In search engine optimization or SEO, targeting the best keywords is vital because they are the ones that make your website a success. Search engine bots use these keywords to detect your site’s subject matter. Using the relevant keywords in strategic locations in your website elements, such as in the descriptions, content, and headings, will allow the search bots to find you easily. You can employ two types of keywords – short tail keywords for general or generic search queries and long tail keywords for a more specific search, targeting your niche audience. In addition, you can use them in combination for SEO purposes. The caveat here is to limit your use of keywords to avoid over-optimizing or over-stuffing your site, as this can be a red flag to search engine bots.

Using long tail keywords or short tail keywords for SEO

The issue regarding which type of keyword to use for an SEO campaign is always a subject of debate. There will always be proponents who will push one over the other. Essentially, both types are important, and each one has its purpose. The key factor is when to use long tail keywords over short tail keywords. How you use the keywords to appear natural and unnoticeable to the readers is more crucial. 

Typically, short tail keywords consist of one or two words. They are usually used by most people doing general searches. On the other hand, long tail keywords may have three, five, or more words. A web user who needs specific results usually types a longer query into the search engine so the results will be more relevant.

Many online marketers tend to use short tail keywords. They are easier to think of, and the search terms hold the most traffic. But despite creating a high number of hits, they are also highly competitive. Because they are broad terms, most brands and marketers will be using the same search terms. 

By contrast, using a long tail keyword has lesser competition because it is targeted and specific to your business. While it generates lower hits, the traffic it creates often leads to conversions. For example, using “lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint massage oil” is better than just using “massage oil.” 

Using longer keywords is essential for search engine rankings. They are specific, and web visitors using long tail search terms are more likely to buy. Long tail search terms will help your site appear higher on the search engine ranking page (SERP). 

Should you still use short tail keywords?

Do not discount the role of short tail search terms. Although using them is very competitive, there is a good chance that most of the traffic leading to your website will come from short tail searches. They help in brand awareness and increase traffic to your site. 

Making the most out of your keywords

You can get better SEO results when you understand how to maximize the use of both types of keywords.

  • Use short tail keywords when you know how to use them effectively. Use the short terms to help you navigate where you want your campaign to go. Using the broader search terms opens many opportunities to find long tail keywords. For example, you can use the short tails to find the location of your target audience, the search terms used by your competitors for SERP ranking, and the customer pain points.
  • Know where to place the keywords. Often, long tail terms are found in content titles and headings, while you can use the short tail terms in the permanent link, social media updates, meta tags, and alt tags.

While you are concerned with using the long tail and short tail keywords, ensure that you are giving your customers what they are looking for online. Do not forget that learning when and how to use both types of keywords boosts the success of your SEO campaign.


Recommended Posts