How to Use Long Tail Keywords in Headlines

According to Worldometers, every day we are inundated with more than 2 million blog posts and 200 billion emails. No matter what you are writing – blog posts, emails, online ads, or anything else – the headline is a crucial element. How do you get people to stop and read what you write when there’s so much competing content? If you get the headline right, you will probably be positioned at the top of the search results pages. A truly great headline might even prompt people to respond and share your article. Keyword-rich headlines will improve your website rankings and increase engagement with your audience. Your target audience is looking for blog posts that will solve their problems and address the keywords they typed into Google’s search box.

Follow this 3-Step Process for Using Long Tail Keywords in Your Headlines

First Step: Research and choose long-tail search terms.

Let’s stay with Google AdWords Keywords Planner for our example.

On the dashboard, type in your main keyword phrase (e.g., start small business) and click the “Get Ideas” button.

You can see the long-tail keywords that we’ll integrate into our blog post headlines:

starting a small business checklist
best small business to start
steps to starting a small business
help starting a small business

Second step: Model popular and viral headlines.

You can’t just pick long-tail key phrases. You also have to identify viral content specific to your industry, learn from it, and then improve upon it.

When you find headlines that have been shared thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., it means that you can get great results, too. All you have to do is study them and incorporate the underlying strategies into your own content.

How do you find these viral blog post headlines?

Visit BuzzSumo, input your main keyword (i.e., start small business), and click the “search” button.

The two viral headlines are:

5 Simple Ways to Start a Small Business ~ 102,658 Facebook shares
6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business

Third step: Create your headlines using the viral headlines as a model:

Original Headline: 5 Simple Ways to Start a Small Business

Keyword phrase to integrate: steps to starting a small business

Unique and keyword-rich blog post headline based on the model:

7 Steps to Starting a Small Business and Growing It
3 Simple Steps to Start a Small Business That You’ll Love

When I find a headline that makes me click, I’ll copy it, study it, and create a unique and better one.

7 Elements of Keyword Research Success

Keyword research should be the very first step of every SEO strategy. You should start by thinking about the words you want to rank for, but the keyword research process can be daunting. This post provides some strategies to keyword research success.

Execute Your Keyword Research Correctly
Researching keywords the right way takes time. Dive into the language that your audience uses. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for? The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure you update this list regularly. As your audience or products change, so does your keyword strategy.

Aim for Realistic Keywords
Some niches are very competitive. If you’re just starting your website or business, it’s very hard to rank in a competitive keyword niche. If you’re new, you should focus on long tail keywords (which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert).
For example, if you are a yoga instructor, it will be too hard to start ranking for the term ‘yoga’. Find out which aspects of your services and business are unique and try ranking for those terms. Perhaps you specialize in chair yoga for disabled military veterans. Aiming to rank for ‘adaptive yoga or veterans’ could be a good strategy. In that case, you should also aim for ‘disability yoga’, ‘exercises for disable vets’ and so on.
If you have been around in your niche for a little longer and you’re succeeding in ranking on long tail keywords, you could aim to rank for more competitive head terms as well. Ranking for competitive keywords should be part of a long-term successful keyword research strategy.

Use Relevant Keywords
The keywords you are aiming to rank for should be the same words your customers use. You should always use the language of your audience.

Use Singular or Plural Keywords
Always check whether you should use the plural or the singular form of a specific keyword. Should you aim to rank for ‘cupcake’ or for ‘cupcakes’? Do people search for ‘holiday home’ or ‘holiday homes’. Always check whether you should use singular or plural with Google Trends.

Make Sure All Your Keywords Have Traffic
Long tail keywords are a great way to start your keyword strategy. These words gain less traffic, but you’ll have a higher chance to convert your visitors into buyers or returning visitors. People that use specific terms to search for exactly that thing you’re writing about are just a very good match. However, if your keyword is too specific and doesn’t get any traffic, it won’t help your SEO. So make sure to aim for those long tail keywords that actually have some traffic!

Evaluate Your Keyword Research Strategy
If you’re aiming to rank for certain terms, make sure to check whether you succeed. You need to evaluate regularly if people actually find your articles. In order to do so, you should definitely google your proposed focus keyword every now and then.

Focus On More Than One Keyword Per Post
If you write a decent blog post, you could aim to rank for more than one search term. If you’re able to do that (without just stretching it), you should definitely do so.

For a comprehensive list of keyword research tools, I highly recommend Yoast.