In pay per click advertising and SEO, long tail variations are variations on a keyword that are similar in root or meaning to other keywords that are high volume but at the same time are not as competitive. Long tail keywords are employed by new businesses that cannot afford to bid for the top keywords or are struggling to gain traffic. You can think of them as more specific versions of high competition phrases. For example, a new website likely can’t rank for a generic high search keyword like “swimsuit”, but a more specific long-tail variation such as “girls two piece Hawaiian swimsuit” would be much easier to rank.
Long tail variations on keywords are used in SEO optimized content and articles as part of a marketing campaign. By using a selection of long tail keywords instead of one specific high-end keyword, you have a cost-effective method of generating traffic to your content or website. While the amount of traffic is smaller than with a high volume search phrase, as more long-tail phrases are ranked the traffic to a site grows incrementally. Search engines will also begin giving greater weight to the high volume search phrases as a website begins ranking for more and more long-tail phrases, making this a good long-term strategy for increasing web traffic.