Long tail keywords vs. Short tail keywords
The difference between long tail keyword phrases and short tail keyword phrases can make or break your online business. This applies especially to competitive markets – if you don’t properly select your keyword phrases
(the words you want to rank well for) for your business, you will experience little traffic and low sales – that I can guarantee you
Wait a sec, what are keywords?
Simply put, your keywords are what most people would think of when searching the Internet for a site like yours. If you sell real estate in Los Cabos, for example, you will be interested in keywords such as:
- real estate los cabos
real estate cabo
To say these are incredibly competitive search phrases, would be a massive understatement, as I’m sure many of you know. If you click the image thumbnail to the right, you will notice that a search for “real estate los cabos” yields approximately 329,000 results. Every real estate agent, every Realtor, and every private seller in Los Cabos has a website they are trying to get on page 1 of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) for this term. Literally millions of dollars in local real estate sales are at stake.
How the heck am I supposed to compete with and outrank 329,000 other web pages?
Quick and simple answer: YOU DON’T (well not yet anyways).
This is where long tail keywords come into play. Long tail keywords are more specific in nature; the strategy involves targeting less-competitive keywords rather than the hugely competitive broad keywords.
Using the previous example:
“real estate los cabos” has 329,000 results in Google.
But what if you just sell commercial real estate in Los Cabos?
“commercial real estate los cabos” has approximately 63,100 matches.
Wow! By adding one word “commercial” to the beginning of the original search term, we have dropped the number of competing web sites by a factor of about 5. That makes your job out-ranking the competition five times easier!
Tweaking the search term to something even more specific like “commercial real estate cabo san lucas” shows that Google only has 34,800 matches – about half the previous term. The more specific you are, the less competition there is, and the more chance you have at getting your page or web site to outrank your competition.
I still don’t get it, can I have another example?
Absolutely. Let’s try another common Los Cabos business:
“vacation rental los cabos” has 294,000 results in Google.
But what if your vacation rental is in San Jose del Cabo?
“vacation rental san jose del cabo” has 48,000 results in Google.
Don’t go after the broad, general keyword and keyword phrases right away. Be patient, that will come with time. Focus on long tail keywords first, then once successful climbing the search engine ladder for those terms, move to the short tail keywords.
Important note: long tail keywords bring in less traffic, because they are less frequently used when people are searching the internet. Having said that, the people that DO use that long tail keyword phrase when searching Google have a better chance at finding your site/web page, and since they are looking for EXACTLY what you are offering, your chance for a sale (or conversion, in online marketing speak) is very good.
long tail keywords – will bring in less traffic to your site, but the traffic it does bring is very directed and your chances for a sale, rental, etc is relatively high.
short tail keywords – more general keyword phrases that have a large amount of traffic, but due to its’ undirected nature, conversions, sales, etc are low.