The difference between long tail and short tail keywords is absolutely essential to anyone looking to gain traction from search engine marketing. Many small businesses end up fighting an uphill battle as they attempt to rank in keywords that aren’t appropriate for their SEO needs. Selecting the right keywords is absolutely essential to getting any traffic because, let’s face it, how often do you actually go to the second page of search results on Google? The vast majority of people click one of the first 2 or 3 search results. For your business to be successful, you need to select keywords that get you in those top 2 or 3 results and understanding Long tail and short tail keywords can help you do that.
What are Short Tail Keywords?
Short tail keywords are the keywords that are most likely to be searched by any potential web user. These are the most popular keywords that people use while searching. An example of a short tail keyword might be:
If you are a shoe store then ranking for that search result might look pretty attractive. Millions of people would end up searching for your business everyday but there is a big problem with thinking that way. If you search Shoes then you might notice the problem. Only the biggest businesses in the world can rank for this keyword. It’s a highly competitive keyword that’s virtually impossible for any small business to rank.
What are Long Tail Keywords?
Long tail keywords are the keywords that people are less likely to search for but there are a number of major advantages that come with that. Long tail keywords typically include more words and more specificity. The shoe store might choose to use a few long tail keywords to rank in instead of Shoes. For example:
Shoe Store In Auburn, WA (or wherever the shoe store is located)
Blue Clogging Shoes
As you can probably guess, the competition for these keywords is significantly easier to rank against than with the short tail keywords. Ranking in these keywords is possible for any business. The shoe store may even be able to rank for the first spot in Google. That provides that vast majority of the traffic for the keyword. That means significantly more traffic than being buried pages down in a short tail keyword’s search result.
There is one more advantage to long tail keywords. When they search for Shoe Stores in Auburn, WA, they’re probably looking to buy at a local shoe store. Ranking for shoes would bring millions of unqualified prospects to a retail business. When someone is searching Blue Clogging Shoes, they’re significantly closer to making a buying decision than someone searching Shoes. That means the long tail traffic is often more valuable than the short tail traffic.
Both Have Advantages
There are advantages and disadvantages to each kind of keyword but most small businesses should be focusing on long tail keywords.
Short tail keywords are good for providing general information that’s relevant to the majority of people but they’re very difficult to rank in.
Long tail keywords are for specific results that provide an individual with closer to exactly what they’re looking for. They’re easier to rank and typically much more effective for selling.
Your SEO company will manage the keywords for your business using a mix of short and long tail in order to help your business to rank. By using an agency and their expertise on keywords will assist with conversions for your business. People are always going to be using short tail keywords to narrow down what they want but it’s not always best to try to compete with the biggest businesses with massive sales funnels. You can create your own sales funnel at a smaller keyword that the bigger businesses don’t compete in. That means that you get more customers without the challenge of heavy competition.