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Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords: Which is Best?

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords comparison
Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords: Which is best for my small business website?

Long tail vs short tail keywords, which ones are best? – this is the question that a lot of small business website owners need to know the answer to in order to be able to promote their websites in a more efficient way.

First, let’s define what a long tail keyword is and what a short tail keyword is. Then we’ll discuss the “long tail vs short tail keywords” issue.

What is a Keyword?

A keyword is a word that Google and other search engine users enter when looking for information.

For example, “buy a car,” “Vietnamese restaurant,” “WordPress website design in Concord NSW”, and “for how long do I boil an egg” are all keywords.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

Long tail keywords definition: Long tail keywords are generally three or more word keyword phrases that are very specific to what people are looking for.

Whenever users enter a highly specific keyword, they tend to know exactly what they are interested in and/or what they are going to buy.

What is a Short Tail Keyword?

In contrast, short tail keywords are usually less specific. They are less targeted, and as such, they will have a much larger number of websites that will have information relating to them, meaning more competition.

In our example above, “buy a car” was a short tail keyword. It is not specific.

However, “WordPress website design in Concord NSW” and “for how long do I boil an egg” are long tail keywords and are much more highly targeted.

The Difference Between Long Tail Keywords and Short Tail Keywords From an SEO Perspective

Because short tail keywords are so generic, there’s usually much more competition for them. This is the reason why they are so much harder to rank for compared to long tail keywords, especially for small businesses with limited budgets and resources.

Using long tail keywords on your WordPress small business website can help you get more organic traffic and increase your search rankings, as you can target highly relevant and very specific keywords, with much less competition.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should simply stuff your website with long tail keywords left, right, and centre.

Over-optimising your website content can lead to penalties from Google and the other search engines. So you have to take care to use the keywords in the right way to keep readers and search engines happy.

This being said, according to estimates, long tail keywords bring around 70% of all search engine traffic.

By using long tail keywords you will probably end up using short tail keywords in your content anyway. Long tail keywords give you the opportunity to focus on a topic and attract highly targeted readers that may be more likely to convert compared to visitors who find you using short tail keywords.

Why Long Tail Keywords Are a Great Opportunity

Most of the top brands and big players do not optimise their websites for long tail keywords because for them it’s too much work for a search volume that’s too small. They do not spend time focusing on how to find long tail keywords. This is great news for small businesses. It provides a lot of opportunities to rank for keywords that big players neglect.

How to Find Long Tail Keywords: A Step-by-step Guide

There are many methods, but here is a step-by-step guide on how to find long tail keywords for your small business website:

Google Keyword Planner

Go to Google Keyword Planner. Go to “Discover new keywords…” and under “Enter products or services closely related to your business”, enter your keyword (eg. keywords), and select “Get results”.

Go to “Keyword ideas” to see individual keywords and their search volume. The Keyword Planner tool will suggest lots of keyword variations which may be a potential keyword you can use, that you may not have even thought of. Have a look at the Average Monthly Searches for your keyword, plus the keywords suggested by the planner tool. Pick one that is relevant. In this example, we might pick “long tail keywords”

Uber Suggest

To find long tail versions of your keyword, try using is a website that allows you to search for keywords that may not appear easily in the Google Keyword Planner.

Using you can take your keyword research to a new level by discovering what your visitors are really looking for. This is one of the best long tail keywords tools there is.

Simply scan down the list of suggestions to get more ideas of long tail keywords that are suited to your niche, industry, and location. Using our example, a few long tail keywords may be “why are long tail keywords important for SEO” or “long tail keywords vs short tail keywords”

You can see immediately that these are much more highly specific and targeted when compared to our original keyword “keyword”.

These long tail keywords may appear in the Google Keyword Planner tool but will be way down the list and not as easily found.

KW Finder

KW Finder is another pretty good option to finding short and long tail keywords. It’s easy to use, and displays a lot of other useful info, such as search volume, how difficult it thinks that the keyword would be to rank, country-specific info, etc.

It also has other cool tools, such as listing Google’s auto-complete information, and listing questions that contain your keyword to give you more ideas of how you can incorporate your keywords.

Check it out here.

Google Suggestions

There are a few tools built into Google search. These include:

  • the auto-complete function, whereby as you type, Google comes up with suggestions, and
  • Searches related to…. at the bottom of your search results.

Look at both of these for some interesting ideas for short and long-tail keywords.

Other Keyword Generation Tools

There are many other keyword generation tools that you can try. Some are free and others are paid. For a good review of other tools available, have a look at this article.

Create a Natural-Sounding and Enticing Headline

Your headline is crucial for every kind of web content you create, be it a blog post, social media ad, or email. A keyword-rich headline will always perform better than a bland, boring generic one. Just try to include your long tail keyword in your title to give your SEO a boost.

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords – Which Will You Use?

This is the foundation of what you need to know about long tail vs short tail keywords. The best thing you can do now is to immediately apply what you just learned, put your knowledge to work, and see the results for yourself.

Do some research for your local small business website and your industry & niche. Identify your keywords, both short tail, and long tail. Analyse what your competition is doing. There may just be some great opportunities out there to help with your SEO, which will help with your website traffic, meaning you can increase leads to your business.

You now know how to find long tail keywords. Use the long tail keywords tools above. See which keywords you can find for your small business and which present the best opportunity that you can take advantage of.

About Brendan

Brendan Hones is a digital marketing consultant and website designer and developer at SB Web Designs. He loves helping business owners take control of and improve their online presence to help their business grow. He is passionate about SEO and helping others to learn more through WordPress training.

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