What are Short Tail Keywords? Why are they important?

Keywords are essential elements of SEO campaigns. The primary task of an SEO specialist is to determine all related keywords for his marketing campaign.

These keywords play an important role in the high ranking of the site.

Keywords are chosen on the basis of their search usage. The keywords which are used extensively and the ones which are not at all used, there should be a balance between these two, in order to achieve the desired result.

This is because having a keyword which no one searches for and having a keyword which thousands search for on a daily basis, can both be harmful.

Let’s begin with understanding

What are Short Tail Keywords?

They are also called short tail search phrases or head terms. Short tail keywords are usually broad search phrases internet users use when searching for some information in search engines.

These keywords contain only one or two words. This short length makes these short keywords less specific than searches involving long keywords.

Generally, it is not about the length but how specific is the keyword. Highly specific keywords mostly comprise the search volume. Short tail keywords serve the purpose of competition in online promotions.

Thus, these can be also called competitive keywords. This means online advertisers bid to place short tail keywords on popular SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).

These keywords are more widely used by SEO professionals because of their generic nature and they were being general doesn’t affect the page ranking.

Search engines find it quite vague to determine the page ranking using these general phrases. According to statistics, users don’t type in long phrases while searching for data on the net.

For SEO purposes, the short tail keywords are very essential and relevant for the website. When added with location, these words even serve a better purpose.

For instance, Doctors in New Delhi or Gurgaon Hotels. This is a significant technique in SEO where the keywords are combined with geotags to build traffic.

Understanding Short Tail and Long Tail Keywords:

Before we wonder whether short tail keywords or long tail keywords are beneficial for SEO, we should try to understand them both.

As explained above, short tail keywords or head terms are keywords having less than 3 words. While long tail keywords are the keywords with more than 3 words, long tail keywords are usually based around head terms.

The only difference is that they are more specific than head terms.

For instance, a mountain bike is a short tail keyword. While “Yamaha front suspension mountain bike” is a long tail keyword.

The difference is in their structure. Head terms are general and less specific and less focused in comparison to long tail keywords.

The phrase “mountain bike” will come up with 30, 00, 000 results. This keyword may be understood as any website which shows all kinds of mountain bikes within all price ranges and dealers across the world.

However, the keyword, “Yamaha front suspension mountain bike” will come up with 27, 20,000 results which have Yamaha mountain bikes and also specify the kind of bike it is i.e. front suspension.

The generic nature of head terms results in high direct competitors. The search queries often comprise 2 to 3 words, making short tail keywords more popular only when we talk about front – end user search operations.

This results in high visibility and traffic of websites when it comes to usage and acceptance of head terms. Any new or small website will easily tend to use short tail keywords to gain potential traffic for their site.

Now returning to long tail keywords will be most beneficial while converting your leads or potential clients. This can be explained using the same example cited before.

If a user is searching for only “mountain bikes”, that would indicate that he is more concerned about researching on them.

Users who tend to research are not buyers so won’t convert as well. They are simply browsing the internet or looking for ideas, searching for more information rather than being curious about which bike to buy or to get a discount on that purchase.

These type of users also tend to bring more traffic as well since they have all the time to review your page or like it.

Whereas, “Yamaha front suspension mountain bike” is more likely of the user to purchase it or know more about it.

Therefore, if your’s is an e-commerce website selling mountain bikes or a website describing the best mountain bikes, there are high chances that the leads are converted to your clients or will build up traffic for your site.

At the end of the day, conversion matter rather than visitor traffic so long tail keywords will be useful.

We shouldn’t miss out on this one though: all long tail keywords contain a short tail keyword. So, if used accurately, both kinds of keywords can be optimized simultaneously.

For new and small websites, it’s an opportunity to start with the optimization of different keywords in order to gain traffic in industries which have less competition.

As a new webmaster, you should follow extensive keyword research. This is all about finding out what are your users looking for and target them in order to convert them to your customers.

The best solution is to look for phrases which have high search rates but less competition. You may use these two tools for your website:

  • Keyword research and analysis tool: This is an online analysis tool
  • WordPress Longtail Keywords SEO: This is a WordPress plugin

 Short Tail vs Long Tail Keywords:

The short tail keywords are more efficient when it comes to volume. They bring high volume to your website so it’s advisable to rank for a short tail keyword to gain more traffic.

On the other hand, long tail keywords bring far less volume which may not be favorable for a few industries. However, this won’t affect the ones whose online sales are quite good.

With the capability to bring high volumes, short tail keywords quite naturally possess more competition. If your site is new in business or not a branded one then you have got quite a tough competition with the head terms.

Whereas, for long tail ones, the competition is lower. This will trigger more online sales as well because when searched for a long keyword and if that matches with any of your products, it will be an easy thing for you to get the lead and have it converted.

Since short tail ones are not targeted and generic in nature, the focus is low. It tends to bring up more competition especially with other business giants.

While the long tail keywords have a targeted nature, this will result in potential customers. These customers will be more focused on buying a product, so use a specific term.

By targeting limited searches, your product will be more useful for your potential clients. This will help you to focus more on them which will cut down the expenses and increase ROI (Return On Investment) as well.

Google Adwords charge you more for head terms because there are thousands of other businesses as well who are trying to buy them.

And, you end up paying the premium for these searches as well. In the case of long tail keywords, you pay a lot less to Google because of the specific search keywords and their length.

The only way to climb up the ladder is to establish yourself as a brand and use these long tail keywords for your benefit so that your page shows up in SERPs.

However, for new sites who follow PPC (Pay Per Click), this will be a monthly expenditure given that they don’t earn any profit in the initial time.

The head terms have low conversion rates i.e. the users won’t convert to your clients. This is quite annoying, given that you might be fortunate enough if you have 2 clients ending up to buying your service.

However, long tail keywords have high conversion rates. With their targeted and specific nature, they tend to bring more volume and convert leads as well.

The first time buyers will be a golden egg for you. There will be cases when they won’t purchase it from you but will keep in mind your site for further such phrases or refer it to their peers.

How to Rank Short Tail Keywords:

As any new website or a new business, the toughest thing is to build up traffic and better rankings. You may want to achieve it faster and sometimes with less expenditure as well.

Above all, you got to ensure that you follow the SEO tips and avoid spamming internet users. Here are the steps to rank the head terms so that they benefit your business:

1. Target long tail keywords to rank the short tail ones:

This is a good start. You will need a magnificent domain authority and a clean backlink profile besides creative content and speed website loading in order to achieve this. The initial thing is to optimize for topics.

You will have to segment the keywords into small divisions. Each division will represent similar intent and that one intent requires a unique content on the webpage in order to meet the searcher’s requirements. Then break out your short tail keywords into relevant divisions of long tail keywords. Ensure that you have the capacity to create content for those divisions.

Next, you will have to optimize the short tail topic after the successful optimization of long tail keywords.

Once you’ve created the content for these topics, you may want to filter them on the basis of their rankings. The final part is to be patient. Sit back and fret not for the pages which are about the long tail topics.

However, you will have to focus on marketing and promoting them and then on ensuring that you deliver quality. These things actually are slow and need your patience.

A customer’s trust can’t be won in a day or you can’t establish yourself a brand in a day. These things take time. A few free online tools to get this done are:

  • Ubersuggest
  • Google keyword planner

2. Use the long tail keyword in the title and short tail in permalink:

After you have chosen the desired long tail keyword, you should use it as the title of your article. And the head term should be used in the URL part of the article.

For instance, if you are writing about the post running stretches then you may use the title, 5 post run stretches that will boost your performance, and use the short tail keyword, post-run stretches in the URL.

3. Target the long tail keyword and build content around it:

Pick the long tail keyword which will bring you high conversion and then begin writing about it. Ensure to make it creative and refreshing for your readers because readers these days tend to have a shorter attention life span.

You may make it Infographic content or use more images for the reader to scroll down. While you are at content writing, keep the long tail keyword in the H2 tag and in the first & last lines of the article.

Use 2 – 3 LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords in your article. These keywords are the primary keywords that give Google an idea of what your article is about. For LSI help, you may want to use Google Suggestions.

4. Interlink your articles:

And don’t forget to interlink your posts within your article.

For instance, if you are writing about “open water swimming techniques”, mention another related article on “benefits of swimming”. This way, you will keep your readers engaged and avoid visiting your competitor’s site.

In a nutshell, we may conclude that short tail keywords bring high volume to your website and have a high-cost factor, bears low focus or targeted search and brings high competition along with low conversion rate though.

On the other hand, long tail keywords cost a lot less, have high conversion rates, less competition and more targeted in nature but bring low volume to your site.

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