Long-Tail Keywords: What They Are & How to Find Them

Anyone who uses SEO to improve website visibility needs to know the different types of keywords—including long-tail keywords.

Let's look at why they matter and how to use them.

Long-Tail Keywords: What They Are & How to Find Them:

What Are Long-Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are specific search queries that are typically longer and more detailed than other keywords. Think of them as highly descriptive keyword phrases.

They are also usually easier to rank for. As is reflected by their low keyword difficulty scores (i.e., a metric that shows how easy or difficult it is to rank at the top of organic search results for a keyword).

Here's a quick comparison between the three types of keywords:

  • Long-tail keywords: Low-volume keywords that are very specific
  • Short/medium-tail keywords: Somewhat specific keywords with medium search volume
  • Head terms: High-volume keywords that are the least specific

Let's look at some examples of long-tail vs. short-tail keywords.

As Semrush's Keyword Overview tool shows, the long-tail keyword "best trail running shoes for women" has 1,600 monthly searches and a keyword difficulty of 42%.

Semrush Keyword Overview tool

On the other hand, the short-tail keyword "running shoes" has 165,000 monthly searches and a keyword difficulty of 86%.

short-tail keyword

And the head term "shoes" has 550,000 monthly searches and a keyword difficulty of 100%.

Semrush Keyword Overview tool

Why You Need Long-Tail Keywords

Targeting multiple, related long-tail keywords can help you rank better and faster on more search results pages. Which can increase traffic to your website.

Collectively, long-tail keywords make up the majority of Google searches. Because there are so many variations of a long-tail keyword that you can rank for. As is illustrated by the graph below.

Google keyword searches

And because long-tail keywords are such particular queries, searchers who use them often have higher intent to convert.

As a result, these keywords may drive more signups, purchases, or other conversions.

Here’s an example.

Running the head term "garden" through Keyword Overview shows that it has a keyword difficulty of 86%. Which means ranking for this term would probably be quite challenging.

In addition, the intent of this keyword is “informational.” Which means people searching for “garden” are looking for non-specific information related to gardens.

keyword overview semrush short-tail garden

In contrast, the long-tail keyword "hanging garden tool storage" has a keyword difficulty of 13%. Which means this keyword is relatively easy to rank for.

And the intent of this keyword is “Commercial.” So searchers are probably looking into buying a hanging garden tool storage solution.

keyword Commercial

Even though the keyword’s monthly search volume is lower, it targets the right audience. Especially if you happen to sell storage solutions.

How to Find Long-Tail Keywords

Here are two ways to find relevant long-tail keywords for your website.

Use Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool

With Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool, you can access hundreds of thousands of long-tail keywords instantly. Along with important keyword data.

Semrush Keyword Magic Tool

To start, open the Keyword Magic Tool. Enter a relevant head term, like “finance” in the search box. Press "Search."

Pro tip: Enter your domain name into the space provided to get personalized, AI-powered keyword metrics.

Keyword Magic Tool

You'll see a list of keywords organized by search volume. In this case, the list includes over 1.6 million keywords.

If you entered your domain, you should also see a “PKD%” or personal keyword difficulty column. PKD% uses AI to calculate how easy or difficult it will be for your website, specifically, to rank for each keyword.

Keyword Magic Tool / PKD%

To find long-tail keywords, use the following filters with these settings:

  • Set the “Volume” filter to “101” to “1,000”
  • Set the “KD %” or “Personal KD %” filter’s “Custom range to “0%” to “29%” (i.e., keywords that are very easy or easy to rank for)
  • Use the “Advanced filters” menu to set “Word count” to start at three by entering “3” into the “From” field 

Keyword Magic Tool Semrush

Get even more relevant long-tail keywords using Semrush’s filters.

Filter out specific words using the list of groups in the left sidebar. Click the eye icon to the right of any group to exclude those keywords from the list.

 Semrush’s filters

Or find question-based long-tail keywords by pressing the "Questions" button in the upper-left corner.

Questions button

These question keywords can give you ideas for blog post topics or featured snippets to target in your website content.

Pro tip: Click on a keyword from the generated list to find even more specific keyword data using Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool. Like search volume, keyword difficulty, personal keyword difficulty, intent, and keyword trend.

Semrush Keyword Overview tool metrics

And potential keyword ideas, keyword clusters, and more. So you can target more relevant keywords and generate more organic traffic from Google.

keyword ideas

Analyze Your Competitors’ Keywords

Your competitors who rank well on Google are probably doing something right.

So look at what keywords they’re targeting. And determine whether those keywords are relevant enough to add to your SEO strategy.

Luckily, that’s easy to do with a competitive intelligence tool like Semrush's Keyword Gap. The tool identifies keywords that competitors rank well for but you don't.

To start, open the Keyword Gap tool. 

Enter your website domain into the first box. Then, enter up to four of your competitors' domains in the boxes that follow.

And click "Compare" to view your content gap analysis.

Keyword Gap tool

You’ll see keyword recommendations right at the top. In the “Top Opportunities” and “Keyword Overlap” boxes.

Top Opportunities / Keyword Overlap

Scroll down to see even more opportunities.

Click on the “Missing” tab to see keywords all your competitors rank for that you don’t rank for.

keyword gap Missing tab

The “Weak” tab to see keywords that your competitors rank well for. And that your domain ranks poorly for.

Weak tab keyword-gap

Or the “Untapped” tab to see keywords that at least one of your competitors rank well for. That you and other competitors might not have content for.

Untapped tab keyword gap

Similar to Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool, the Keyword Gap tool also has filters for keyword difficulty and search volume.

Find long-tail keyword opportunities based on your competitors’ content by using the following filter settings:

  • Set “KD” to 0% to 29% to filter for keywords that are easy to rank for
  • Set the “Volume” filter’s “To” field to 1,000 to find keywords with enough searches per month
  • Set the “Position” > “Competitors” filter to “Top 20” to see keywords your competitors rank well for

Keyword Gap tool filters

Now, you have a concise list of potentially high-converting long-tail keywords to target.

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords

Use your list of long-tail keywords to optimize your website content. To increase your chances of ranking well and attracting relevant traffic to your website.

Semrush's on-page SEO guide can help you master the basics of strategically placing target keywords on your site.

Here, we'll cover two important elements of on-page SEO.

Analyze Search Intent

Content that doesn’t match search intent won’t rank well over the long term. Even if that content mentions relevant keywords. You need to understand and analyze a keyword’s search intent to use it correctly.

Here’s what that means.

Google serves users content that satisfies their queries.

Someone searching for “top dog treats” probably wants to see a list of dog treats that are nutritious or good for training. Because they intend to make a purchase.

So your article entitled, “What Is a Dog Treat” probably won’t rank. Because the searcher wants to buy a product (i.e., commercial intent), not find out what a “dog treat” is (i.e., informational intent).

There are four primary types of search intent:

  • Informational: Searchers want educational content (e.g., "how much should I feed my dog?")
  • Navigational: Searchers want to get to a specific webpage or website (e.g., "Chewy login")
  • Commercial: Searchers are researching before making a buying decision (e.g., "best dog food for active dogs")
  • Transactional: Searchers are ready to make a purchase (e.g., "buy dog food")

To analyze search intent for multiple, related keywords, use Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.

Simply enter a keyword into the tool. And hit “Search.”

Then, pay attention to the “Intent” column.

And use the “Intent” filter to find keywords with a specific intent.

Keyword Magic Tool

To analyze intent for a specific keyword, use Semrush's Keyword Overview tool.

Again, enter your keyword into the tool. To generate a dashboard with tons of keyword data—including search intent.

Semrush Keyword Overview tool intent

Get even more search intent insights by scrolling down to the “SERP Analysis” section of the dashboard. And analyzing the top-ranking articles for your keyword.

SERP Analysis section

Click on the arrow icon beside each article link to open the linked page. And scroll through the content.

Take note of the following details per page:

  • The content type: Is it an article, a landing page, or other type of content?
  • The page’s title and headers: What are the main topics covered on each page?
  • Potential secondary keywords: Are there related keywords sprinkled throughout the content?
  • Word count: How many words appear on the top-ranking page? Is the content a long read?

Use these pieces of information to plan your own content. So your content aligns with what’s already ranking while also adding even more value for your readers.

Optimize Your Content

Top-ranking content is readable, optimized for SEO, and original. It should also be consistent with your brand’s tone of voice.

Your target long-tail keyword should appear in the following areas of your content:

  • The page title
  • Your meta description
  • In one or two headers
  • In the first few paragraphs of your text
  • Throughout the body text of your page

A quick and easy way to optimize website content for long-tail queries is with Semrush's AI-powered SEO Writing Assistant. It automatically scores content in four areas:

  • Readability: Does the content align with the expected education level of the audience?
  • SEO: Does the content include relevant keywords?
  • Tone of voice: Is the tone consistently casual, neutral, or formal?
  • Originality: Does the content have plagiarism issues?

Open SEO Writing Assistant and click "+ Analyze new text."

SEO Writing Assistant

Enter your target keyword and set a target audience. Press "Get recommendations." Or click “Set a new goal” if you’ve gotten recommendations previously. 

semrush writing assistant recommendations

You'll get a list of recommended keywords to include in your content to improve your chance of ranking.

semrush writing assistant

If you’ve already written your content, paste it into the field provided. If not, try out SEO Writing Assistant’s built-in AI writer. By clicking “Compose” within the “Smart Writer” panel.

semrush writing assistant AI

As you write content, monitor the score in the upper-right corner. Select any of the four elements to see tips to improve your score.

To make content easier to read or to improve the tone of voice, highlight text you want to rephrase. Then, select "Rephraser" on the "Smart Writer" panel. Click “Rephrase.”

You’ll have one or more ideas to review.


Click "Replace and close" to insert the reworded text you prefer. Then, continue writing optimized content.

Make Your Way to the Top with Long-Tail Keywords

Developing a long-tail keyword strategy can help you capture potentially valuable ranking opportunities and improve your website's visibility.

Sign up for a free Semrush account to find long-tail keywords. Start using Semrush's Keyword Magic Tool today.

About the Author
Djanan Kasumovic, a dynamic force in digital marketing, leads as the Head of Growth at Influencer Marketing Hub. His distinguished career includes roles at high-profile companies like SnappCar, a leader in European car sharing, Travelbird, Kids Luxury Group and B&S. Djanan has been at the forefront of innovative digital marketing processes, mastering areas such as AI content production, AI marketing, and AI influencer marketing, establishing himself as a pioneer in these fields.