Keywords are one of the most important things to consider when thinking about how you’re going to reach your audience – you want to be visible in Google search, increase your traffic, uplift your brand awareness and connect with a wider audience. But what’s the best type of keyword to achieve this – short tail, or long tail?
Short Tail Keywords
Short tail keywords are search phrases containing a maximum of three words, also known as “head terms”. Short tail keywords are great for driving a lot of visitors to your website – using a smaller, more general keyword means you’re more likely to get a hit with someone searching. For example, if you are a business selling stationery and your keyword is simply “pens”, there’ll be plenty of searches that will include the word “pens”, and you’ll manage to get quite a few people seeing and visiting your website. However, if you’re new to starting a website, or have never been involved in SEO work, there’ll be a lot of sites appearing before yours – so many in fact, that it may be difficult to get seen in the first place.
Short tail keywords are highly competitive, and it makes sense – with such high search volumes, everyone wants a piece of the action! Unfortunately, this means it’s much harder to reach a high rank and get noticed. Harder doesn’t mean impossible though, and you can still reach the top – it just takes a lot of time, work and patience.
So, although short tail keywords have a much higher volume of traffic, they come with high competition, not only against smaller businesses but with the high, top-end businesses, making it difficult to get noticed with just short tail keywords. Google AdWords will also charge you quite a bit to get included in these searches, simply because they’re so popular, so getting a presence will require you to pay a premium, meaning they have a pretty high cost.
Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are different not only in length but in purpose. They’re made of more than three words, meaning they have much more detail. This allows you to hone in on the kind of people you’re looking for, and reach people specifically in your target audience. For example, instead of just “pens”, you may go for “high-quality black fountain pens”, meaning you can reach people who are looking for good quality, willing to spend a little more and looking for a particular type of pen that you sell.
They won’t reach nearly as many people as short tail keywords due to their specific nature, but this is an instance where quality reigns over quantity. The kind of visitors you’re getting from these long tail keywords are looking for something specific to buy, meaning if they find your website from your search, they’ll probably buy from you.
So, although they draw in a much smaller volume of traffic, this traffic is going to be much more valuable, and also cost you a lot less, as Google AdWords allows keywords that are more specific to be a reduced price, so even though you won’t be as high in vague, short tail searches, it’ll cost you much less to get to a prominent position in the ranks.
Which Is Better?
Of course, when deciding which is better, you don’t want to opt for just one of these – that would leave you with a pretty big gap, and the risk of not getting the awareness you’re looking for. Using both is the best option, but you may want to use one more than another.
For us, long tail keywords are definitely worth focusing on more. Long tail keywords make up 70% of all Google searches, meaning that’s a huge number of people you could reach by choosing to use long tail. Once you build up your long tail searches, you’ll start to climb the ranks, meaning not only will you be reaching people who intend to use your services and buy your products, but you’ll also become more visible to short tail searches too, meaning you have the best of both worlds.
The difficulty comes with being specific, but not too specific, when reaching your target audience, but making sure you still reach them. Although short tail keywords drive a much higher amount of traffic, you’ll find when you’ve
How Do I Create The Best Long Tail Keywords?
If you’re struggling to think of long tail keywords, there are several things you can do – firstly, you can think about what kind of searches people will be doing that could take them to your website. What would you search if you were looking for your website? You should also use tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner to help you generate some ideas.
Don’t rely on this, though – use other resources. This includes your own website! Most likely, your website will have text that’s more relevant to your business than any other resource, meaning you can find some ideas relatively easily by going through your website page by page and making a list of any keywords or phrases that you could include. Finally, you could set up a blog – setting up a blog makes it much easier for you to include long tail keywords much more naturally, and doesn’t give you too much to think about, as well as broadening the scope of topics you can use in your keywords. Bringing people to your blog is good for click rates, but you can link in your own products or promote your own brand.
Having a balance of keywords is definitely your best bet, but an uneven balance – focusing on long tail will not only boost your ranking in searches, but it will also draw in customers who are more likely to buy. Having said that, don’t ignore short tail – they still bring in traffic and raise awareness of your brand, and a mix of the two is best in ensuring you push your business forward.