Long Tail Keywords: Using Keyword Phrases That Make Sales!

Writing Content is one of the easiest things you have to do in your online business, and also one of the most difficult at the same time.

Anyone can write words and create content. But writing SEO Content that converts visitors into buyers does take a bit of skill & intuition.

It's easy enough to write optimized content to get rankings & website traffic. But traffic alone doesn't pay the bills. You want to write content that attracts buyers and makes sales...

"I'm researching keywords, writing content, getting backlinks, have some good rankings and I'm even getting traffic - but still no sales. Help!"

All Long Tail Keywords Are Not Created Equal

Long Tail Keyword Phrases are phrases with 3 or more words. In some of the broader niches, a 3-word phrase is barely considered "long tail". The phrase will be a very specific search, compared to the usual broad searches.

So it's less about the number ("3-5 words") and more how specific the search is.

These more specific phrases convert at a higher rate than general search queries, because the searcher knows exactly what they want. Writing content or creating pages around these long tail keyword phrases gives you a better opportunity to create a strong message to market match.

Imagine the difference between creating a page for "shoes" and one for "jimmy choo bridal shoes". Even though "shoes" gets a lot more searches, it's too general to target. You have no idea what kind of shoes your website visitors want to buy.

To give you an example, I recently wrote a blog post for an 8-word long tail keyword phrase. The phrase is How Can I Promote My Website For Free? which gets approximately 235 searches a day according to WordTracker.

That blog post ranks in the top 10 on Google for that phrase.

Mission accomplished, right?

Commercial Keyword Phrases vs Informational Keyword Phrases

In the 8-word phrase I gave above as an example, there are two words that peg it as an informational search: how and free. The searcher is obviously looking for free information (credit card tucked firmly away in wallet).

Compare this to a phrase like "buy online advertising" (15 searches/day). Or "should I buy a website template" (30 searches/day). These searchers are trying to make a buying decision (credit card close by, if not in hand).

While it's tempting to use long tail keywords with higher search volume, if your goal is to make sales then you want to target the commercial keyword phrases. And don't let low search volume deter you - write the content once, and let it continue to work for you for years. It is worth it. If your target market is searching for it, you are doing them a disservice by not 'responding' to that query with content.

It's not impossible to convert visitors who are looking for information, into buyers. But it is harder - and you'll see a much lower conversion rate. When you are writing content specifically to promote a product or to make sales, you want to target and optimize for the commercial keyword phrases.

The main point is that you analyze the keyword phrases from the searcher's perspective, and determine the intent of the search. What is it they are most likely looking for? Your goal as a content publisher is to offer them exactly that.

Using Informational Keyword Phrases

When writing SEO Content, you want to make use of both Informational and Commercial Keyword Phrases. You'll focus on the latter for creating content that contains a strong call-to-action for a specific product or service. But info-searches have their place in your web content development plan as well.

It takes both types of content to fully serve your market.

Informational search queries can be used to create content or copy for:

  • Opt-in Incentives (reports, guides, etc)
  • Newsletter Titles
  • Internal links for your "money pages"
  • Articles for Article Marketing
  • Forum Topics (for inbound links & networking)
  • Squidoo Lenses

...etc. In addition to being a great source for content ideas that can generate quality inbound links, the info keyword phrases are good to use on a blog where you are trying to build a loyal readership or establish a reputation as a market leader.

But when it comes to making sales... target the keyword phrases that show obvious intent to buy.

This is really only a slight shift in mindset when you are doing keyword research. We've been taught to focus on the search volume, analyze the competition in the search results, and if it looks like an "easy rank" then create a page or blog post and get backlinks.

It's easy enough to stay busy going through the motions and create keyword-optimized content that ranks well. But if you're getting good search engine rankings, and you're starting to get traffic to that content, and still not making sales - this (the intent of the search) may very well be the missing ingredient.

Continue to target your market through their queries for info, but use that content strategically to build up your "money pages". And put a strong focus on creating commercial content for those in your market that are specifically searching for help in their buying decision.

We've actually discussed SEO Content & Long Tail Keywords before in great detail, but over the weekend at the NAMS Workshop I discovered it still wasn't super clear for everyone. Understandable - it actually took me awhile to wrap my head around the concept as well. But boy did it ever make a difference!

Here are two recent posts on this topic that contain even more examples and ideas:

SEO Content | Affiliate Marketing Tips

I put together 4 downloads for those that wanted guides to work with after my presentation at NAMS. You'll find both of those posts as PDF Files, along with 2 others, in the protected post. The password is "nams3".

Study the tutorials & posts, look over your own keyword content strategy, and then let me know if you have any questions - you can leave a comment below. Include the link to your site in the comment field for your URL if you would like me to take a look as well.


p.s. Next we'll discuss Keyword Qualifiers to help you identify and cater to the buyers in your niche. Subscribe below to receive email notification of this and more great tutorials that will help you take your online business to the next level:

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. This was something I really struggled with on my cross stitch site without even realizing it. All my keywords and traffic were people looking for free things, it was no wonder I wasn't making any money LOL I didn't even realize I was doing it until we evaluated the site in the brainstorming forum.

  2. I remember wishing SEO Fast Start had a list of "commercial modifiers" such as buy, purchase, shop, etc. that would help to increase sales. Your post is timely as I now have a new approach to my main site thanks to you genius folks at NAMS 😉

  3. Jerry Nielsen says


    A great lesson for me on iMarketOnMac. I've been trying to figure out how to get my posts which are more informational than commercial to attract readers interested in my affiliate offers. I can't believe it never occured to me to look for "buyer" clues in the long-tail keyword phrases I was using in Market Samurai to look for useful keywords.

    Thank you,

    Jerry Nielsen - iMarketOnmac
    Follow me on Twitter - @JerryNielsen

  4. I am struggling with this right now. While I am getting a good amount of traffic, I am not getting buyers. I appreciate you laying it out for us. Hopefully, this will help me get some pages ranked for people with intention to buy.

  5. Lynn,

    Excellent post as always. I seem to always come back to you when ever I need information on almost anything. I still struggle sometimes with keywords and your explanations make it clear again when I get lost in the keyword maze.

    Follow me @monnaellithorpe.com

  6. Brian Inman says

    I never looked at keywords like that before. I definitely see your point that getting 5000 visitors is not as good as getting 10 visitors who are looking to spend money.

    I think sometimes all bloggers get caught up in the numbers games, and you make it very clear that numbers help, but quality is always better than quantity.

  7. Great topic. I've just started to write articles for my site and I am always torn between writing for information and writing to sell. I am trying to find that happy medium which I know exists but is harder then I thought. My other challenge is finding a useful keyword phrase suggestion tool. Google likes to only give stats on one or two words. Is there a system that would tell me whole phrases?

    • I use http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com And I use it all day long, so I just keep it open in a tab in my browser. I use it to find phrases when starting a forum thread, writing an article or blog post, creating a web page, setting up a squidoo lens - basically I choose a phrase to target for ANY content I am creating online.

      As for the happy medium, you definitely want to write both. Keep in mind that people and search engines read pages, not sites. So you are targeting individual readers with each piece of content that you create. The exception is a blog where you are building a readership and writing for brand/reputation. But even then you should be creating SEO Content.

      If you need a metric, try creating 1 commercial post to every 2 informational posts. If blogging, you can keep it themed & relevant by choosing related topics.

      • Henrik Flensborg says

        Hey Lynn,

        Ever thought about using http://labs.wordtracker.com/seo-blogger to do your "while-i'm-writing" keyword research?

        Last I looked it wasn't updated for the new Firefox browser, but I've been running mine in Flock instead

        • Hey Henrik,
          Just had a play with that labs tool and it is brilliant - seems to work with the latest Firefox version too.

      • Lynn,

        Great information I also use freekeywords as well as market samurai (paid vsn) too.
        My main informational site is too vague and I will be changing it, however, for my affiliate sites, I use the same tactic but I was including the "free, info, etc' type keywords and got a lot of no-intent traffic. So...I'm going to adopt your tactic, make the changes to my sites and I can confidently say without "hoping" I will make sales. Logically if my homework is done, the sales will come.

  8. Hi Lynn,

    Its a excellent post and this why everyday i come to your site Clicknewz.com to learn and apply whatever you share.
    Thank you

  9. Light bulbs going off! They always do when I come and read your blog or listen to you teach. Now that I know and understand keyword research and SEO (and yes I love it now LOL), I still learn something new every time I read your blog posts. Obviously I still have a lot to learn, I just don't think enough about commercial phrases but have focused more on the informational. I need to really look at things and mix them up!

  10. Yea, this is exactly what is the problem with long-tail keywords. In theory it's all clear to me but in reality I still sometimes struggle to realize which keyword is a buy one an which one is just "get me some free stuff" kind of. And another problem with these long-tail keywords is the fact that more and more people optimize for them, so it's not that easy to find good long-tail keywords like it was 1-2 years ago.

    Information long-tail keywords can also be used to make some money from PPC, of course then you either must have some bulls-eye keyword with lots of traffic and no competition, or just dozens if not hundreds of long-tailers which have just a few dozens of searches a month.

    However, there is still an increasing problem to find those keywords, because all this bum marketing approach made things a little bit more complicated than before 😀

  11. As an SEO consultant, I am always on the lookout for long tail keywords. I use a program called market samurai to search out those buyers keywords. Just as important as finding long tail keywords. Making sure there is enough traffic to warrant optimization is critical.

  12. Annie Daniel says

    I like the way you emphasized the two words: "how" and "free". If your visitors are keen observers, they will notice your hot topics at the site of your page. Most of the titles are keyword phrases, which contain any of the two words: how and free. This only proves that you really practice what you teaching to us.

  13. Rahman Mehraby says


    Your post clarifies the difference between merely long-tail keywords and The keywords that help websites convert visitors.

    The so-called commercial long-tail keyphrases are more precisely directed at the results we'd like to achieve. I happened to learn about this very important point when I was struggling to discover why I couldn't convert those visitors who even praised me for the information I shared with them online.

    The reason was simply because they were looking for the information they'd received. So, "Mission accomplished, good bye for now!" was the message I couldn't hear or see.

  14. I have learned a lot from this article post Lynn. Your SEO Content is a diamond for anyone and i happy to find you Lynn online. Thank you for your sharing

  15. Excellent article. I always love reading your content filled articles. You rock!

  16. This was brilliant post! Terry! Now I think I feel a bit nauseous. I've been stumbling around in this business for a while and believe I just created a whole site on information not knowing the difference. Gesh!

    I'm certainly glad I joined you elite forum.

  17. Judith Atkinson MLM, work from home, health,wellness, boomers. says

    Light bulb time for me too. SEO has been my focus since Jan.1. As my sales would be my MLM (health and nutrtion) business how do these long tale phrases affect me? Which type should I use and where?

    I also have my other site http://attractionmarketingandmindet.com

  18. I have heard a lot of online people make it using long term keyword searches. So in know this is really effective. Like Ken, i use and I also recommend market samurai for finding the right informational and commercial keyword phrases.

  19. Matthew Jones says

    More people are targeting long tail keyword for their strategy to help them boost their sales. The good thing here is, it's actually a proven strategy agreed by most webmasters. However, it's very challenging to do the long tailed keyword search because most experience webmasters are actually doing this.

  20. What a great post about how to get started making some sales and building up some cash to continue developing a website. Your explanation on long tail keywords has cleared some of the fog about them from our heads.

    @AffiliatePro7 on Twitter

  21. One way to research long tail keywords that will probably start converting well is to search for a generic term you are searching for (say plus size) and then scroll down to the bottom of the search results. There you will find what Google suggests people query to narrow down their results - as you can see right now, plus size halloween costumes is one of the options.

    Alternatively, you can also just start typing in your keywords into the search box and wait until the drop down of recently popular related queries appear. Those get you two different sets of long tail keyword phrases to go for!

  22. This is a great post. I never ever knew that there is a difference between commercial Keyword Phrases and Informational Keyword Phrases
    I could see clearly where i have been failing particularly in keyword research and it's application in content creation. I am elated by this knowledge

  23. I was just beginning to do keyword research for all my site pages. Glad I read your article today. Chances are I would have been side tracked into using the wrong words and not enough long tail phrases to convert. Now I have a keyword strategy for an informational blog to link to my site that will hopefully get some additional conversions.
    Your writing techniques are excellent. Everything is written in a way that most people should be able to undertand. The examples are also good. Gald your here writing these articles. I need information that works.

  24. More people are targeting long tail keyword for their strategy to help them boost their sales. The good thing here is, it’s actually a proven strategy agreed by most webmasters. However, it’s very challenging to do the long tailed keyword search because most experience webmasters are actually doing this.

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