carry their own seperate competition number.

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