John McDougall: Hi, I’m John McDougall at McDougall Interactive and today, my guest is Jake Cain of Long Tail Pro, a keyword research tool that helps you find profitable keywords. Today, we’re talking about how to use Long Tail Pro to find long tail keywords. Welcome, Jake.
Jake: Thank you, John. Thanks for having me.
John McDougall: Yeah, absolutely. And so why are long tail keywords important?
Jake: Yeah, it’s a great question, I mean, long tail keywords basically are those more specific search phrases that people are looking for in Google, and that makes up the bulk of searches that are done worldwide, are people looking for pretty specific things. In fact, about 15 percent of all searches on a given day have never been searched before, according to Google.
And so, people are asking a lot of really complicated and specific questions, and so that’s important because, for your business, being able to answer those questions, and sort of become an authority, gives you an opportunity to earn trust and to win clients, and so the other part of why it’s important is if you’re just starting out in any kind of business, if it’s financial business or some service business or just a local brick and mortar business, long tail keywords are a great opportunity for you to compete with the big guys.
If you start out, and let’s just say that you’ve got a health food store, you’re in some sort of nutrition space. A lot of people start out with the wrong mindset. You think that I’m in the health space, so I really want to be ranking on the first page of Google for dieting or healthy eating and that’s just not realistic to be sort of a one‑man show or have this small business, and think you’re going to be there, because when you look at those on the first page today, it’s probably full of things like Men’s Health and a lot of these household name brands that spend a lot of time and have a full stuff that are working on maintaining that.
And so, for a small guy to come in and say, “Hey, I’m going to be there”. You know, maybe one day, but our suggestion is that that’s not where you start, that you start with long tail keywords and that’s why it’s important — it’s to come in and say, “what are the things that are still related, the things that are just more specific searches in my space”, so rather than “healthy eating”, maybe I could get into things that are a little bit more niche, like “clean‑eating” or specific types of diets or grocery lists for certain types of diets.
Things like that, the people are still searching for, they still want to know, but you can really focus on and target those things with your business, with your site, and get those people in, make them readers, you would find sort of that low‑hanging fruit you can compete. Get those folks in, and take them from a reader to a subscriber and maybe even a customer.
Ultimately, you make a fan out of that person, helps build up your authority when you start with long tail keywords first. And so, that’s usually where we suggest for people, especially if you’re just getting started online, kind of build up that presence, start there and work your way up to some of those bigger, more generic terms. I think it’s a pretty good approach a lot of people can take and we’ve seen it work time and time again.
John McDougall: And, what does your keyword tool do that Google Keyword Planner doesn’t do?
Jake: Yep, that’s a good question. So, when you start out with Long Tail Pro, the first part of it, it does use Google data to give you the amount of how often the keyword is searched and they give you the cost per click, if you’re interested in that information. And so, when you first start out, you’ll start out by giving the tool a seed keyword, and then it’ll give you some ideas and I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
It will give you some more ideas about other types of keywords you could focus on. And then what it does, it’s different than the keyword planner as it goes a step further. It’s more of an all‑in‑one tool. So, I’ve got all my ideas, and that’s great. I could get that with the Google Keyword Planner, like you mentioned. But now, I want to analyze those.
And so, with our tool, you can click a button and it’ll calculate the competitiveness of that keyword. And so, it’s a big time saver and it keeps you from wasting time in the future. If I see whatever, a keyword that’s searched 40,000 times a month and I think, “oh, that’s it,” I’m going to go after that keyword, and I have no idea what my competition looks like for that keyword, it could be a complete waste of time if I try to build this big resource to focus on that and I just have no prayer from the outset of getting there. It’s going to take me years for that to happen. It wasn’t worth your time. So, that’s what our tool does. You can click on all that data that you get.
We’re going to score it on a scale of one to 100, and tell you, what’s the likelihood that you can rank for that keyword, and then you can even dive in further, so we pull in data from Moz, and some other places, so you know what’s the domain authority for the sites that are currently in the top 10 for this keyword that you’re considering, that you’re considering writing a piece of content about.
And so, you can see the domain authority, the page authority, how well they’re focused on the title, and their title tags of their page, how will they focus on this keyword you’re looking at, and so a handful of other things.
And so, it kind of puts all that in front of you. And then from there, if you find the keyword that you like, you can click the favorite spot, and then it’ll just put along your favorites list for you, so you can just sort of keep track of it there. And then we build on a rank tracker as well, so as you have built that content out, you can just plug in your URL and the keyword you’re focused on, that will sort of keep track of where you’re ranking in Google for that.
And so, you can sort of go to one place, and do all of these different things. So, it really is sort of a keyword management tool that pulls in a lot of different pieces, puts them all in one place. But I think the biggest thing is just sort of the time savings of if I didn’t have something like Long Tail Pro, I’d be jumping around three or four different places to do all these and we sort of brought it all to one spot for you.
John McDougall: And so, how about a little bit of a step‑by‑step, if I’m going to go to longtailpro.com, is that the main URL?
Jake: Yeah, that’s correct. So, if you go to longtailpro.com, one thing we do is we have a free trial of the tool, a 10‑day free trial. It’s one of those no obligation free trials, which is pretty cool, so just your name, your email address, no credit card info or anything like that and we’ll send you a link to download it, you have a fully functional version of it for 10 days to see if you like it. This is very non‑commitment upfront, but you’re right, if you go to longtailpro.com, you can do that or see the tool as well.
But basically, once you download the tool, you install it. It is a software that works on Mac or PC, so it doesn’t matter there, but you’ll download and install. And then once you open it up, it will walk you through creating your first campaign and so all that is just a set of keywords. So, if you’re already in the financial space or whatever, you just give that a name. That’s just for your tracking, so as you go down the road, and you’re doing more and more searches, you might want to have different categories of keywords.
So, I’m going to set up a campaign. And then I mentioned the thought of seed keywords, so the next step is that I want to give the tool five to 10 starter keywords, just some general ideas, so if I’m in the nutrition space for instance, it might be dieting, healthy eating, grocery lists, particular types of diets.
These might be things I start typing in. I’ve just got a handful of seed keywords to start with and then I’ll tell the tool, “go ahead and generate keywords based on that.” So, that’s where it’s going to use that data from Google and it’s going to pull in a bunch of related terms to what I started with, so my five words I started with. It pulls in hundreds and hundreds of terms that are very similar to those, and it lets you analyze those.
And so, before you get to that point, I got ahead of myself a bit. If you want to do so, before I actually go generate the keywords, I have some options for filtering there when you’re doing your set‑up ahead of time. So, if you do want to put parameters on it, for instance to say, “I only want to see keywords that get searched x amount of times per month, at least a hundred times per month, anything less, just leave it out”.
You can do that. You can also put parameters on it to say if the cost per click is over this amount, just leave it out — I don’t want to see it. And so, you can sort of set those things ahead of time, and then go ahead and generate your keywords. And so, it’ll just give you things that meet your criteria, and give you some other suggestions based on your seed keywords of what you might want to target.
So, from there, you have a pretty big list of maybe hundreds or even thousands of keywords. And then, as you’re in the tool, what you can do is you can sort it by volume, or you can just scroll down the list as it appears. And then when you see things that you want to analyze further, this is where you can click on the calculate button, which will be off to your right, and just see “what’s the number that it gives me?”
And in our case, we like to tell people with our — and this is sort of a proprietary calculation that we do, and as I mentioned, it’s on a scale of one to 100 — we tell folks that if it’s under 30, that’s a very low competition keyword. That’s something you should look into a little bit further and probably something you could rank for. If it’s in the mid‑30s, it’s probably a medium competition.
And once it gets to 40 and above, it’s a fairly high competition keyword generally. And so if I click on something, let’s say I see a keyword of interest here that I think it might be something I want to target with a piece of content. I click on it and the keyword competitiveness is 52, I know right off that I’m probably not going to be able to rank for this keyword, as sort of my small business, it might take me a really, really long time.
I’m probably going to keep looking for something that’s a little bit more in my range. And so, as you’re going through that, you can kind of just look to the list and the ones that you do and want to look into deeper, you just click on the keyword. We’re pulling that data from Moz and some other places and you can really get a nice look at the top 10 to see, is this a space I can compete in?
Can I realistically build a really great piece of content for this keyword, crack the top 10 based on my competitors here? And so we put all that data to your fingertips and once you find the ones you like, you just click on the little star button, and that’ll add it to your favorites list and you just keep going on and on, and on. So, it’s really a pretty quick way to sort of rifle through a lot of keywords and get a real high level, and then even a deeper level understanding of “what’s my odds of competing here?” And then you’re saving them all in one spot.
And, so that’s kind of how you work through it. And so once you’ve exhausted that list — let’s say I started out with five seed keywords, gone through the list, maybe I found a dozen or so that I really want to like and hang on to and target with a feature piece of content. What I can do is just go start the process over, so I just go back to my first step. I put in maybe some more specific seed keywords.
Again from, I’m in the nutrition space, maybe I put in different types of diets, different types of exercises if I want to get into that, and see what it comes up with. And so, you can sort of rinse and repeat that process. And as you do it, you’re just saving as you go. And before you know it, you’ve got a pretty good list of keywords, which ultimately can become topics for you to focus on for your blog or videos, things like that for your site, things that you’re going to try to rank for.
John McDougall: And, how often should you use Long Tail Pro, in your opinion to do keyword research?
Jake: The answer to that honestly, is that it depends. I mean, when we do it, when we’re starting a site or even for our own businesses a lot of times, I kind of do binge keyword research.
John McDougall: Yeah.
Jake: I do a lot upfront. And, if you do that and you can set aside the time, it’s not something you have to do every day or every week or whatever. I mean, if I come into my space, and especially if you’re somebody that’s starting out, and I’ve never really focused on long tail keywords with any intent before, I can come in and get 30, 40, 50 keywords that are really good. It’s probably going to take me a while to create all that content, then I need to do what I need to do to rank for those keywords because obviously, finding the keyword is only one part of the battle.
I mean, after that, you’re still going to create excellent content to rank there. It’s not just because you find a low competition word. It doesn’t mean you automatically get a free pass to the top 10 of Google. You’ve still got to create content that deserves to be on page one, so that takes time. So, if I can find 30, 40 keywords, that’s going to take me a while. Hopefully, you have a team which might help you, but that’s going to take you or create that content, and then I can come back.
So, I think finding some kind of rotation you can work with, and again maybe it’s a matter of preference, and then maybe you want to come in, that’s overwhelming, you find five, you go create the content, you come back and get five more and maybe it does become more of a weekly thing or every other week.
But certainly, it’s a question of what kind of resources do you have internally. Do you have people that are creating content full‑time or is it just you, and you’re doing a million different things? And if so, I think you’ll find that you can do it less frequently, but still get all the keywords that you need.
John McDougall: Yeah, absolutely, sometimes, when I’m blogging daily, which — I do a little bit of binge blogging here and there. I’ll do 30 days — 30 posts in 30 days. I’ve done it a couple or two, three times and I usually don’t have time to blog every single day. I would love to, but when I’m doing that, I’m doing keyword research every day because when I’m writing, I not only use the keywords in the title and in the heading of the blog post on the page, but I like to mix it up with related keywords throughout the page as well, so yeah, frequently.
Jake: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, that’s something else we do. I mean, just like what you were saying is it doesn’t always mean when you’re using Long Tail Pro or whatever for keyword research, every keyword doesn’t have to be its own post. We were at Traffic and Conversion Summit at San Diego — Digital Marketer, their conference — a month or two ago and they talked about one of their brands as Survival Life, it’s a survival company and that sort of thing and they were demonstrating this.
And, they had a blog post and I think it was in the top 10 for something like some crazy amount of several thousand keywords — this one post. And, they built a huge post and it was paracord projects or whatever — I’m not in the survival space. But basically, what they did was, they found a really good keyword to sort of target as the main keyword. And then down below, it was a really long list post, and so basically, each item in their list, they went into a detail about it. But, each item in their list was even a longer tail keyword. It gets searched 10, 20 times a month and they were ranking for all those as well.
John McDougall: Do you remember the title of that post or roughly what was it all about?
Jake: Not exactly, but it was something with the effect of “36 paracord projects”. So, if you searched for that, I’m sure you would find it. But then, basically, each one of those 36 paracord projects — they have making bracelets, and making all these different kinds of stuffs you can do — so like each one of those different projects, they were in the top 10 for those as well because they’re really low competition and they had a really great piece of content, and it was ranking for tons of stuff.
John McDougall: But, in this case, it was one long blog post?
Jake: Exactly, yeah.
John McDougall: Yeah, but they did a good job with the related keywords and the long tail.
Jake: Yep, yep, so you’ll find that when you’re doing the keyword research and you find, man, these 10 things, they’re all really, really similar — they’re kind of all under the same heading. Maybe it’s one big post and this is sort of my head keyword that I’m going to use, but then these I’m sort of focusing on sub‑headers throughout my content — that strategy works too. So, a lot of times, you’ll find some things you can just sort of combine together as far as from a content perspective. You can still rank for both. People do it all the time.
John McDougall: Yeah, as long as some of our listeners that don’t take that the wrong way that “oh, target like 50 different terms per page.” You do need to focus within reason, pick a clean title tag with one or two main key phrases that you’re really focused on, and the title should have a good key phrase in it — but yeah, you don’t want to go spamming, doing that from a spammy perspective, and just going blasting it all over.
But, I think that was a pretty good example of how without pretending to target 50 keywords on one page every time, that was a good example of how in a healthy way, if you’re providing helpful information on these 36 different paracord projects or whatever it was. Yeah, if they are related keywords that go with each of those 36, it’s natural to use those, so I don’t think Google is going to be upset if you’re providing good, deep, helpful information. Yeah, so that’s good.
Jake: Yeah, I totally agree. I think in that case, maybe the question to ask yourself is, is this keyword, am I able to do like a really helpful post about it? Like, is it worthy of its own post? And so just going back to that example because it’s a real one, that 36 paracord projects, maybe the paracord bracelet, how much can I say about that? I’ve got a paragraph.
I explain to you how to do that, and put in a YouTube video or whatever, is that even — you know what I’m saying — if you come to that and that’s its own page, it might be sort of disappointing, like what is this? In their case in that topic, it made sense to sort of aggregate all these related ideas into one big — there’s value added there, you sort of putting all these related things in one big list.
So, I think that’s the question maybe to ask yourself if you’re finding some things like that, like, oh, that’s a good keyword, I’d like the rank for that, but man, it’s so specific or it’s so whatever that I’m going to have trouble devoting one full really good piece of content to just this, maybe I look for some related things, and sort of do kind of a combination post there, get a few different related things you can do together.
John McDougall: Yeah, so whatever is right for the user as opposed to — oh, for SEO I need 36 sub‑pages of this one post. Well, if that’s just, like you said, if it’s just, you could only come up with three tweets of content for those 36 pages, then it’s really kind of a pain to have to click all those pages and just read that little blurb. So, those days are gone to just spam it out the other way, and follow some SEO rules say I have to target one keyword per page.
Well, if you did that, and you built 36 crappy little pages that would be anti‑user experience. Yeah. No, I think your words are… that’s some wise advice to really think about what makes the most sense.
Lastly, what about, are there other keyword tools that excite you, or that you use as well — keywordtool.io is kind of cool these days, or Google Suggest, and even some competitors, Market Samurai or things like that, what do you find interesting for other tools?
Jake: Yeah. There’s two other things that we’ll use, and of course we use long our own software for our own stuff, but we use others to sort of compliment what we do because they make it easier. One is not really a software, it’s just a site called Ubersuggest, which basically just takes the Google suggestion — so I’m sure you’ve noticed when you’re searching in Google, it’s kind of suggesting what you might be typing. So, if I type in whatever, diet, it’s sort of trying to fill in the blank for you. So, what Ubersuggest does, you can go in and put your keyword or your niche or whatever, and it will give you an export of all the Google suggestions based on that. And so it’s a great way to generate new keyword ideas and you can plug those in the Long Tail Pro as seed keywords and kind of see what it comes up with.
So, it’s a great way to get hundreds of related ideas that you may have never thought of. Another one that is more of a keyword tool, or definitely is, honestly it does a lot, SEMrush, which you may or may not have used but…
John McDougall: Yeah, I love it. It’s one of my favorite tools.
Jake: Yeah, it’s very cool. We use that, it’s kind of specifically to look at competitor type stuff and finding out the keywords that they’re ranking for, which is pretty cool. It’s a good way. Another, we sort of use it pretty much just for that, to kind of do keyword discovery. And again, it’s just all about trying to think as ideas I haven’t thought of, and then go find some related things. So, a lot of times, like with SEMrush, if I’m in a niche and I have a site about it, I’ll go put in my competitor’s URL.
And, you can see what they’re ranking for in Google on the top 10 or 20. And then if it’s something that sounds kind of interesting, and I see they’re getting a lot of traffic from it, I’ll take that and go plug it into our tool, Long Tail Pro, and then I’ll see what Long Tail Pro has to say about it as far as that competitiveness score, and then also look at the top 10 and do my normal analysis on the Long Tail Pro side of that keyword. So, that’s sort of how we use the two in conjunction. So, yeah, so those are the couple that I use.
John McDougall: Yeah, that’s great, some really good advice, and I appreciate your time today.
Jake: Yeah, no problem. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
John McDougall: Yeah, absolutely. So, this is John McDougall with McDougall Interactive. I’ve been speaking with Jake Cain of Long Tail Pro. Check out longtailpro.com, and see you next time.