Are longtail keywords good for SEO?

By Peter Yexley

Many of us will remember the days when single keyword searches were  extremely important and relatively easy to generate high ranking results in the search engines.

Today, I personally believe that most single keyword searches are nothing short of ‘vanity’ searching. A vanity search is when a webmaster believes a particular single/double keyword is vital to his website marketing,  The reality is the only people that use those particular keywords are in and identical business,  they are searching for that keyword just to see where their website appears in the search engines …hence the term ‘vanity‘ search.

As an example let’s focus on the word ‘dentist’. Let’s be real, would anybody looking for a dentist from say Watford expect to find exactly what he was looking for on the first page of Google with the keyword ‘dentist’? …The only genuine answer is ‘NO!!!’ – equally even if they supplemented the search with the word ‘surgery’,This still would not be a reasonable search term.

In most cases one or two keyword search terms are useless –

Enter Long Tail keywords.  you might have heard of thi phrase if you have been dabbling in SEO. A longtail keyword or ‘search term’  is made up from multiple keywords into a phrases and extremely specific to the website.

I often get feedback from people who have in the past rejected long tail keywords as ‘lower in value’ . Generally because they have read comments in blogs and forums, however,  they are so wrong and this stance can cost you dearly too

When a person is shopping for a pair of boots, would they simply ask for ‘boots’? – of course not.


When you are shopping online for a flight to France – do you search for ‘Flights‘ as a single keyword?- We know the answer is ‘No’ however it is fair to say that we are likely to search for ‘cheapest flights to France’ or ‘Bargain flights from Doncaster to Paris’.

We use long tail keywords to reduce non-relevant results.

The use of highly specific search phrases are far more likely to convert to sales than single/double keyword searches because the latter tends to be geared towards ‘shopping around’ type or tentatively researching prior to making a buying decision.

Let’s take a look at what could be described as the typical step-by-step buying process.

1. Consumer is in the market for a particular product.
2. Consumer researches that product in preparation for possible purchase.
3. Consumer shops around for alternatives to that product based on price and features.
4. Consumer then makes a decision to purchase.
5. Consumer completes the transaction and buys.

At any one or more of these points, the keywords used would have been changed and got more precise. It is highly likely that the website that finally got the money, benefited from a ‘long tail keyword’.

So, when you are considering opting for one or two word keywords – put yourself in your prospective customers shoes and see how they would search.