Short-Tail vs Long-Tail SEO Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of search engine optimization and can range from a simple, single word to longer complex phrases and are used to inform Google of your websites content

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Keywords are the backbone of search engine optimization and can range from a simple, single word to longer complex phrases and are used to inform Google of your websites content to increase organic (unpaid) search traffic. Used effectively, keywords will connect potential clients with your website when they search for a good or service you provide. And choosing the best keywords is imperative for the success of your website. For Google to connect search queries to your website, it looks for relevant keywords in your content. They should be used naturally in your Headings, Footings, and content.

Short-tail keywords are very general search queries consisting of one or two words, while long-tail keywords consist of three, four, five or even more words. When users are searching for specific results, they often type longer queries into Google in order to get more specific results. On the other hand, if they are looking for a general topic, then they’re more likely to enter a short-tail query with fewer words.

Newbie digital marketers are often tempted to only go for short-tail keywords, since these terms usually have the most traffic. BUT, it’s important to remember that short-tail keywords are extremely competitive. For a new business, it is often easier to organically get to the front page using less common long-tail keywords.

Some keywords have more competition than others. For example, it would be much harder to get to Googles front page using the keyword ‘SEO’, but much easier if you used ‘Underwater Basket Weaving in Indonesia’. 2 factors are at play. SEO is a ‘short-tail’ simple, generic 1 word search, that millions of businesses are using. ‘Underwater Basket Weaving in Indonesia’ is a ‘long-tail’ very specific search, with much less competition.

Using Ahrefs Free Keyword Difficulty Checker, you can determine the difficulty to be among the top  ranking webpages for a particular keyword. The term for this is Keyword difficulty and it is measured on a scale from 0-100. If the keyword ranks below 30, you have a good chance to rank high! But if it is between 31-70, organic traffic will be difficult. If it ranks over 70… You are wasting your time. Long-tail keywords will almost always have a lower keyword difficulty, so you can use this to your advantage.

Targeting a long-tail keyword that is more specific to your particular business will be far more competitive, and the traffic generated is more likely to lead to conversions. For example, targeting ‘Learning keywords for SEO’ is far more specific.  
Not only is it more realistic to rank highly with long-tail keywords, but users who visit your website via long-tail terms are also more likely to buy because they are searching for something specific!

Long-tail keywords normally offer a better return on investment, than trying to compete with large businesses who have large budgets, and sometimes a partial monopoly.

Short-tail keyword opportunities are should be used, but you’ll have to play the long waiting game. The quickest returns, often can be found using long-tail terms which drive the most valuable (specific) traffic to your website.

                                          But How to Find the Best Long-Tail Keywords?
Now that we have talked about what long-tail keywords are and you know how they can benefit your digital marketing campaign, you need to find the best keywords to get traffic.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner is one of many resource that you should be use to conduct your keyword research. Also, a great place to start looking is your own website. Because your website is likely to contain lots of content (copy) highly relevant to your business, you can get great keyword ideas from just reviewing your content and coming up with a list of short phrases of around 3 to 5 words.

Also ask your friends or employee’s how they would search, if they were looking specifically for your product. 

                                     Should You Still Target Short-Tail Keywords?
Well, short-tail keywords are hyper competitive, it does not mean that you shouldn’t use them. After all, it is still likely that most the traffic to your website coming from the search engines will come from short queries. Just keep in mind Short-tails are a long game, and you will likely never end up on the front page.
And keep in mind 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.

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