There has been much conversation and debate over whether to use short tail or long tail keyword phrases when working on optimizing your articles and websites. I think a bit of both may be in order.
Well let’s first distinguish the difference and then we can talk about how we can apply them to our articles and/or website meta tags.
Short Tail Keywords– these are 1-3 keyword phrases that are in high demand, very competitive and have a low target audience.
For example, if you are writing an article on dog training your keywords may look something like:
- Dog training
- Help training dogs
Long Tail Keywords– these are 4+ keyword phrases that are low in demand, low competition and have a very targeted market.
An example of this would be:
- How to train your dog
- Dog training made easy
So which is best? I think working a bit of both into your SEO plan works well. What has worked fairly well with me is mixing it up a bit. For my meta_tags.php file for my static website I include BOTH, short tail and long tail keyword phrases. For my articles I tend to gravitate towards the long tail keywords.
So what are the benefits of long tail keywords if they are in such low demand and less competitive? There a couple of reasons why you should integrate long tail keywords in your SEO.
- People who use long tail keyword phrases to do a search are considered a very targeted market and thus are much easier to convert to clicks and sales.
- Since there is less competition for those keywords you have a greater chance of ranking well in the search engine results. If your keyword phrase of ‘how to train your dog’ produces search results of 5,000 and your keyword phrase of ‘dog training’ produces 1 million results, your article or website has a much better chance of ranking well with the former option.
So how do I search and decide which keyword phrase is best to use? Google is your friend people! Good ole’ Google has made available this lovely FREE keyword tool that allows you to plug in keywords and it in turn generates a whole list of keyword ideas included with the monthly search volumes.
Simply go to Google Adwords Keyword Tool , select the “descriptive words or phrases” option and start plugging in some keywords. To get long tail keywords, look for keywords that have a fairly low search volume and then plug that back into Google Search and see how many results show up.
Continue to expand the keyword phrase until you are getting results of 5,000 or less. Ideally, I try to shoot for search results under 2,000, but if you are in a highly competitive market this may be very difficult to do.
Here’s another golden nugget: If you are lost for which keywords to plug in, click the ‘Website content’ radio button in the keyword tool, type in your website url and Google will generate keyword ideas based on content already existent on your site…how cool is that!