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Long-tail Keyword Research for Financial Advisors

Google are forever changing the way we do SEO, moving the goalposts with further disruptive technology to keep us on our feet. We adapt to everything they throw at us, keeping an ear close to the Google-ground. 

The Hummingbird update then, is no exception: in fact, it has changed the face of search as we know it (for now).

Hummingbird heralded the age of conversational search, as Google began rewarding web pages that focused on ‘long-tail’ search queries. A shift away from the more transactional keywords meant that web pages dealt more directly with customer pain-points. Since Hummingbird, in-depth, informative content experiences far better results than pages that litter keywords hither and yon.

SEO for financial services however, is a different story. Many firms are yet to catch up, and are using outdated methods that do little for their SEO results.

It’s time for this to end. Our latest blog looks in-depth at just how many financial advisors are missing a trick with long-tail keyword research. It’s worth your time - here’s why!

What long-tail keywords do is clear away some of the smoke-and-mirrors of traditional keyword optimisation to bring to the fore actual, real-life search intent.

Chasing the long-tail has its merits: they’re far more specific, and are closer to the phrases that visitors are likelier to use.

Gone are the days of blindly scattering keywords in a blog post. The advent of Hummingbird has given SEOs far more room to be sophisticated, and simple.

Let us give you an example. As a financial advisor specialising in retirement planning, you’ll have greater chance of ranking with keywords like ‘financial advice for retirement’ or, to go even more specific, ‘how to organise finances when retired’.

These kinds of keywords will perform far better than the likes of ‘financial advice’ - this example is broad, vague and will produce results for a whole range of irrelevant services. 

With a long-tail focus, you can strengthen the lines of communication between your organisation and your customers, by effectively speaking the same language. Clever, right?

There are plenty more reasons long-tail SEO is vital for your firm. Here are a few of them.

Less competition...

The logic behind this is clear. The longer the phrase, the fewer web pages are targeted for that phrase. That means it’s less competitive!

Understand that, in some markets it will be incredibly hard to rank. Within highly competitive, saturated markets there are often a few big players that dominate search results, and hold sway.

You can combat this with defining your products or services, and finding your niche. What is it that makes you stand out in your market? Once you have this secured, you’ll be able to differentiate yourself from the rest.

...which helps you beat the competition

As proven in a nine-month study (conducted by an SaaS company based in New York), long-tail keywords are by far the best way of outranking your competition.

The study found that on-page optimisation for long-tail terms produced higher rankings than a page optimised for ‘head terms’, and that long-tail keywords were improved significantly more once optimised than their shorter-tailed cousins.

Long-tail already includes your head terms

Ultimately, the root goal of SEO is to rank for those shorter keywords. Otherwise, why would the big players have such command over them?

So, the best way to rank for such terms is through long-tail keywords.

Google being the sophisticated machine that it is, it easily picks up head terms within long-tail searches.

Great for niche markets

Long-tail keyword optimisation works particularly well for specialised, ‘niche’ markets. For niche markets, your keywords will likely be less broad and much more specific.

Long-tail keywords are ideal for your needs, then! They won’t limit your reach and will allow you to hone in on your specific audience.

Long-tail reflects how people actually search

Perhaps better termed ‘conversational search’, long-tail keywords present users with semantic alternatives that better serve searcher intent.

Together with Hummingbird, long-tail optimisation focuses on the meaning and semantic relation between words; on the sentence as a whole, as opposed to any single keyword or isolated phrase. It - and quite cleverly, might we add - groups together connected terms, understanding their semantic links.

They help your blog strategy

Keyword research can be used to fuel your blog strategy! Again, you can’t disregard your shorter keywords altogether.

Instead, you can enter shorter keywords (otherwise known as ‘root’ keywords) into your chosen keyword tool and get results, pronto. 

A tool that should help with this is Answer the Public. All you need for this is your root keyword, from which the site will then produce plenty of long-tail variant. These are terms that people are actually searching for, too - so it’s a great little insight into search intent!

Provide more value for the reader

As mentioned, the Hummingbird update prioritises length and depth of content, rather than the level to which it is optimised for keywords. For that reason, long-tail keywords naturally provide more value for the reader.

They’re more in-depth and just have a lot more to offer. Search engines will reward long-tail optimisation if done well - they have a sixth sense for helpful, informative content!


To summarise: long-tail is great.

However, one of the barriers you may come across is low search volume. In a way, long-tail keyword optimisation is a bit of an enigma. It’s a mystery, in all honesty. Why?

Because search engines don’t get that much volume from long-tail, because they’re niche. But (and, this is a big but) - they are highly valuable to many businesses.

Yes, they might not get searched that often, but when they are, who’s going to be there reaping the benefits. You: you and your long-tail SEO strategy.

We’re going to leave you with a few tips for proper long-tail implementation:

- Make sure your terms are likely to convert - do your homework, and ensure that your topic isn’t so niche as to garner zero results.

- Make sure they’re low competition - this is a little like a balancing act, we know. On the one hand you need to make sure your terms are of interest to your audience. Yet, on the other you should double check that it’s low competition, too.

- Use long-tail sparingly - your campaigns shouldn’t consist solely of long-tail keywords.

Thanks for listening! Oh, and one more thing - our partners over at HubSpot have devised a clever system of pillar and cluster content, which allows you to create what are essentially long-tail terms around a root keyword. Check it out here.