Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. This week’s post covers everything you need to know about short-tail keywords vs. long-tail keywords.
I had a meeting with a client a couple weeks ago and they mentioned that they finally understood the purpose of long-tail keywords, which got me thinking: maybe not everyone knows the difference between short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords. This person happens to know more about SEO than most of my clients, so I figured if they had just figured it out, the rest of you might need some help.
Short-tail keywords are generally kept to one or two words. Normally, the first keyword people think customers might search to find them is their title, which is usually a short-tail keyword. For example, content marketer, content strategist, and freelance writer can all be used to describe what I do and they are some terms people might search when looking for one.
These are all very common keywords that get a lot of searches, but they also get a tone of results because there are so many people using those keywords to try to rank for them in the various search engines. That means ranking for anyone of those keywords is very, very difficult (most of the top results have been blogging on a daily basis for years).
Long-tail keywords are just what they sound like – they’re keywords, but in long form. These are SEO gold for two reasons:
- Not as many people are trying to rank for them;
- The people using longer searches are looking for something specific, and when they find it, they’re more likely to buy.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. When you type your first keyword into the Google search bar and it comes up with an overwhelming number of results – or results that aren’t relevant to what you’re looking for – what do you do? You get more specific. You start adding words and phrases to your search to narrow it down and/or you put quotations around the phrase to make sure Google looks only for that specific phrase. Well, when your customers do that, you want to make sure they find you and that’s where long-tail keywords come in.
For me a long-tail keyword might be something like “small business content marketing,” or “small business content marketer in the Chicago area.” Someone searching for a content marketer will find a ton of results, most of which won’t be a match for what they need. But if they’re looking for a content marketer who works specifically with small businesses, or who works in their geographic area, guess who they’ll find?
To Sum Up
There’s nothing wrong with using short-tail keywords, especially if they appear in your long-tail keywords, in which case you can kill two birds with one stone. But making sure to use long-tail keywords is a great way to boost your SEO and make sure, not only that you’re found, but that you’re found by the right people who are looking for exactly what you have to offer, making it more likely that they’ll take the next steps towards hiring you.
What did I miss? Anything? If you know of any tips regarding the differences between short-tail and long-tail keywords that I forgot to mention, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments.
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