The Difference Between Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords

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If you are here, you likely already know about the importance of having an SEO strategy. You may have already divided into our previous SEO for beginners post and are now trying to understand a little more on what ‘keywords’ are. Your vocabulary is probably expanding with terms like keywords and phrases or short tail and long tail keywords. You are on your way to becoming an SEO expert and we couldn’t be more proud! Give yourself a high five because growing your organic search rankings is so much more important than growing your Instagram following. We are here for this!

So let’s jump right into the meat of all things SEO keywords, what the difference is between short tail and long tail keywords and which one you should focus on.

what are short tail and long tail keywords

What are SEO Keywords?

An SEO keyword is a significant word from a title or document used as an index to content. Put more simply, it’s a word or phrase you’ve carefully chosen when writing website copy, product descriptions or blog posts that helps consumers who are searching for you, find you online.

Think about the last thing you ‘Googled’. What did you type into the search bar? That phrase or combination of words you typed in is considered a keyword or phrase. The articles that appeared below most likely used those keywords in their article headline and throughout their post. And that is exactly why they appeared on page one of your search engine (among many other factors, but we will get to those later!). 

There are two different types of SEO keywords or phrases. They are called short tail and long tail keywords. Let’s discuss the difference. 

Short Tail Keywords

What is a short tail keyword?

A short tail keyword is a keyword that consists of no more than one or two words. Here are a few examples:

  • Social Media
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Women’s Sweatshirts
  • Marketing Agency
  • Online Educator
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Workout Ideas

The list goes on and on and on. When you type these words into Google you will probably see some big name companies and brands. If you are trying to rank for these words, chances are it will be really hard – not impossible, but it will definitely take some dedication.

Long Tail Keywords

What is a long tail keyword?

This brings us to long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are 3-5 words paired together to make a relevant phrase. These are the phrases you will want to focus on. These words and phrases will generally receive less traffic, but they yield higher conversions because you are reaching a more specific audience who is actually interested in what you are providing. You are finding your niche in the world of organic search. Plus, your opportunity to rank on page one of search engine results pages will be much more likely with long tail keywords. So in conclusion, when deciding between short tail and long tail keywords, you should always, always focus on long tail keywords!

Here are some examples of long tail keywords

Let’s take a look at those examples we showed you earlier. How can you take a short tail keyword you want to rank for and make it into something more niche? 

  • Social Media Marketing Strategy
  • Wedding Photographer Checklist for Brides
  • Casual Women’s Sweatshirts for Game Day
  • Social Media Marketing Agency for Women
  • Online Marketing Educator and Social Planner
  • Healthy Snacks for Kids
  • Workout Ideas at Home for Beginners 

By adding more relevant words and phrases, we created long tail keywords. Building these keywords will help narrow in on your niche and drive more conversions to your blog or website. 

Where can I find the best keywords for website?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to figure out these long tail keywords along. There are dozens of free resources out there to help you find the right keywords. These resources will also help you figure out if anyone is even searching for these words and phrases with monthly search volumes. 

We’ve already written an entire blog post for you listing out four completely free SEO keyword research tools. We will share a sneak peek… one of our favorites is Ubersuggest. Go check it out!

If you are just getting started on your SEO journey, we are so dang proud of you! We are here every step along the way and cannot wait to make this journey an exciting one. SEO doesn’t need to be scary. We promise to break down each term to help you conquer the world of organic search. 

If you are looking to take things to the next level, then we have just the course for you! It’s called the Beginners Guide to SEO for Creative Entrepreneurs

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Duo Collective is a boutique marketing agency specializing in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners.