Keywords. You know them, we love them. Did you know that there are different forms of keywords? They’re the lifeblood behind Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are long tail and short tail keywords, both of which can be utilized to optimize your website, blogs, and ads!
Short tail keywords are more general terms. They’re made up of no more than three words and often encompass broader topics instead of specific ones. For example, short tail keywords are things like “ice cream,” or “dogs.” They’re things people search for when they’re on Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
A good thing about short tail keywords is that they’re highly searched for, meaning there are a LOT of potential customers and LOT of potential sales. However, it also means there is a lot of competition — a lot of people are going to fight for these keyword placements. They’re harder to rank for, which means it’s harder to get on the front page of Google when someone just searches for “ice cream” or “dogs.”
So why would you ever use them for SEO when it’s hard to utilize their full potential? It’s because they help take the guessing game out of what you do. Basically, it helps Google know who you are and helps them show your business to customers.
So, for example, you own a local ice cream shop that is just starting to advertise in the digital sphere. A short tail keyword for you would be “ice cream shop” or “local ice cream.”
However, you’re going to want to branch out more than just short tail keywords if you want to find success. Chances are, you’re not going to rank for short term keywords right away — and that’s okay! A good strategy will take time and patience to work. After all, you’ll be competing with big brands who have been at this for years. It’s not impossible for you to knock them out of the top spots, but it won’t be easy either.
Thankfully there is another route for you to take too!
Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase. Basically they’re more descriptive and put more emphasis on who you are. Think of things like “Nike running shoes for women” or “suboxone clinic in Phoenix.”
In other words, they’re used more often for buying than for research. Basically, if someone wants running shoes, then they’re going to Google “Running shoes,” but if they want a specific kind because they know what they like, they’ll be more specific with their Google search.
Let’s look at a few long tail keyword options that match the ice cream shop example. Here are a few:
Long tail keywords have a lot of potential. Long tail keywords let you get your foot in the door a lot easier than most short tail keywords. The more specific the keyword, the less competition you’ll have! But there is a small drawback with them — the longer the keyword, the less people are searching for them.
For example, getting the top spot for “ice cream shop in Phoenix AZ” would get you a LOT more traffic than trying to spend time on getting you ranked for “ice cream.” The downside though is that you’ll reach a lot less people. The upside? You’ll bring in a lot more qualified customers who are looking for ice cream cones near them.
Long-tail keywords are simply a matter of establishing better lines of communication between your business and the customers who are already out there, actively shopping for what you provide. In other words, no one coming to your website will be searching for Kroger Ice Cream. Instead, they’ll be walking into your shop, ready for a nice ice cream cone.
Short tail keywords and long tail keywords have their place. You should have a healthy mix of them in your website’s meta data, including the meta description, URL, and appropriate headings. You want to be general enough with short tail keywords to draw in potential customers, but balance it out with long term keywords for specificity.
For example, your homepage for an ice cream could have the following keywords:
When it comes to website SEO, the vaguer the term, the better it will work. You can use more specific long term keywords for blog posts. Think of “homemade mint ice cream” versus “How do you make homemade ice cream?” The first would be great for website pages, while the second phrase would be perfect for blogs!
Or you can trust the experts to figure it out for you! If you need help, give us a call at Helix House. We’re keyword experts and are happy to share our knowledge with you! Give us a call!