Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords | Spectrum Net Designs
long tail vs short tail keywords

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords

If you have spent any time in the SEO world you have heard both of these terms before. We’re talking long tail vs short tail keywords for your on page SEO. There are many different components that build a successful SEO strategy, but we believe it starts with your keyword research. Your chosen keywords represent your brand, company, product offerings, etc. and fuel your SEO.

Let’s dive into the difference between long tail and short tail keywords..

Short Tail Keywords

A short tail keyword is a phrase that contains up to 3 words that describes your company or what you offer. An example of this is “marketing company” or “auction software”. These terms are also called “head terms”- they may be the first thoughts that come to your head when thinking about what you’re looking for or focus keywords. The short tail keywords will be shorter and more broad. This inherently makes them popular, high-volume search terms. But for most websites, however, short tail keywords are simply not enough to stand against the top companies of the world, which monopolize the top-ranking SERP spots.

Long Tail Keywords

The long tail keywords are different compared to short tail. Being longer than 3 words they are more targeted and less broad. If you use long tail keywords you will notice a lower search traffic but the traffic you do get will be of better quality.

Examples of long tail keywords are “website design marketing company” or “real estate auction house in Texas”. Obviously, long tail keywords are more specific and less broad compared to the short tail keywords.

long tail keywords

We all understand that digital marketing trends are forever evolving and this stands true with “long tail” keywords skyrocketing in popularity. We mentioned that long tail keywords are more specific, producing a more targeted search, meaning you will get a more targeted audience when you rank for them. Also, long tail keywords are easier to rank for since they’re not as competitive as short tail keywords or “head terms”.

While long tail keywords are more targeted, they tend to deliver less traffic overall and can be difficult to come up with if you are new to keyword research. In contrast, short tail keywords are broader terms- typically the first thing a searcher thinks of when looking for your product or service and have a higher traffic but more competition.

Depending on your objectives, if you are searching for a lot of traffic, then short tail keywords give you the broad reach you will need. However, you should keep in mind they come with more competition and risk of “generic” traffic.

Are long tail keywords better?

When taking volume, competition, focus, cost, and conversion rate in account then yes, long tail keywords are the way to go. But of course, you want to save money and you want to have as large of a web presence as you possibly can. At the same time, you should keep in mind that the point of having a web presence isn’t to get people to click to your site and bounce off but rather convert them into paying customers.

In today’s word of online searches, short tail keywords are very difficult to tap into the rankings of. And as we mentioned earlier it’s almost impossible for small or even medium sized business to rank amongst the top dog companies.

A smart strategy for higher conversion, lower cost, lower competition and volume that is focused on specifically what you are selling, the long tail keyword game is one that you should be spending time in!


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