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Long-tail keyword strategies: why they’re important in eCommerce

eCommerce is competitive. The ease of buying online has been matched with an ease of selling online – attracting businesses worldwide and making search engine result placement both crucial and difficult.

If you’re wasting time and money chasing short-tail keyword search result placements, stop wasting your time. Long-tail keyword strategies will bring you higher rankings, qualified leads, and (with the right shipping options, reviews, and pricing) more conversions. In this article, we explain how.

Back to basics: what are keywords?

Keywords are the words or phrases entered into a search engine to return a relevant result. There are two general types:

Short-tail keywords

Short-tail or generic keywords are very broad and consist of only one of two words. “Artificial flowers” would be considered a short-tail keyword. They’re incredibly competitive and, accordingly, are usually dominated by big brands with big budgets.

Long-tail key phrases

Long-tail keywords are called key phrases. They’re highly specific, consisting of three or more words. For example, “13-inch artificial white lilies” is considered a long-tail key phrase.

These make up more than 70% of online searches, but they have less traffic, making them easier and more effective for smaller eCommerce brands to rank highly for than short-tail keywords.

A long-tail keyword strategy is simply a strategy aimed at targeting longer key phrases, rather than generic search terms.

(Source: Google keyword planner)

The importance of long-tail keywords eCommerce

So why would you want to actively target keywords that generate less traffic? A long-tail keyword strategy is a tactical move for any eCommerce business struggling to rank for (or see a return from) generic keywords. There are a few reasons for this.

1. There’s less competition

The specificity of long-tail keywords means they’re relevant for fewer sellers. This reduces the competition; making it easier to rank for organically and cheaper to bid for when advertising. And, as we all know, the higher your search result placement, the more traffic you attract.

2. They generate more qualified leads

Searchers using long-tail keywords have a more defined search query, typically resulting in a more qualified lead. Someone searching for “artificial plants” might be looking for the history of artificial plant use, rather than their next houseplant purchase; whereas someone searching for “13-inch artificial white lilies” is more likely on a mission to buy.

3. They result in more conversions

An online shopper searching for a longtail keyword has a high purchase intent, making them more likely to convert and generate profit. They’re no longer in the discovery phase of which “artificial plant” to buy – they know they want “13-inch white lilies” and they’re ready to take out their credit cards.

4. You can create targeted content

Finally, long-tail keywords enable you to create more targeted landing pages and content for your audience. Information on how to look after artificial lilies and complementary products are all relevant to your audience and geared towards creating trust and value that increases spend and customer lifetime value.

How to implement a long-tail keyword strategy

Are you ready for less competition, more qualified leads, and higher conversions? A long-tail keyword strategy is not only beneficial for eCommerce businesses, it’s also easily implemented by in a few simple steps.

1. Identify long-tail keywords

Create a list of longer phrases that potential customers might use to search for your products by:

  • Brainstorming phrases that accurately describe your products;
  • Using keyword research tools such as Übersuggest, Answer the Public and Keyword Tool; and
  • Typing relevant phrases into Google to see Google Suggest’s list of other phrases that people search for.
(Source: Google)

2. Determine audience value

Not all of the keywords generated will be relevant to your business. Narrow this list down by eliminating any phrases that do not accurately align with your products.

You must ensure that your intended result will help the audience to find what they’re searching for. If it doesn’t, your bounce rate will increase and Google will push your results further down the list.

3. Research the competition

Squeeze your list down more by looking at the existing competition for these long-tail keywords on Google. See who is currently dominating the results and consider if you can knock them off of the top spot by using Google Keyword Planner or a plugin such as Keywords Everywhere to examine the statistics.

Ideally, you want enough competition to show that the keyword is worth targeting, but not enough that it makes hitting the first page impossible. For example, if you try to rank for “women’s high heel shoes” you’re going to have a hard uphill battle due to the volume of competition.

If you use tools like Moz to research keywords, you can see the difficulty you might face when trying to rank for different keyphrases.

(Source: Moz)

4. Target your long-tail keywords

Once you’ve finalized your list of long-tail keywords to target, you need to get targeting. Use the key phrases to create:

  • Product and category landing pages on your website;
  • Relevant content (such as blogs);
  • Marketplace listings; and
  • Search engine advertisements.

You want to work the phrase into your content naturally (no keyword stuffing), using it in product titles, descriptions, and calls to action. It’s also important to use the longtail keyword behind the scenes, in your URL, meta description, and image tags.

Turning your longtail keywords into conversions

Identifying and targeting your long-tail keywords is only part of the journey. Next, you need to ensure that anyone clicking your search result link turns into a paying customer. Achieve this by:

Perfecting your website

Speed matters, and we’re not talking about delivery speed (just yet). If your website takes between one to ten seconds to load, the probability of abandonment increases by 123%.

Ensure that your website is quick, responsive, and easy to navigate. Not only does it encourage people through the checkout, but a well-designed website also increases trust.

Improving your customer ratings

95% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, making your star ratings crucial to the success of your long-tail keywords. Improve customer and product ratings by solving problems promptly, providing customers with tracking information, and ensuring that products are delivered on time.

Offering fast shipping

Slow delivery times and a lack of options is one of the main reasons for cart abandonment. Improve your long-tail search result conversion rate by providing customers with a choice on delivery speed and cost combinations. Not only does fast and free shipping improve conversions, but, with the right fulfillment provider it can save you time and money too.

Listing on multiple sales channels

Nearly one-third of online shoppers start their search on Google and then buy on Amazon. Some people just prefer buying from online marketplaces for reasons including trust, free shipping, and expiring gift vouchers.

Increase your chances of conversion by including your products on online marketplaces and taking advantage of fast shipping programs such as Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping to further improve your sales figures.

Final thoughts

Long-tail keywords are an overlooked and under-utilized way to easily reach the top of Google and Bing’s search results and improve your conversion rates while at it.

Invest time in creating a list of relevant and useful long-tail phrases, targeting those keywords, and improving your other metrics (such as shipping and customer service), and you’ll be reaping the rewards later.

Happy brainstorming.


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