Understanding Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords by bestt571


Non-target words on the website but can also bring search traffic keywords, called long tail keywords. The characteristics of long tail keywords is a long, often composed of 2-3 words, even phrases found in the content page, in addition to the content page's title, but also in content. Search volume is very thin and unstable. Long tail keywords bring customers into the product the customer site the probability is much higher than the target words. There are a lot of long tail keywords and medium-sized site, it brings the total flow is very large. Basic properties of long tail keywords are: scalability, targeted and wide.

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Understanding Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords
Posted by Andrew
Posted on November 18, 2009 4.12 pm

Short tail or long tail keywords, which are best for your site’s SEO? Well, as with the majority of search engine
marketing techniques, the most beneficial long-term strategy would include a bit of both. But to understand how
to research and implement these keywords, you first need to understand what they are.

A long tail keyword is often based around a short tail term, only it has been developed to be more specific to the
searchers exact requirements. A short tail keyword often only includes one or two words, which tends to cover
the most popular terms, whilst a long tail term is almost without constraint when it comes to length.


Short Tail Keyword – ‘Mountain Bike’
Long Tail Keyword – ‘Mongoose Full Suspension Men’s Mountain Bike‘

From the above example you can see a very clear difference in the keyword structure. The short tail is a very
general term, which, while not inaccurate, doesn’t have the same targeted focus of the latter.

Whilst the term ‘Mountain Bike’ may accurately reflect your website and the products it offers, the competition for
this particular phrase will be enormous. In fact, if you type ‘Mountain Bike’ into Google you’ll find 35,600,000 (as
of November 2009) results. Clearly this represents something of an issue.

Due to the generic nature of short tail terms, the number of direct competitors is always likely to be high. Search
queries tend to average between 2 and 3 words though, which makes these shorter keyword strands more
popular in terms of consumer searches. Therefore there are advantages to achieving a high ranking for short tail
terms, especially in terms of visibility and potential traffic. That said, it is often incredibly difficult for many new or
smaller websites to bridge the gap to more established platforms.

Returning to the example above once again, the search phrase ‘Mongoose Full Suspension Men’s Mountain
Bike‘ only has 47,900 competitors*. Whilst this may seem like a lot, it is clearly a good deal less than less specific
phrases. Conversely though, you are unlikely to achieve as many searches for this phrase, which means that you
won’t receive the same levels of traffic than you would if achieving a ranking for the shorter, more popular terms.
This is evidenced in the chart below.
The Search Demand Curve Chart, Provided by Hitwise via SEOmoz

However, traffic isn’t the be all and end all. What you lose in numbers by having a long tail term, you should pick
up in relevance. If somebody searches for ‘Mongoose Full Suspension Men’s Mountain Bike‘, there’s a fair
chance that they’re looking for a particular product or style of product; this in turn makes them more likely to
convert. The short tail alternative, ‘Mountain Bike’ could cover any number of enquiries. However, were you to
search for this you would be in what we refer to as ‘research mode’; this is because the query itself is too broad
to suggest that a consumer is seriously using their search to find a specific service or product.

People in research mode don’t tend to convert as well. This is because they’re just browsing, often looking for
ideas or more information rather than looking to make a purchase there and then. So whilst they may help to
boost your traffic levels, they’re unlikely to help boost your coffers. Ultimately it is conversions that count, so don’t
become blinded by the visitor numbers.

One thing to also consider with the long tail keywords, as alluded to earlier, is that they often include a short tail
phrase too. This means that when used properly, you can actually optimise for both concurrently. Of course it
might not have the same strength; however, for smaller or newer sites this is a great opportunity to start
optimising across a number of different search phrases and picking up some targeted traffic in less competitive

So there you have it, both long tail and short tail phrases have their benefits, but you have to weigh up the
advantages for your own site. The only way this can be achieved is through extensive keyword research. This will
help you to find out what consumers are looking for and how you can target those who are likely to improve your
site’s conversion rate. Ideally you are looking for terms with high search rates but low competition; however, for
obvious reasons, these are often few and far between, hence why thorough research and understanding of
search queries is essential.

* Depending on how you define competition, of course. Put the phrase in quotes, and this number is considerably
 Further reading

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 Posted is Search Engine Optimisation | The post has tags: Keyword Research , Long Tail Research , SEO, Short Tail Keywords

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