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Are long-tail keywords better than short-tail keywords?


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Victoria Roscow
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When it comes to digital marketing, one of the key decisions that marketers have to make is whether to focus on long-tail keywords or short-tail keywords. Both types of keywords have their own advantages and disadvantages within SEO, so it’s important to understand the differences between them in order to make an informed decision.

What are long-tail keywords?

Long-tail keywords are specific phrases or longer search queries that users enter into search engines. These keywords are typically more specific and less generic than shorter, more popular keywords. While they may not have as high a search volume as shorter keywords, they are often more targeted and can bring in more qualified leads.


Long-tail keywords are important for SEO content strategies because they help target a more specific audience. For example, instead of targeting the keyword “digital marketing,” a long-tail keyword could be “digital marketing strategies for small businesses.” While the search volume for the long-tail keyword may be lower, the intent behind the search is much clearer, making it easier to convert those users into customers.


In order to identify relevant long-tail keywords for your website, it’s important to conduct forensic keyword research. This involves using keyword research tools and analytics to identify specific phrases that are relevant to your business and have a decent search volume. Once you have identified these keywords, you can strategically incorporate them into your website content, metadata and other digital marketing efforts.

What are short-tail keywords?

Short-tail keywords, also known as broad keywords, are brief and generic search terms that typically consist of one to three words. Short-tail keywords have a high search volume and are highly competitive, making it more challenging for websites to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs) for these terms.


Short-tail keywords are often used by users who are in the early stages of their research process and are looking for general information on a particular topic. For example, someone searching for “digital marketing” is likely just beginning to explore the concept of digital marketing and may not yet be looking for specific information or services.


While short-tail keywords can bring in a large amount of traffic to a website, they may not always lead to high conversion rates. This is because the intent behind these keywords can be vague, and users may not necessarily be looking to make a purchase or take a specific action.


To effectively use short-tail keywords in your digital marketing strategy, it is important to understand your target audience and their search behaviour. Consider supplementing short-tail keywords with long-tail keywords, which are more specific and targeted, to attract users who are further along in the buying process and more likely to convert.

Advantages of long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that users enter when searching for a particular product or service online. While they may not have as high search volume as shorter, more generic keywords, they come with a range of advantages that can greatly benefit your digital marketing efforts. Here are some of the key advantages of using long-tail keywords in your SEO strategy:

Higher conversion rates

Long-tail keywords are highly targeted and specific, which means that they attract visitors who are further along in the buying cycle and have a clear idea of what they are looking for. This results in higher conversion rates compared to generic keywords.

Lower competition

Long-tail keywords are less competitive than shorter, more general keywords, which makes it easier for your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can give your website a competitive edge and help you stand out from the competition.

Better quality traffic

By targeting long-tail keywords, you are attracting users who are more likely to be interested in your product or service. This means that the traffic you receive will be of higher quality, leading to more meaningful interactions and conversions.

Improved SEO performance

Using long-tail keywords can help improve your website’s overall SEO performance. When you focus on specific, niche keywords, you are creating valuable content that is relevant to your target audience, which can boost your rankings in search engines.

Enhanced content strategy

Long-tail keywords can provide inspiration for creating valuable, informative content that meets the specific needs and interests of your target audience. By incorporating these keywords into your content strategy, you can attract more qualified leads and establish your website as a go-to resource in your industry.


Advantages of short-tail keywords

Short-tail keywords are brief, concise keyword phrases typically consisting of one to three words. While some digital marketers may prefer to focus on long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases, short-tail keywords also have their advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should consider incorporating short-tail keywords into your digital marketing strategy:

Reach a larger audience

Short-tail keywords tend to have higher search volumes compared to long-tail keywords. This means that by targeting popular short-tail keywords, you have the potential to reach a larger audience and drive more traffic to your website.

Increase brand visibility

Short-tail keywords are often highly competitive, but ranking for them can significantly increase your brand’s visibility in search engine results pages. When users search for generic terms related to your industry, having your website appear at the top of the results can help establish your brand as a leader in the field.

Improve website traffic

Because short-tail keywords have higher search volumes, targeting them can lead to a significant increase in website traffic. By optimising your website for popular short-tail keywords, you can attract more visitors and potentially generate more leads or sales.

Enhanced SEO strategy

Short-tail keywords are essential for improving your website’s SEO performance. By incorporating these keywords into your website’s content, metadata and HTML headings, you can signal to search engines that your website is relevant to users searching for those terms.

Increase click-through rates

Short-tail keywords are often more general and can attract users who are at the beginning of their buyer’s journey. By targeting these keywords, you can capture the attention of users who are still in the research phase and increase the likelihood of them clicking through to your website.


So, which type of keyword should you focus on in your digital marketing strategy? The answer is both. Short-tail keywords can help you attract a larger audience and increase visibility, while long-tail keywords can help you attract a more qualified and targeted audience. The exact balance of long-tail and short-tail keywords ultimately depends on your specific goals and target audience. But, by incorporating both types of keywords into your Content and SEO strategy, you can maximise your website’s visibility and drive quality traffic.

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