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Long Tail Keywords: Answers to Popular Questions About Long Tail Keywords

Updated Feb 14, 2019.

What are "Long Tail Keywords"?
Long Tail Keywords are search terms that typically contain three or more words. For example: "vintage silver necklace". They are sometimes referred to as "niche" keywords. These search terms are not searched as often as "broad" or "head" keywords, but are popular because many people are able to use long tail keywords to dominate a niche and make a decent income from using these keywords in their listings.

So why is it called "long tail"?

It is called long tail because visually it looks similar to the long tail that you might expect to see on a dinosaur. The "head" is a small set of search terms that have very high search volume, but the tail is a much larger set of search terms that are searched very infrequently. Unlike the dinosaur, there is no obvious line that separates the head from the long tail queries.

What is so special about long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords are often searched by people at the end of their decision making process: when they are ready to buy.

To explain how this is so using very simple keyword examples, let's look at a typical decision making process that a shopper goes through:

  1. Research: person gathers background information and starts to conduct research. Typically they use broad search terms like "necklace" or "gift for her".
  2. Comparison: person now knows what they want to buy, have started to filter out unwanted items and are now comparing the remaining listings. At this stage, they may be searching for something like "silver necklace".
  3. Transaction: this is when the person knows what they want and they are ready to buy. Here, they are searching for very specific terms, for instance "vintage silver necklace".

As you will see by the simple examples above, as a person gets closer to buying they will typically get very specific with their search terms and use longer phrases of 3 or more words.

Picking good long tail keywords and optimizing your listings for them can help get your listing in front of people when they are ready to buy.

Below you can see where "necklace", "silver necklace" and "vintage silver necklace" appear on the search distribution chart. While "vintage silver necklace" is not searched very often, it can still be very beneficial because of its high purchase intent. Additionally, this search term has 1/20th of the competition that "necklace" has. Win-win!

How to find long tail keywords [updated Feb 14, 2019]

eRank members have access to keyword tools that include estimated Etsy search volumes and search trends going back as far as 15 months. With this information, you can quickly spot potential long tail keywords.

If you are an eRank PRO member, the Keyword Explorer and Keyword Tool will show you where your keywords appear in the Long Tail Graph, like in the example above. Additionally, we also include a Search Trend graph, which can help you determine if a search term is increasing in popularity, steady or declining.

You will also notice that eRank includes search trend data for Google too (blue line in the graph above). This is great for comparisons and getting a second opinion, and also helpful if you are looking to optimize your website for Google!

Are all long tail keywords three words or more in length?

Not necessarily, but generally it's true. The position of a keyword depends entirely on how often it is searched each month. The most popular search terms will appear in the "head" section, less popular search terms will appear in the "long tail".

For example, "xylophone music" is a long tail term that contains just two words. It is rarely searched for on Etsy and only occasionally searched for on Google.

Are all long tail keywords valuable?

Sadly not. Some long tail keywords have absolutely no commercial value at all. For example, "vintage xylophone keys" is rarely searched. While some people may be looking for these, and a few sellers may be making some money from such a long tail term, it is unlikely to make you rich! So choose wisely.

How do I use long tail keywords in my listings?

To qualify to appear in long tail searches on Etsy, your listing must contain all the words the user typed into the search box somewhere in the listings tags or title. If the user is being very specific, such as "vintage silver necklace for Christmas", the easiest way to appear in the results is to put that phrase in the title. To add extra emphasis, you will need to follow the tips found in the Seller Handbook. For example, put that phrase near the beginning of the title and use those words in your tags.

If the phrase is too big to fit in a tag, you may wish to break your tags into two: "vintage silver necklace" and "necklace for christmas".

Word of caution:

Using long tail keywords can be very lucrative, but exercise care. The examples above are simple and used to make a point. You will need to pick keywords based on your own good judgment. Don't expect a lot of views if you focus entirely on long tail keywords because we know they are not searched very often. Make small experiments with your listings, mixing long tail and head keywords, watch your stats closely and find a combination that works best for you. Don't rush to change all your listings overnight!

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