Adrian Cini

Adrian Cini - Web Developer and internet marketer personal blog

Creating a long tail keywords list

Seo - How to create a long tail keywords list

Though search engine optimization keeps on evolving into a very vast subject covering for site performance, access and usability still the main concept is using keywords in strategic places of your site content for better placing in the search engine result page ranking. Amongst the vast array of traffic generating strategies, SEO will always remain a great source of free high quality traffic. 

In this post using an easy to follow strategy and free tools, you will learn how to create an extensive list of keyword combinations better know as long tail keywords , then we will filter this huge list to identify the top high ranking keyword phrase.

Jurassic long tail keyword list

keyword research - Words, don't come easy 

So lets start with a tricky question, what is the best keyword you want to rank for. Give it 5 minute thought and you are most probably wrong and by the end of this post I will prove it. First of all how can we define best based on 3 main factors.

1. Keyword needs to be representative of your business

2. Ideally it is a keyword that is searched quite often

3. There is not too much competition for that keyword ranking

As to identify the top long tail keywords based on this criteria, you will need a list of words and phrases that can be filtered and ranked to identify the top winners.

There are various strategies on how to get started building a keyword list, you can cut corners and use various online tools that achieve this by analysing competition and extract their keywords, but this feels like cheating, a better way of achiveing an original list is by building your own list based on the business objetive, in this way will will achieve step 1. and than have some one else copy you :).

Finding the right long tail keywords - Specific vs Broad keywords

A keyword is a word or a descriptive phase to describe what you are searching for. The descriptive phase can be broken in to the following 3 groups

  • Base keywords. - The single obvious words that you would like to rank for eg: SEO, Keywords, Ranking, Online
  • Modifiers. - These develop and clarify the meaning of the keyword. eg: Search term ranking, top result page raking
  • Keyword extenders - Further details to the keyword and serve to further understand the intent of the searching eg: raking tricks using keywords, optimising content for search engine ranking, short article about keyword optimsiation
Note that order is not important for keywords, base keywords and modifiers so for now we will concentrate on generating a big list using combinations of these.

Long tail Keywords vary in SEO terms by two main properties:
  • Rank: How individual keywords rank in search engines
  • Popularity: How many search queries does the keyword receive on a monthly bases.

Head Vs Tail - The strategy

The Head keywords refers to keywords that generate very high traffic and for this reason ranking for such keywords is a struggle due to the high competitive grounds. On the other hand long tail keywords tend to have less traffic but also less competition thus ranking for such keywords is more achievable.

The distribution Keyword curve refers to the graph of search volume between the head keywords and the long tail keywords.

search volume between the head keywords and the long tail keywords


The graph shows that there is still ample of traffic to aim for in the long tail, the head and body keywords together only account for only 3.25% of all search traffic. A long tail strategy is to try to increase ranking for several long tail key words at time rather than focus to try to get 1 head key word. As a result the site will attract traffic for several less popular phrases and still have a decent organic traffic flow. A better strategy is to have a mix of both without too much focus on any.

Long tail keywords - How to generate a great list.

Based on the concept that a website represents or extends a business the strategy described below will make use of analysing your business objectives to come with an extensive list of useful keywords and than convert them to search ranking terms.

1. Define your marketing plan - Get your objectives right

Define your marketing plan under the following categories.

  1. Reach - What market are we after.   Developers, SEO enthusiasts, Entrepreneurs, Start ups
  2. Establish - What is the objective. Build a Reputation, set myself as an authority
  3. Increase - As a result of this marketing effort what would you like to improve (revenues, credibility, visibility market share) Credibility, Traffic, Profits

Example for my blog I would write down the following

  1. Reach - Developers, SEO enthusiasts, Entrepreneurs, Start ups
  2. Establish - Build a Reputation, set myself as an authority in the subject
  3. Increase - visibility, Credibility, Traffic, Profits

2. Objective break down - Still not keywords but great ideas

Based on the defined plan categories we will further analyse what each word would mean. I will still take my own blog as an example

  • Reach: SEO code standards, Getting started on seo, tips for ranking your site, help raking a site, Effective site traffic, Seo support.
  • Establish: trusted site, knowledgeable sources, proven tactics, qualified seo expert, crowd feedback
  • Increase: SEO understanding, Proven tactics, referenced sources, more visitors from Europe

3. Idea Extraction - Getting the phrases in place

Now that I have an objective break down I will use it to come up with my long tail keywords and will list them in a txt file. Again if I take my blog as an example, I would come up with the following:

  1. Reach
    • search engine optimisation industry standard, straight forward article about getting started with seo, create a keyword list in 15 minutes, east steps to rank your website, rank your website in 3 easy step, the 3 step strategy to creating high traffic keywords
  2. Establish
    • Knowledgeable bog from a marketing guru, Follow this proven strategy to keyword creation, No fail tactic for long tail key words, Expert approach to seo strategy, Follow advice of keyword list creation,
  3. Increase
    • keyword analysis expert advice, Increase organic traffic with keyword analysis

Traffic was not considered when selecting the long tail keywords at this stage because sometimes quality beats quantity for example in e-commerce sites one would rather have 1 paying customer that 100 that just landed. In such cases there is value in lower traffic but higher conversion keywords.

Before we start the process of ranking and discarding long tail keywords always keep in mind that we are not just after traffic even if it looks nice on our analytics graphs:

  1. Who are we targeting: Conversions vs Traffic.
  2. Seo Marketing vs. Impact of SEO on marketing: Getting the right people vs just getting people

Creating a keyword list: Converting a starter list into a full course

As a result of the above exercise you should end up with a list of keywords and phrases that you would like to rank for, at this point you could use a thesaurus to further increase this base keyword list.

Now we will extract further modifiers and extenders using the google suggest tool. All you need to do is to go to your browser and start typing in the google search, google will automatically suggest the next letter giving you great insides to new modifiers and extenders.

google suggest for long tail keywords

An easier and faster way to do this is to use Ubersuggest . This tool will provide you with the modifiers and even extenders you need. Now that your list is growing, I personally managed to come up with more than 2000 long tail keywords about my blog. Next I will analyse the traffic of these keywords to identify the top few which I would like to rank for.

Part 2: looking at the traffic of the list.

Google main money maker are adwords and though the intention of the tool is to sell adverts, this can be used to analyse traffic. In the google adwords go to the tools section and click KeywordPlanner. Note that this tool is designed by google for Adwords and not for seo, adwords are the paid for adverts by google thus some of the information is irrelevant for our need. Also the information about traffic is an estimation and is not the real value. It is a great tool to tap out long tail keywords that do not have a lot of traffic and optimise your starter list. Google keywords tool can analyse up to 200 keywords at once as you get the hand of using the above keyword strategy you will require to run this tool over and over again.

Google Adwords keyword planner

From this data I build an excel sheet to analyse the number of monthly searches and the approximate cost advertisers are ready to pay. This gives an idea about how valuable a keyword is. From the above exercise I came with the following keywords for optimisations:

  1. long tail keywords: 2,900 Low €5.40
  2. seo strategy: 2,400 Medium €7.18
  3. search engine optimization india: 1,000 Low €8.20
  4. search engine optimisation perth: 720 Low €24.44
  5. trusted site: 480 Low €0.27
  6. seo strategy 2014: 480 Low €14.09

but you will have to wait until my next post to see how I achieved this.

About the author

Adrian Cini - worked in different markets like gaming , marketing, regulatory bodies, government etc. Passionate in Internet marketing, search engine optimisation and development frameworks.
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