Spelunking like Indiana Jones to find long tail keywords and uncover hidden traffic

long tail keywords

The other day, my mom looked for and found a simple recipe for chicken. She had some chicken breasts in the freezer and did not have some of the various ingredients she normally uses. She had to find some inspiration and a different idea.

So, she went to the best place she could think of to find something different and easy.


That’s right, my mom searched for a new chicken recipe on Google. Now, she has a dozen or so cookbook and has been cooking for 60 years. Still, she went to Google to search for something different.

Easy Chicken Recipes | Screenshot Google
Easy Chicken Recipes | Screenshot Google

She tried to explain to me what terms she used to search, but couldn’t remember. One thing she didn’t use was the term “chicken.” That term isn’t specific enough for her situation.

In 2018 when we search for something, we usually string together a series of terms like “easy chicken recipes.” Because of this, I have been intrigued by the idea of long tail keywords for a while now. I know that we don’t simply search for one term. In fact, with the emergence of mobile phones, many people will search with their voice.

Therefore, taking advantage of long tail keywords is pretty important for website owners and their search engine optimization. We have to put on our Indiana Jones hat and go spelunking so that we can find more of these long tail keywords.

Today, we are going to discuss long tail keywords and four ways you can find them for your website.

What are long tail keywords?

When defining long term keywords, it is best to consult the experts. Therefore we are going to look at three different websites say and how they define the term.

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As I noted before, long tail keywords are made up of several words or a key phrase. As Marieke van de Rakt says over at the Yoast blog,

Long tail keywords are keywords or key phrases that are more specific – and usually longer – than more commonly searched for keywords. Long tail keywords get less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific. They allow you gradually to get more traffic and to be found by new and motivated audiences.

Two things to note here is specific and higher conversions. If you are targeting more specific terms, long tail keywords can help. If you need higher conversions, long tail keywords meet that because of the specificity.

Long tail, not long neck | Courtesy Pexels
Long tail, not long neck | Courtesy Pexels

One of the reasons they convert better is that they are search terms users will use when they close to purchasing. As Wordstream points out on their resource page,

Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search. They’re a little bit counter-intuitive, at first, but they can be hugely valuable if you know how to use them.

While each individual keyword phrase may not get high search volume, utilizing long tail keyword phrases can really add up over time. David McSweeney explains,

Long tail keywords are the search queries with very low individual search volume, but an enormous total search demand as a group. The name comes from the “long tail” of the so‐called “search demand curve” — a graph, that plots all keywords by their search volumes.

McSweeney explains that most definitions for long tail keywords are wrong because they focus on the number of words or the length. He explains that there are two things that are important for a long tail keyword, specificity and search volume.

Thus, long tail keywords have value because Google now understands that different words can mean the same thing. In essence, Google has grown up and is now a teenager.

When we think of long tail keywords, we must recognize that the phrase is longer, more specific, has less search volume, but converts a higher rate.

Four easy ways to find long tail keywords

The key to finding long tail keyword phrases is to search in areas that give you longer keyword phrases, but also to think in terms of questions.  Today, we are going to mention six places where you can easily find those long tail keyword phrases.

Answer the Public

Screenshot: Answer the Public
Screenshot: Answer the Public

Answer the Public is a project of Coverage Book.  You input your keyword and let Answer the Public come up with variations based on questions, prepositions, comparisons, alphabetical, and related.

Once you have several variations, you can download them into a CSV if you want to drop them in a spreadsheet to do more research and plan.

When you are finished, you will have a ton of phrases you can sort through to find blogging topics and which will help you implement more long tail keywords.


Screenshot: Soovle
Screenshot: Soovle

Soovle is a one stop shop search engine that delivers search suggestions from a myriad of search engines. The interface is extremely simple with icons for navigation.

Soovle is a great place to find lots of different content ideas quickly and in one place. Ann Smarty provides a terrific breakdown of the web-based tool in this article at Search Engine Land.


Google Autocomplete Suggestion is a fantastic option you can use without spending additional money searching for ideas.

Screenshot: Google Autocomplete Suggestions
Screenshot: Google Autocomplete Suggestions

When doing a search for keywords, Google will give you autocomplete suggestions in the search bar. Additionally, on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP’s), Google will often give a suggestion of other terms at the bottom.

Sam Hollingsworth explains how autocomplete can help with long tail keyword research,

Autocomplete will help you not just understand different high-value long-tail keywords and the intent surrounding them, but it will also help marketers recognize the volume of content around specific stages of intent, as well as which long-tail phrases and intent stages could be optimized for as a higher priority.

Keywords Everywhere

My newest find for keyword research is Keywords Everywhere. It is a simple Google Chrome extension that scrapes information for keywords wherever you are on the internet, especially on a page that has search results.

Screeshot of Results for MainWP using Keywords Everywhere
Screeshot of Results for MainWP using Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere boasts sixteen websites where you can find various types of CPC information for pay per click projects.

The Keywords Everywhere extension is your free keyword tool. It can be easily installed on either Chrome or Firefox. The best part is that we show you useful google keyword search volume, cost per click and competition data of keywords on multiple websites. Keywords Everywhere

The tool also provides you with a plethora of related keywords which you can explore further or create a CSV file for use.

Wrapping it up

Long tail keywords can be very beneficial, especially for attracting the kind of traffic that can be converted to customers. Simply asking questions customers would ask is a great start to the process. In fact, I often council business owners to make a list of the top 10-15 questions customers or potential customers ask.

Use that list you have created to create content around each question. They will naturally contain long tail keywords that your audience is looking for to answer their questions.

There are several other ways to find those longer search phrases. Brian Dean of Banklinko has created a thorough article which will give you even more ideas.

What ways have you tried to determine long tail keywords?

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