Short Tail Long Tail Keywords

Search Engine Optimization is important for businesses and individuals who want to establish their online presence.

One of the most important tasks in SEO is keyword research – which means finding those words and phrases that people are looking for online.

Although there are different types of keywords people search for, two important ones are Short Tail and Long Tail keywords.

What are these keywords, How they are important for SEO, and how do find them? In this article, I am going to talk about the same in detail.

So, without further ado let’s start.

What are Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords?

Short tail keywords are general topics and search terms people are looking for.

These keywords generally contain one or two words and broadly define the scope of a topic.

That’s why they have a high search volume and competition to rank on search engines.

Since these keywords are broad, they often attract irrelevant visitors to your website making it difficult to attract the right audience.

That’s where long-tail keywords come into play.

As its name suggests, these keywords have a long tail.

They typically have three to four words closely related to the search query.

So, here we can conclude that long tail keywords are related keywords (that means secondary keywords) supporting the primary keyword (which means the short tail keywords).

Although Long tail keywords have less search volume in comparison to short-tail keywords, they are comparatively easier to rank on the search engine.

They are more targeted to the user’s intent that’s why they attract more qualified leads and relevant audiences giving us a higher conversion rate and a better return on investment (ROI).

By effectively using both the short-tail and long-tail keywords, we can create a specific niche with a targeted audience.

Let’s understand short-tail and long-tail keywords by examples now.

Examples of Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords

Below are some examples of Short Tail and Long Tail keywords:

Short Tail Keywords:

  1. Shoes
  2. Digital Marketing
  3. Pizza
  4. Books

Long Tail Keywords:

  1. Men’s Running Shoes Size 11
  2. Best Digital Marketing Agency in New Delhi
  3. Gluten-free pizza delivery in New Delhi
  4. Best self-help books to overcome anxiety

Analyzing the above keywords, you can see that short-tail keywords are broad and general whereas long-tail keywords are more specific and targeted toward a particular need or interest.

Now, take a look at this table now.

Digital marketingHighHigh
Men’s running shoes size 11LowLow
Best digital marketing agencyLowLow
Gluten-free pizza deliveryLowLow
Best self-help books for anxietyLowLow

In the above table, you san see that short tail keywords have high search volume but are highly competitive. On the other hand, long tail keywords have low search volume but are easier to rank on the search engine.

Let’s summarize the difference between short tail and long tail keywords now.

Difference between short tail and long tail keywords

Search VolumeHighLow
Difficulty to RankDifficultEasy
Target AudienceWideNarrow
Search IntentInformational or NavigationalTransactional
ExamplesShoes, Pizza, LaptopsWomen’s Running Shoes, Pepperoni Pizza Delivery Near Me, Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000

Now it doesn’t mean that you should avoid using short tail keywords on your website. Balancing both the short-tail and long-tail keywords is the art to create a well-rounded SEO strategy.

How do Short Tail and Long Tail keywords complement each other in a Keyword Strategy?

Both the keywords type complement each other in several ways:

  1. Targeting Different Stages of Buyer’s Journey: Short tail keywords target people who are in the early stage of the buyer’s journey whereas long tail keywords target the people who are ready to make the purchase or some other action.
  2. Balancing Competition and Relevance: Long tail keywords are easier to rank on search engines but it doesn’t mean you should discard the short tail keywords because one day you have to use those keywords as well in your website that connects different long tail keywords. So, a better approach is to use both the short tail and long tail keywords side by side complementing each other.
  3. Expanding Reach and Conversions: With short-tail keywords, you can expand your reach while long-tail keywords give you more conversions. Hence, using both these keywords type side by side drives more profit.

How to choose the right mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website?

When you choose the right mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords for your website, you have to consider several factors, such as business goals, target audience, competition, and trends.

You can follow the below steps to choose the right mix of both these keywords:

  1. Business Goal: First and foremost, find out what you want to achieve with your website and which keywords gonna help you with the same. For example, if you want more sales of your product through your website, you should use more and more long-tail keywords related to the product.
  2. Target Audience Research: Find out what are the needs and interests of your target audience. What keywords they are searching to find a product like yours? You can do this via different keyword research tools.
  3. Competition Analysis: Find out the keywords your competitors are targeting to sell their products.
  4. Keyword Prioritization: Once you find out the list of keywords you want to use on your website, prioritize them based on their relevance, search volume, trends, competition, etc. In this process, you have to balance the right use of short-tail and long-tail keywords.

Do note that choosing the right mix of keywords is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment to stay ahead of your competitors. Both short-tail and long-tail keywords are super important for your business. So, strategically choose both these keywords and drive a more targeted audience to your website to enhance the ROI.

I am a Search Engine Optimization Specialist taming the elusive search engine algorithms for over 6 years now. I have created some pretty darn impressive SEO projects. While I'm not busy dominating the...

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