Online Marketing

What is the Long Tail and Why Does it Matter for SEO?

By November 29, 2018No Comments

When establishing a search engine optimization strategy, it’s tempting to optimize your website for the search terms that get the highest amount of traffic. You may think that if you can get a slice of the hundreds of thousands of monthly searches, you’ll be winning easy traffic and profitable conversions.

If only it were that easy.

SEO for Niche Offerings

Many healthcare, technology, and life sciences companies offer niche products and services aimed at a well-defined audience. Even though generic terms have high search volumes, it doesn’t make financial sense to try to rank for them.

Take for example a healthcare IT company offering EMR software for dermatologists.

Ranking for the one-word term “software” or even the two-word phrase “EMR software” would be very difficult, if not impossible, and would not attract very targeted website visitors.

A long tail key phrase such as “EMR software for dermatologists” is a much better choice.

  1. It will be easier to achieve a higher search ranking for this term
  2. People who search for this term and visit your website will be much more likely to convert

long tail seo

Search Volume is Only Part of the Equation

Selecting key phrases for SEO requires a broader view beyond search volume. Look at the search volumes from Moz for the three key phrase examples above.

You can see how it would be tempting to try to rank for “software” with its 70,000 monthly searches, but don’t discount long tail phrase that will have a higher probability of conversion.

A bonus of choosing long tail key phrases is that they often contain one- and two-word terms within them. Over time and with a proper SEO strategy, your website could start to rank for the more competitive, higher volume terms.


Brian Shilling

Author Brian Shilling

Brian is a Branding & Digital Marketing Director with experience leading diverse teams of marketers and designers in strategic marketing, content creation, and crafting comprehensive messaging and positioning platforms for our healthcare and tech clients. To learn more about Brian's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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