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Home » Long-tail And Short-tail Keywords Explained!

Long-tail And Short-tail Keywords Explained!

Short-tail keywords

Looking for high-converting keywords for your site? Great, because if you want to drive a decent amount of traffic towards your business website and ensure high rankings, the right keywords are a must! So, use both Long-tail and short-tail keywords in content.

During your research, you would’ve come across two types of keywords: long-tail and short-tail, right? However, using them in conjunction will benefit your website the most.

Besides, using keywords excessively is the last thing you’d want to do. Over-optimizing is something you should distance yourself from. Does that mean your primary focus should only be a specific set of keywords? Let’s find out.

Here, we explain long-tail and short-tail keywords to help you identify how you can use them to top the SERPs!

Long-tail Keywords

If you want to bring users to your website and target new audiences searching for your brand with the intention to purchase something from you, using long-tail keywords is your best bet. These terms are a little more descriptive, target users at various levels of the buying funnel, and consist of at least four words. For instance, ‘which Android phone has the best processer’ or ‘designer clothes for the office.’

Short-tail keywords

While the users typing these terms already know what they’re looking for, they’re still doing their research to determine which option is the most suitable for them. And this is the opportunity to get in front of your audiences. By using a keyword checker to familiarize yourself with which long-tail keyword internet users are searching, you can customize your content to target individuals who may ultimately want to purchase your product/service.

Downside of Long Tail Keywords:

However, there’s one downside to long-tail keywords: their search volume is far lower than their shorter counterparts. Compared to the less-than-a-hundred searches for ‘designer handbags for work,’ there are a whopping 70,000+ searches for ‘designer bags‘ in a single month. But then, ‘which Android has the best camera’ has monthly searches in thousands; you can expect a lot of diversity for search volume.

However, don’t be disheartened with the lower search volumes and don’t make the mistake many marketers make – “why bother with a term that doesn’t have more than a handful of monthly searches?” Remember that most internet searches are long-tail keywords, and the traffic you get to your website as a result of these terms has greater user intent; that is, they’re there to buy something because they’re already searching for something specific.

Plus, compared to a generic term, long-tail keywords don’t have much competition. It means that the probability of a user seeing your website is more, which. In turn, provides you a better opportunity to make a conversion.

Short-tail Keywords

Generally, short-tail keywords contain three terms at max. For example, ‘designer clothes’ or ‘clothes.’ However, the search volume of these terms is high. For instance, ‘designer bags’ boasts a staggering 70,000+ searches for a month.

However, because the search volume for short-tail keywords is high, you’ve got to be very competitive. Since these search terms are pretty generic, ranking them higher in Google’s search results will be tough. But, don’t let the fact of you standing behind a very impatient, long queue worry you. Why? With the right keywords, enough hard work, and sufficient patience, you’ll be seeing results pretty quickly.

If you’re still a bit confused, let’s break it down for you even further.

Long-tail Keywords: The Pros and Cons

The Long-tail Keywords Pros

  1. Competition: Compared to short-tail keywords, the competition is far lower with long-tail keywords. This is because the search is quite specific, which means that only a few experts target these keywords.
  2. Conversion rate: Since people already know what they’re looking for, the conversion rate is high. The visitors using these keywords are ahead in the customer’s journey and just looking for the right supplier. For instance, someone searching for shoes, in general, wouldn’t have much more chances to convert than someone searching for white running shoes from Adidas.
  3. Cost: Compared to short-tail keywords, the cost of searches is way cheaper because of the low search volume of long-tail keywords.
  4. Intent: Since the users using long-tail keywords are searching for specific products/services, their intent is pretty straightforward. They’re well-aware of what they need, and therefore, the probability for conversions is very high.

The Long-tail Keywords Cons

  1. Search volume: This is probably the only downside to using long-tail keywords – the search volume is relatively low. Many people search for short-tail, general keywords and don’t bother typing in long-tail, more specific keywords. Due to lower search volume, the potential traffic isn’t high.

Short-tail Keywords: The Pros and Cons

The Short-tail keywords Pros

Traffic: Since their search volume is high, they have the potential of bringing a lot of traffic to your site.

The Short-tail keywords Cons

  1. Competition: Short-tail keywords have a lot of competition on every search engine. Well, this is quite obvious because their search volume is high, which is precisely why everyone is competing to rank higher for them. However, if your business doesn’t have much brand awareness, ranking on the first page of the SERPs using short-tail keywords will be pretty challenging.
  2. Cost: Using short-tail keywords can lead to higher costs because their search volume and competition are high. Thus, business owners end up spending a good chunk of their marketing budget on Google Ads. If you’re aiming for the top spot, you’ll have to pay top dollar too!
  3. Conversion rate: This is a huge turnoff for a lot of people. Even if your CTR rate is high, it doesn’t mean your conversions will be high too. They might not even be close. That’s why people prefer to use long-tail keywords instead of short-tail ones for boosting their conversion rate.
  4. Intent: This factor is closely related to the rate of conversion. For example, if you know people are looking for a watch, it doesn’t guarantee that you know about their intent. Maybe, they’re looking for a dress watch, a casual watch, a touchscreen watch, or a digital watch. This indicates why conversions are low.


Finally, you know how long-tail keywords are different from short-tail ones and how you can use both of them to get more traffic to your website. But there’s one thing that might still be confusing you: Which is the better option?

The simple answer is both. If you want to attract good traffic, use both long-tail and short-tail keywords side by side. Why? Because chances are, Google has ranked your website for both long-tail and short-tail keywords!