There was a time a couple of years back when long-tail keywords were very much in vogue. SEO experts found that it takes lesser time to grab ranks on search engine results with the use of long-tail keywords because the competition is much lower. That period gave way to a state of dormancy when the SEO world forgot all about long-tail keywords! In the recent times, however, these long-tail keywords are making a strong comeback. Startups and small business firms are finding it better to use long-tail keywords to make quicker, often better, impact on search engine results.
Why are long-tail keywords working? The answer lies in the psychology of the user who keys in the words in a search engine box. Users treat search engines as answering tools rather than dictionaries. That is why they are more likely to type in questions rather than terms and jargon. For example, a user is more like to key in “How to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius” rather than “Fahrenheit to Celsius”. The former is a long-tail keyword that the user feels will take them to the answer quicker. That is where long-tail keywords work better from the perspective of the user. Moreover, mobile searches now allow voice inputs to users. Here too, users ask a full question rather than some specific words.
From the SEO point of view, there are two major advantages of targeting long-tail keywords. One is already mentioned above: lesser competition. With most of the competition targeting keywords like “Fahrenheit to Celsius”, you can grab the SERPs on a long-tailed keyword like “How to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius”. This is an easier route to SEO success because it matches the search queries generated by the user. Another advantage is that long-tail keywords allow SEO team to offer relevant searches to users. With the long-tail keyword, you can specifically give users exactly what they are looking for. Your conversion rate improves drastically because users are getting what they want at the very first search!
There will, of course, be more people who use the conventional keywords for their searches. You cannot turn a blind eye to that. But using long-tail keywords will get you better returns when you are running on a constrained budget or looking for a toe-hold in the domain. Once you get some traffic coming through the long-tail keywords, you can target the conventional keywords.