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Short Tail Or Long Tail Keywords? Which Is Better For SEO?

Keywords are a key component of any SEO strategy and therefore understanding them is crucial for your SEO success. While you may already know about keywords (and just in case you don’t, in SEO terms keywords are the words and phrases that searchers enter into a search engine), you may not know about the two different types of keywords. In this article we will discuss the two different types of keywords; short tail and long tail. As well as highlighting why they’re important.

What are short tail keywords?

Short tail keywords are short keywords that consist of only one or two words. Short tail keywords are usually general terms that are too broad to determine specific user intent. For example, ‘water slides’ is a short tail keyword.

Short tail keywords often attract high search volume, high competition and high cost-per-clicks but low conversion rates. the traffic received to your site would be significantly more but the competition is too high and generally users from that traffic tend to be just doing their research rather than intent to purchase.

What are long tail keywords?

Long tail keywords are longer keywords that generally consist of three or four words. Long tail keywords are more specific and clearly outline user intent.  For example, ‘pink water slides hire’ is a long tail keyword.

The search volume of these long tail keywords are significantly lower than short tail keywords but they have lower competition and lower cost-per-clicks. The conversion rate of long tail keywords, would also be higher due to the fact that these keywords are intent driven and with them you can attract users who are ready to purchase. So basically, these long tail keyword users are at the bottleneck end of your marketing funnel.

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Why are short tail keywords important?

Short tail keywords are essential for driving a lot of traffic to your site. While they may bring fewer conversions than long tail keywords the search volume traffic they bring will immensely increase your brand awareness. Short tail keywords act as the top of your marketing funnel marketing funnel, allowing users to research your product/service, gather information and build awareness of your brand.  In addition to building awareness and bringing some conversions, short tail keywords help build your overall SEO ranking and therefore will assist in the ranking of your long tail keywords.

Why are long tail keywords important?

As mentioned previously, every time a user searches a highly specific keyword phrase, they tend to be users that have already completed their consumer research from short tail keyword searches and have decided to make a purchase. Long tail keywords are therefore important in gaining conversions on your website as opposed to just gaining more hits to your website. As well as increased conversions, long tail keywords are a part of your overall SEO strategy and can assist in ranking for short tail keywords.

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Which keyword type should you target?

At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for your business depending on your circumstances. However the question of ‘what keyword type should you target’ is often a trick question. As you should aim to use both in your keyword strategy. Doing so would not only allow you to capture the searches with a high intent to purchase for increased conversions but will also allow you to climb the ranks for short tail searches to bring huge volumes of traffic to your site.

So in the long (and short!) of it, use both types of keyword targeting in your keyword strategy for optimal results. Too confusing? Ignite Search can also help take the time-consuming process and stress out of formulating the best strategy to increase your visibility and conversions, simply contact us today.

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