The Future of Long-Tail SEO: 2021 Predictions

The long-tail of search is the limitless space of low-volume (and often low-competition) keywords. Tactically, long-tail SEO centers on competing for a large number of low-volume keywords instead of focusing on a small set of high-volume keywords. Long-tail SEO encourages us to let go of vanity, because high-volume, so-called “vanity” keywords are often out of reach or, at best, will empty our bank accounts. Low-volume keywords may be less attractive on the surface, but as you begin to compete on hundreds or thousands of them, they represent more traffic, better conversions, and ultimately more leads and sales.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are low-volume, multi-word phrases, but the long-tail is relative to your starting point. Historically, any given piece of the long-tail was assumed to be low-competition, but that’s changing as people realize the benefits of targeting specific phrases with clear intent (especially commercial intent). Search intent is the why behind each search query. As a searcher, you’re using different queries when you’re searching for different things and follow different search patterns based on the intent you have. For example, searching for “best email software” indicates your need to know what is the best software for Email Delivery out there. Without knowing it, using a search modifier such as “best” indicates that there may be some commercial intent behind the search you’re conducting, even though, at first, the intent may sound informational.

The long-tail has exploded

Google has told us that 15% of searches they see every day are new. How is this possible? Are we creating that many new words? Yes.

Why is long-tail SEO important?

Long-tail keywords can be: High-volume – up to 200+ daily searches. Competitively-active – not as competitive as the high-volume keywords. Somewhat like PPC (paid search), long-tail SEO can be used to gather traffic to your website. Long-tail SEO can be used to bring high volumes, of high converting traffic to your site.

What can you do to implement long-tail SEO?

Pare your site’s focus to the top 30–50% of relevant keywords. Have your SEO manager regularly visit these top terms to see what kind of competition your site is facing. Make sure that the content on your site is on point and covers these keywords well. Take some of these under-monetized, but high-potential, keywords as your focus, and have your team develop pages to support them (such as FAQ’s, statistics, case studies, product reviews, or interviews). Make sure that all your content is in chronological order, with no gaps between them, and keyword-rich (rather than keyword-light) content. You might be able to develop a website about two or three dozen of your target keywords. Do this for one to two hundred keywords. At a minimum, this strategy will bring you hundreds of thousands of search traffic.

Predictions for long-tail SEO in 2021

Despite predictions to the contrary, long-tail SEO and algorithmic rankings are no longer mutually exclusive. In fact, long-tail SEO is a proven strategy for increasing your search visibility in Google. So, what’s on the horizon for long-tail SEO in 2021? Keyword-specific SERP features like Related Article comments will continue to rise in popularity, in-site Google My Business communities, and banner ads are both expected to increase. Social networks will continue to play an increasingly important role in driving traffic and increasing overall traffic to your website. In fact, some analysts predict that Facebook will account for 62% of all traffic to business websites by 2021.


SEO requires us to understand how our keywords fit into semantic space (clear intent), mapping their relationships, and covering the core concepts. Study your SERPs diligently, and you can find the patterns to turn your own long tail of keywords into a mountain of opportunity.

Long-tail SEO is not an easy strategy, but it is one way to build a sustainable business in the internet world. The internet has optimized the cost-per-click to near zero, and according to many industry estimates, a visitor will only stay on a page if a given product is relevant to his search terms, which means that we need to do more work, in order to get the visitors, we need, to get the leads and sales we want. The future of longtail SEO is about building links and helping people discover other resources. Because there is no easy way to win the search war, the more relevant and credible your content is, the more chance you have of winning visitors and building long-term relationships with them.

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