Growing long tail reach in a keyword-less future

by Chiara Pelizzola on Monday 5 November 2018

When people refer to long tail keywords they’re talking about the millions of unique searches conducted daily that, when taken together, make up a significant portion of internet search volume. These terms have heightened conversion potential since the user can be presumed to be further down the path-to-purchase.


Let’s consider that in the context of someone searching for an evening dress:


  1. Lucy starts her search with the short tail keyword: “dresses”

  2. Finding that “dresses” gives her far too broad a set of results she searches for “evening dresses”

  3. After browsing multiple retailer websites, Lucy makes up her mind about the colour and material she wants and searches for a longer tail keyword “black lace evening dress”

  4. Her search now returns relevant results of retailers that sell the exact type of dress she is looking to buy


When thinking about a user journey like Lucy’s it’s easy to see why increasing visibility on long tail keywords could be a valuable strategy. Not only do they tend to benefit from higher conversion rates, but a less cluttered auction also means CPCs are often cheaper too. But how can businesses grow their coverage of the long tail and what tools are currently out there to help SEM professionals & brands with this exercise?


The unique nature of these searches can make efficient keyword mining a challenge. Historically, match types like Broad Match Modifier (BMM) were the key to capturing the long tail, along with tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Trends, Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence or Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand. Increasingly however, keyword-less campaign types such as Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) and Shopping are becoming essential sources for ‘harvesting’ these unique and highly valuable queries.


Previously, our analysts would automate long tail keyword mining using performance criteria. These might include reaching a certain threshold of traffic volume within a given period or the achievement of a certain number of conversions. The result: a report that contains new keywords worth adding to the account or highlighting an opportunity to expand impression share in certain categories.


The historic approach is distinctly reactive, proactivity is key moving forward. Keyword-less campaigns make it easier to target search queries that match to dynamically updating website content or product feeds in real time. Furthermore, as seen from recent product launches, Google are moving towards dynamically generated ad copy that adapts from query to query bringing heightened relevancy to long tail searches that was previously an achingly manual process. This has benefits not only in terms of coverage but can drive time and cost efficiencies as well.


Moving forward it seems clear that Paid Search will increasingly rely on keyword-less campaign types where targeting is tailored via improved quality of product feeds or autotarget segmentation.  Reaching the long tail has therefore never been easier nor more complex to get right!