Keywords: Long-tail vs. Short-tail

Keyword targeting is one of the most important aspects of building a successful web presence – affecting web design, copy writing, and content creation equally. We’re written in the past about the value of long-tail keywords, but the best keyword strategies combine the opportunity presented by long-tail keywords with the traffic of focused, short-tail keywords.
The trick to getting the most out your keywords is to balance opportunity with traffic. Focusing too much on long-tail will yield plenty of opportunity, but not much hope of meaningful traffic; while focusing on popular, short-tail keywords will get you lost in an ocean of competitors – especially if you lack the budget and resources to pour into SEO like the big players.

Long-Tail Opportunities

Long-tail keywords are rich in opportunity – especially if you offer a niche product or service. Honing in on just what you offer, and targeting those keywords is a great way to drive relevant traffic. If you sell jackets for overweight cats, then the long-tail keywords write themselves. I tried a little keyword research on ‘jackets for overweight cats,’ but it’s such a low volume keyword the data is a little limited. Ranking high for such obscure keywords is relatively easy.
The competition is low and the opportunity is high, so capitalize on the low hanging fruit of highly-specific keywords. The problem comes when you start to look at how many people are searching for those keywords. You might make a few very specific sales, but growing your business will require branching out beyond the hyper-specific long-tail keyword.

Short-Tail Traffic

Chasing after short-tail keywords is hard, but if you’re willing to take it on the reward can be great. Looking at the example above, overweight cat jackets is the long-tail – but ranking for something like cat supplies is exponentially more difficult. The competition is fierce, but that’s because the traffic, revenue, and growth-potential is in the popular search terms.
But despite the difficulty, going after popular search terms is vital to reaching your target audience. Many search engine users are just starting on the buyer’s cycle, and you need keywords and content that reaches them where they are. Short-tail keywords offer a chance to reach potential customers early on and capture them as customers further down the cycle.

Combined Keywords

The best SEO keyword strategy is to combine the long-tail and short-tail strategies outlined above. The best optimizers understand that specific, long-tail keywords reach customers who have identified their needs are searching for a purchase – no marketer would ignore such a group! But they also understand that not every customer knows exactly what they need – and they are still searching for broad and generic terms.
By combing long- and short-tail keyword strategies, businesses can reach a wide range of customers at different stages of the buying cycle. It also helps to shape content to offers information across the spectrum of knowledge – from basic to in-depth and specific.

Fusion SEO

Fusion Group USA offers SEO services – including keyword research, content creation, and meta-data optimization. We offer monthly plans that are tailor to meet your business needs while fitting comfortable within your budget. You can learn more about our month plans here, or call us today to set up a consultation.

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