DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LONG TAIL AND SHORT TAIL KEYWORDS IN SEO

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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Let us know your experiences with short-tail vs long-tail keywords.

Although the most valuable traffic (i.e.: visitors who ultimately become customers) is usually more likely to come from long-tail keyword searches, short-tail keywords are still important for driving traffic to your website and raising brand awareness.

While Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great place to start, it is certainly not the only resource that you should be using to conduct your keyword research.

Now that you know how long-tail keywords can benefit your search engine marketing campaign, you’ll need to find the best ones to suit your online marketing campaign.

Keywords are a major part of any search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign, and choosing the best keywords to target is crucial for the success of your website.

Your Say!

Short-tail keyword opportunities are still very much worth looking into. but you’ll have to play the long game. The quickest returns can often be found in the form of long-tail terms which drive the most valuable traffic to your website.

When looking for keyword suggestions, novice online marketers can be tempted to go solely for short-tail keywords, since these terms often hold the most traffic. However, it’s important to remember that short-tail keywords are extremely competitive in spite of the large number of hits the keywords receive.

This is because long-tail keyword searches are highly specific, so users mostly know exactly what they are looking for when searching- as opposed to short-tail keywords, which are often used in the early stage for looking for a product or service, perhaps when researching before buying.

How do you come up with long-tail keywords for your website? Have you had great success with targeting the short-tail instead? We’d love to know!

However, it is also particularly important to ensure that you do not over-optimise your website through excessive keyword usage.

When searching for more specific results, web users tend to type a longer query (i.e.: a long-tail keyword) into Google or another search engine in order to get more relevant results.

In order to get search engine robots to more accurately detect the subject matter of your website, you should target relevant keywords by placing them into various website elements such as headings, descriptions and the content itself.

Not only is it easier to rank highly with long-tail keywords, but users who visit your website via long-tail terms are also more likely to buy!

Create a scenario, such as finding a service or product relevant to your business, and ask your friends what search terms they would use. Try it, you’ll get some surprising and worthwhile results!

By contrast, if they are only searching for a general topic, then they’re more likely to enter a short-tail query of one or two words.

Should You Still Target Short-Tail Keywords?

When doing your research into on-site SEO, you’ll come across the terms short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords .

After all, it is still likely that most the traffic to your website coming from the search engines will come from short queries.

While short-tail keywords are usually extremely competitive, this does not mean that you shouldn’t target them as well.

In fact, a great place to start looking is your own website. Because your website is likely to contain lots of copy highly relevant to your business, you can get excellent keyword ideas just from reviewing your content and coming up with a list of short phrases of around three to five words.

For example, typing ‘SEO’ into Google will yield many millions of results, and the term has hundreds of thousands of monthly global searches. Needless to say, getting your website listed in the first search engine results page (SERP) for that term will be almost impossible.

Your chosen keywords should be used sparingly in such a way that they are almost unnoticeable and natural to your readers, lest your SEO can end up being completely counter-productive.

Short-tail keywords are much more general search queries consisting of one or two words, while long-tail keywords consist of three to five or even more words.

How to Find the Best Long-Tail Keywords.

One of the most popular tools to use for keyword research is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. It’s a free tool (Google Adwords account required) that provides you with keyword suggestions along with important information such as approximate value in pay-per-click advertising programs, competitiveness and monthly global and local searches.

In conclusion, long-tail keywords typically offer a vastly higher return on investment (ROI) than trying to compete with a huge number of large businesses which have somewhat of a monopoly over them.

By comparison, targeting a long-tail keyword that is more specific to your particular business will be far less competitive, and the traffic generated is more likely to lead to conversions. For example, targeting ‘Beginners guide to on-page SEO’ is far more specific.

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To be honest, this topic could be a whole separate blog in itself. But there are a few basic rules you can follow to get the best out of your research:

Again, don’t let lower search volumes put you off and assume it’s not worth including a term because it only gets 90 monthly searches. More than 70% of internet searches are made up of long-tail keywords, and the users you do gather from these terms have a higher intent to purchase because they’re searching for something specific. The competition is also lower because they’re not searching for a generic term, which means there’s a higher chance of users seeing your content and, hopefully, making a conversion.

These searchers already know what they want, but they’re doing their research to find out which option is best for them. This is your chance to reach out to your audience. By knowing the type of long-tail keywords users are searching for, you can tailor your content so that it reaches the people who may ultimately want to buy your product.

Long-tail keywords can be extremely effective in bringing visitors to your site, but they can also be used to target users who are searching for your brand and intending to buy from you. These terms contain more than three words, target users at different stages of the buying funnel, and tend to be more descriptive – for example, ‘designer handbags for work’, or ‘which iPhone has the best camera’.

Keywords are the life-blood of search engines. In order to properly optimise your content to get more traffic and visibility in SERPs, you’ll need to carry out substantial keyword research. But which keywords should you be using in your meta data and web copy – short-tail, long-tail or a combination of the two?

What are long-tail keywords?

The thing to remember about short-tail keywords is, with such high search volumes, they’re competitive little things. These search terms are generic, making them more difficult to rank highly in Google SERPs. But don’t be disheartened if it feels like you’re standing at the back of a very long, very impatient queue. If you’re targeting the right keywords, all it takes is patience, hard work and the right approach and you will start to see results. But more on that later.

Both short-tail and long-tail keywords are important to your overall SEO strategy, but they have slightly different purposes. In this blog, we’ll explain the difference between the two and why you should use them to optimise your web content.

Short-tail keywords are generally the most effective way to drive visitors at the top of the buying funnel to your site. These terms only contain between 1 and 3 words, such as ‘handbags’, or ‘designer handbags’. This type of keyword tends to garner high search volumes – for example, designer handbags sees a whopping 74,000 searches every month.

The downside to long-tail keywords is that they almost always have far lower search volume than short-tail keywords. In comparison to the 74,000 searches for ‘designer handbags’ every month, there are a mere 90 for ‘designer handbags for work’. But then ‘which iPhone has the best camera’ sees 2,900 monthly searches, so there is a lot of diversity when it comes to volume.

The answer to that question depends on what you want to achieve. Do you want to yield more visitors? Or yield more visitors who are ready to buy your product / invest in your services?

If this all sounds like hard work, fear not. There are loads of really useful free keyword tools out there to help you out. But if you’re still feeling unsure, get in touch. Our dedicated team are experts in both short-tail and long-tail keyword research and would love to help you out.

What are short-tail keywords?

Now I know the difference, how do I conduct the keyword research?

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