Short vs Long Tail Keywords.

Long Tail vs. Short Tail Keywords Inside Your Social Media Campaigns ...For Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), long tail keywords are becoming more important. What are the differences between short and long tail keywords? In simple terms, both are keywords or phrases that users search with when using search engines. However when compared to short tail keywords, long tail keywords are longer and more descriptive. Typical long tail keywords could contain up to three, four or even more keywords.

Being longer, long tail keywords (for example, white tennis shoes) are used more by users searching for something specific. Typical short tail keywords are generic keywords (for example, shoes) and have the advantage of driving a lot of traffic. The searches done per month for a generic keyword would be greater than that of a long tail keyword. It would be of immense benefit for a business to rank for these high volume generic terms since they would drive a lot of traffic to the website. Nonetheless ranking for these terms can be quite difficult for certain websites. Normally, for generic keywords there is a lot of competition and are targeted by ‘bigger’ websites. Most businesses make the mistake to focus on just a list of generic keywords which are highly searched.

After months of work your website may not even rank in the top 50 for a very generic term. Short tail keywords are very competitive and hard to rank for. This doesn’t mean that a business does not have the opportunity to benefit from SEO. Long tail keywords are the strategy to embark and to start benefiting from traffic through search engines. Targeting certain long tail keywords can achieve page one rankings within a few months of an SEO strategy. These type of keywords while having fewer searches will bring more relevant traffic. Users are getting more specific with their searches by using longer keywords to receive results exactly for what they are looking for. This means that your website being relevant to these queries will reduce bounce rate and increase conversions. After experiencing the benefits of long tail traffic you will be surely convinced that long tail is the best option. Wasting resources to rank for generic keywords which in the end may never bring in the same conversions. Thus, quality supersedes quantity. However, while searches for a particular long tail keyword may not be a lot, all the long tail searches combined result in a larger search volume. In fact, long tail keywords add up to 70% of all search traffic. As mentioned before users are getting better at using search engines and also seek more exact information. Long tail keywords are therefore driving much more valuable traffic and becoming more popular. Gradually progressing through your SEO strategy one will create a strong domain and a website which can target generic keywords.

We have been used to monitor incoming search traffic to a website in web analytics. This allows us to monitor keyword traffic and optimise the website to increase traffic. In 2011, Google has stopped passing keyword traffic to analytic software such as Google Analytics. This situation happens when users are logged in when searching although a future version of Chrome will implement this for all searches. This means the keywords used when searching in these cases will not show in any analytics software. Marketers will continue to lose the ability to identify how much traffic a specific keyword is driving to the website. Thus this emphasises the need to diversify traffic and not only target a list of generic keywords. It is also important not to forget local optimisation. Local optimisation affects keywords looking for something specific in a country or city. For certain businesses, the most important keywords would in fact be these types of keywords, as this is where they are offering their service. Combining long tail keywords to rank for specific local terms will target further specific searches that could target more relevant traffic.

Author: Conrad Bugeja

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