What are Long-Tail Keywords? + How to Find and Use Them

A stupid simple guide to long-tail keywords blog banner

Quick question. How would you rate your website’s traffic quality?

Great? Good? Okay? Poor?

If you say great, then chances are that you already know about long-tail keywords. If not, then you read this blog post.

Together, we would strip long-tail keywords bare so that you can find out how it can work for you.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at:

What are long-tail keywords?

First things first, a definition.

Long-tail keywords are highly specific multiple-word terms that often demonstrate higher purchase or commercial intent.

They’re less popular keywords that have low search volume. And are usually easier to rank.

Note from these definitions that the keyword’s length is not a good criterion for calling it long-tail.

For it to be long-tail, there needs to be a high purchase intent behind the keyword.

Consider a keyword like “Software.” This keyword is as generic as they come. Take a look at how many results there are for this keyword.

Over 4 billion results!!!! What?

Besides being generic, you can be sure that the intent behind this keyword search is not commercial or purchase driven. 

There is no way you can tell why a user will search for “Software”

Now, let’s contrast the “software” keyword with “best email marketing software.”

Voila. Look at the search engine results. What do you see?

You’ll notice that the number of results is lower than for “software.”

From this keyword, we can also tell that this user wants to buy email marketing software.

Examples of Long-tail Keywords

  • How to start a blog
  • Barbershops near me
  • Best leashes for small dogs
  • How to fix the AC in my car
  • Where to buy a truck in [city]
  • Best CRM for small business
  • Best email marketing software
  • Running shoes for women size 10

and so on.

Here is what you will notice from these examples of long-tail keywords:

  • They are specific.
  • They have a lower search volume.
  • They have a higher click-through rate.
  • They contain more than one word or phrase (Usually 3+).
  • There is a purchase or commercial intent behind the keyword.
  • They have a lower keyword difficulty, meaning you can easily rank for them.

Why should you bother with long-tail keywords?

The answer to this question should be hovering at the back of your head already. 

Users who search using long-tail keywords are looking for specific answers to their problems. These potential customers are well past the awareness stage in their buyer’s journey.

They’re now actively seeking a solution. A solution that hopefully, you can provide. 

Let us continue with the example of a user looking for “best email marketing software.” We can tell that this person wants to build an email list.

As a business that provides email marketing software, what keyword do you think is best for you to target and rank for? 

Option A: Software

Option B: Email marketing

Option C: Email marketing software

Ranking for Option A and B would guarantee a ton of traffic to your website. But unless you are making money from ads, you don’t need that kind of traffic.

You need to target option C and make users who want to choose an email marketing software come to your website.

These users want a solution. They want to take action. And why wouldn’t you want these types of visitors to your website?

Imagine the increased number of qualified leads you would generate when you rank for this long-tailed keyword.

Another reason you should bother with long-tail keywords is that they make up more than 90% of search queries. Whew, that’s a lot.

By now, you should be eager to go after all the long-tail keywords you can get. But how?

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty.

Let’s find all those long-tail keywords that would bring sweet, qualified traffic to your website.

Here are ten ways you can find long-tail keywords for your business.

1. Find your pillar keywords.

Your pillar keywords are the words that come to mind when somebody mentions your business. If I say ActiveCampaign, you’ll immediately think of email marketing; SEO for Ahrefs, and digital marketing for Neil Patel. 

So what are your pillar keywords?

If you are not yet sure about what your pillar keywords are, ask yourself:

  • What service do you provide?
  • What words do your customers associate with your business?

The answers to these questions will make it easier for you to identify your pillar keywords.

An example: Let’s assume that you sell financial software for small business owners. Your pillar keyword must include “financial software.” It makes sense then to target long-tail keywords like:

  • Best financial software for small business
  • Top financial software in 2020
  • Do I need financial software?
  • How to choose financial software for my business

2. Check the bottom page of Google search results.

At the bottom of Google’s search results, you will find a header that reads, “Searches related to [whatever keyword you search for].”

Here are the results from the search for “Google keyword planner.”

Google gives you a list of search queries related to the keyword you just searched.

Switch the keyword here for your pillar keyword, and you’ll have a list that you can use.

3. Use the Google “People also ask” section.

Here is another gem you can find right on Google’s front page. The “people also ask” section curates questions that users ask related to your pillar keywords. 

The screenshot below shows what it looks like:

4. Utilize Google auto-suggestions.

It looks like Google is the gift that keeps on giving. Have you ever noticed that Google sometimes autocompletes your search query? 

Most of the time, your search history determines these suggestions. To check what other users are searching for, switch to incognito browsing mode. In this mode, type in your pillar keywords to check what Google auto-suggests.

For best results, add prefixes like “best” and “how-to” before typing your keywords.

An example:

Let’s say I am looking for long-tail keywords for the keyword “running shoes.” Here is how Google auto-suggestion can help me.

long-tail keyword help from google


Pro tip: add letters like “a,” “b,” and “c” for each search to see more results.

5. Use Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest is an excellent SEO tool by Neil Patel that helps you quickly find long-tail keywords. 

The exciting thing about this tool is that it can find long-tail keywords even though all you have going for you is a single or double-worded keyword. 

Let’s find long-tail keywords for “car insurance” using Ubersuggest.

Here are the keyword results:

Click on the “View all keyword ideas” button. Here is what you will see next:

This is still a lot to work with. So here is what I recommend. Click the questions tab to find long-tail keywords.

long-tail keywords example
Long-tail keywords paradise.

You will find everything you are looking for here.

Other great long-tail keyword tools include KWfinder and Answer the Public.

6. Check your site analytics

Use the Google Search Console to check your site for keywords that you already rank for. 

The Search Console not only shows you the keywords that you are ranking for, but it also shows the keywords users are using on Google to find you. Here is how you can use these pieces of information to your advantage.

Find the pages on your site that are currently ranking from pages 2 to 4. Collect the keywords from these pages and check if they can become long-tail keywords.

7. Find Answers on Quora and Reddit

Quora and Reddit are two of the most underrated sites for finding keywords – even long-tail ones.

These sites work like forums, where users ask questions and other users provide them with answers. You would find the terms and keywords users use when looking for information on a topic. 

Here is the result from a “best budgeting software” keyword search:

For Reddit:

Boom. Endless long-tail keyword ideas.

8. Ask your customers

You can find long-tail keywords by asking the people you are trying to reach. 

The chances are that many of your customers found you on Google before buying your product or using your service. So ask them for the exact search query they used when looking for solutions to their problems that you now solve.

You can go a step further by asking them what piece of content they read before opening their wallets to give you their money.

The answers might surprise you.

Gather a list of the most common answers, and you will have gold on your hands.

How to use your long-tail keywords

You know what long-tail keywords are and why they are essential. You also now know eight ways to find these keywords. What next? Next, you’ll learn how to use these keywords for your business. 

If your first instinct is to create a blog post after finding a long-tail keyword, you might be plunging yourself into quicksand. Stay with me here, I’ll explain. 

I’m not saying blog posts are trivial (we’ll discuss that in the next step), but there is something you need to understand first. You need to understand the intent behind a Google search.

When you find a keyword, ask yourself:

Does this user want to buy stuff? Find a place? Or know more about a subject? 

Somebody searching for “best barbershop in Austin” is not looking for a blog post, he wants directions. Similarly, a user searching for “best CRM for small business” likely expects a blog post that explains what to look out for in a CRM.

Identifying the intent would help you know what kind of content to create.

2. Create an Outstanding Content Piece around the Keyword

Get your computer fired up and write the content you will want to read on that topic. Don’t try to game the system by forcing your keyword into every sentence. Google is way smarter than that, plus nobody wants to read a sentence like this:

“We have the best email marketing software for small businesses that want to reach more customers. And since our email marketing software for small businesses is cheap, business owners would find our email marketing software for small businesses to be the best bet.”


Follow the best SEO practices and put the keywords in the right places, like in your title, headings, meta description, URL, and alt texts. 

Pro Tip: Since long-tail keywords have low search volumes, you will need to create a lot of content to rank and gain considerable traffic from these keywords. And this takes time that you do not have as a small business owner.

That is why you need freelance writers. I can help. Send me a message now.

Content pieces are not limited to blog posts. You can also create:

  • Videos 
  • Ebooks and 
  • Podcasts.

3. Use new long-tail keywords to improve existing blog content.

Sometimes, you don’t have to create entirely new content pieces for long-tail keywords. Since you already have blog posts that rank on your site, you can add these new ones to it.

While doing this, make sure that the post and the new keyword you add to it are related. Something like adding the keyword “best Instagram captions tools” to a post “how to write engaging captions on Instagram” would work.

Final Thoughts

Finding long-tail keywords that work are worth the effort. They allow you to rank for keywords that your customers are searching for on Google.

The steps listed in this guide would help you identify them, find them, and know how to use them.