Short Tail vs. Long Tail Keywords – Which Are the Best Choice?

Head Surfer
September 18th, 2012

There are two principal types of keywords out there: long tail keywords and short tail keywords. Which is the best, short tail vs. long tail keywords is a question that a lot of webmasters ask themselves when they are getting ready to optimize their website so that it does better in the search engines.

It is important for you to know that there are some important differences between the two types of keywords with regards to competition, the amount of monthly searches, conversion rates and the targeting of traffic.

The role of keywords in search engine optimization is a primary one. Keyword will need to be selected with the utmost care in order to be effective in your efforts to make your website go up in search engine rankings. But a question that many ask themselves is: is it better to gear you focus on short tail vs. long tail keywords?

The huge difference between long and short tail keywords rests in the fact that the short tail keyword, which is called a top-level keyword is more general and consists solely of a few words, such as just two words. A good example of a short tail keyword would be “weight loss”. You should know that a long tail keyword will have many more words in it, up to six, that are very precise in describing what the potential customer is looking for during their searches on search engine. A great example of a long tail keywords would be “how to lose 10 lbs quickly”.

The Main Differences

Competition with short tail keywords is very high. This makes it quite difficult for an internet marketer to get a high ranking in search engines. The primary reason for this is due to the fact that these keywords get a large search volume every single month, a lot of people make all the efforts that they can to get their sites to rank for these keywords.

On the other hand, competition for long tail keywords, while still there, is a lot less strong, as these keywords do not have that many searches every month. You can thus optimize your website a lot more easily for these keywords.

Conversion rates are different in short tail vs. long tail keywords. As short tail keywords are more general, they are often used by people who are simply seeking information on a certain topic. Those people are not usually interested in making a purchase, at least not right now. The fact that they are looking for just general information indicates that they did not yet make up their mind about which product they will want to buy. Long tail keywords are usually more product specific and thus show that the searcher is currently in buying mode, he knows what he wants and he is looking to buy it.

For Your Traffic Needs

It is true that making a choice between short tail vs. long tail keywords could be a tough choice for any webmaster to make. A proper decision in this area will require you to take an in-depth look at what your goals are for your website and what you are trying to accomplish it. This will help you figure out the right marketing strategy and select the keywords that you should be targeting to reach your objectives.

Long Tail Keywords Are Very Powerful

You really need to know that using long tail keywords is the right thing to do if you want to succeed online. Any internet marketer will need to know what these keywords are. The basic definition of a long tail keyword is a keyword phrase that has more than 2 words and is very targeted.

Long tail keywords are what many customers use when they are ready to make a purchase. Customers who use long tail keywords have already done most of their research and they already know exactly the product that they are seeking. All they need is simply to find your offering and by using long tail keywords you can help them do just that.

The 5 Main Reasons To Use Long Tails

These keywords are very targeted

There are a lot of niches that have heavy competition. For example, if you go in the weight loss niche, you will see that you have thousands of competing sites that you have to outrank. As an internet marketer, you will need to get the right amount of traffic to your site and get your ranking in search engines up without needing to spend a lot of money on it, as you probably don’t have a big budget.

Even though a certain niche is competitive, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible to profit from it. You just need to be using long tail keywords and not general ones that are dominated by large corporations.

They convert a whole lot more

Those who are using long tail keywords will see that their conversions are actually much better. Longer keywords phrases are going to have less competition and therefore will be much easier to rank for. The traffic you will get will also more likely to be people in buying mode, rather than simply people who are looking for free information or just researching various products.

You can include the name of your product

Someone who is searching for the name of a specific product on the internet is probably doing it for two reasons: either they already have it and want information or support on it, or they don’t have it and want to buy it. Obviously this will give you the opportunity to present your offering to the customer so that they may buy it.

Don’t require as much SEO efforts to rank better

When you are using long tail keywords you will see that you won’t need to make as much SEO in order to get your page to climb the rankings at Google. This is explained by the fact that there is much less competition for these keyword. You don’t need to do as much backlinking

More Traffic

You will not be required to do as much backlinking when you are using long tail keyword. Again, this is a competition issue. SEO will be a lot easier and faster in that case.

What it all comes down to is this: you will be able to increase the ranking of your site a lot faster and easier when you are using long tail keywords. This means that the sales and profits will come to you a lot faster than you would have thought possible.

Long Tail Keyword Analysis

Performing long tail keyword analysis will give you valuable information concerning the phrases and long tail keywords that people type into search engines to get to the information that they are seeking to find. After that, marketers will make use of these keywords for the promotion of their products by bringing consumers to their sites.

During this whole process, there are various factors that are taken into consideration when it comes to long tail keywords, such as what keywords people actually use when they search for the information that they are after, how many competitors you have and which ones of these keywords are your competitors also using as part of their internet marketing efforts.

In most cases, long tail keywords are composed of 4 or more words that the person doing the search types into a search engine. “Motorola BT-2050 Bluetooth Headset” is what would be considered an example of a long tail keyword. On the other hand, “Bluetooth Headset” would be seen as a short tail keyword. The difference shows that the searcher is being a lot more specific with regards to the description of the product that he is on the lookout for.

Looking for information that is specific to one product, as opposed to just general information on a type of products, indicates that the searcher is more likely to be in “buying mode”, that is they are looking to buy a product and are just seeking a bit more information before they actually make the purchase.

Due to this, long tail keywords convert better, as the searchers which are going to our site are already perfectly aware of what they want and they have a purchase on their mind. If a searcher locates your website and you have the product that they want, then it is extremely easy to convert this traffic into a sale.

A Quick Analysis

  • Start Tracking. You will find a lot of tracking packages on the internet which are able to track which keywords are converting on your site. This information is essential as it can be used to stop wasting time and money on activities which are of no benefit to your business.
  • Gather the Data. Collect information over a period of time, such as a few weeks, in order to look at which keywords are bringing in traffic to your website. The conversion rates and the revenue that they generate for you will be shown to you when you look at the stats that you’ve collected.
  • Group Keywords Together – Keywords that are similar to each other need to be placed in the same group.
  • Identify The Best Performing Groups – Examine the average conversion rates and the average revenue that each group brings you. Note down which groups bring you in the best conversion rates.
  • Choose the Best Keywords – Pick keywords from the top group which are not doing so well in search engines such as Google or Bing. These are are the keywords that you should focus on the most in your optimization efforts.

What to Do

In order to optimize your website properly to get the highest possible amount of visitors, conversions and sales, you will need to understand how to do long tail keyword analysis properly. For a business owner, using long tail keywords will create a higher conversion rate, which means that your internet marketing efforts are bringing you in a lot more revenue than ever before and that your sales numbers are always on the increase.

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