20 Nov Short tail vs long tail keywords
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long and complicated process. Think of it as furnishing your home; you start with the base, like picking the right wallpaper, then the fixed elements, like comfy furniture, and finally the details, like a few paintings. Furnishing a home is never finished, because you always keep adding, changing or even removing things. SEO works the same way.
There are two types of keywords in SEO: short tail and long tail. Short tail keywords are search phrases consisting of 1 or 2 words, like “jeweler”. Long tail keywords consist of 3 or more words, like “wedding rings jeweler The Hague”. Each type has its own properties and different uses.
Short tail keywords
Short tail keywords are short search phrases consisting of 1 or 2 words. They are very general, reach a large audience and are indispensable to include in your content. For example, if you are a jeweler but you fail to mention this anywhere on your website, your visitors will quickly get confused and leave.
The drawback of short tail keywords is that almost everyone in your line of business also uses them, which makes it difficult to stand out. Googling for “jeweler” will yield upwards of 22 million results, so getting your organisation to show up on the first page will be next to impossible.
Long tail keywords
These are longer search phrases consisting of 3 or more words. Every keyword you add narrows down your topic, and as such narrows down your targeted audience as well. The huge advantage of this narrowing down is that you can better service your target audience and it makes you stand out. For example, googling for “wedding rings jeweler The Hague” yields 6.5 million results, which already reduces the number of competitors by roughly two-thirds.
The drawback of long tail keywords is that your text does not come across as very natural, which can make your website look less professional. It is easier to use “jeweler” in a sentence than “wedding rings jeweler The Hague”. As a result, long tail keywords often cause awkward sentences and texts that are difficult to read.
How to apply short and long tail keywords
As mentioned before, developing web content is like furnishing your home; you start with the base, then the fixed elements and finally the details.
Base web content consists of the static pages on your website like the home page, the “about us” page and the portfolio page. You build this base with short tail keywords, which keeps your texts natural, clear and makes it immediately apparent who you are (“jeweler”).
Then you move on to the fixed elements, which are landing pages dedicated to specific topics. You use long tail keywords to attract a specific target audience. For every landing page, focus on one specific long tail keyword (“wedding rings jeweler The Hague”) and supplement it with five related keywords in order to really zone in on the topic.
Finally, you add the details by means of a blog. When furnishing your house, you choose a painting of this subject here, and a lamp in that shade there. In a similar way, you can add relevant articles to your blog, each based on one long tail keyword and five related keywords. This way, you showcase each specialty of your organisation. The more frequently your blog or landing pages are found on specific topics, the higher your static pages will rank in the search results.
SEO is never finished
Just as it is with furnishing your home, your SEO will never be finished. You will always keep refining it, adding or changing things. It is a long process, and depending on search engine algorithms and the efforts of your competitors, your ranking will keep changing. It will all be worth it though, in the end, when it brings visitors to your website by the truckload.