Types of Queries
When you’re looking at your organic search queries, it’s easiest to divide all of your search queries up into two broad categories. These categories are what we call short tail and long tail. So what does that mean?
Short Tail Keyword
The first one is short tail, short tail is going to be the short frequently searched for broad keywords. Now more often than not, there are branded keywords, what’s the name of your company or key products? Again, these are very, very short keywords, one or two words, people search for them all the time. And especially with your brand, they will come up frequently. But also, they’re very, very broad. They typically are one or two words that indicate an entire industry, not using any other descriptive words. It’s just the simplest way of explaining a product or a service within a large industry.
Long Tail Keyword
Now, the longtail is exactly the opposite. This is what’s important. The long tail is going to make up the vast majority of your traffic. The reason being that well people are going to mostly search for very broad terms utilising multiple words. You see, most people are going to be very descriptive when they are using words to search for something specific. Typically they’re closer to buying or making a decision. So they tend to add more attributes to their search terms. Colour attributes, product numbers, locations, things like that.
Long Tail and short tail is kind of hard to define from a quantitative perspective. But generally speaking, when you have more than three words, it’s going to be long tail. If you have one or two words that’s typically a short tail.
Short tail query Pros and Cons
Let’s cover the short tail a little bit further. Now there are pros and cons to trying to rank for short tail words. Now the biggest pro the biggest good of a short tail word is that it’s typically a very general word. If it’s your branded term, you may already rank for it. But short tail keywords are so general and they apply to such a large industry and maybe even across different industries. They became very difficult to rank for. So it takes a very large budget to go after some of these very short tail terms.
Now here’s an example. Many people in the automotive industry would love to rank number one for the word cars. However, the word is so broad that it doesn’t apply to anyone specific. Someone might only sell new cars or old cars or small cars large expensive cheap and we haven’t even gotten into the brands now. You see we need these additional words to help provide guidance. Otherwise, we don’t know what is meant by the single word cars.
As I said most in the automotive industry would love to have that ranking. But that’s not what people need. People might search for cars and realise how big that is and then start using additional words to drill down.
Now, if I’m selling cars, obviously I’d like that, but someone’s searching at that level isn’t going to be relevant, especially if I’m in a specific location. I only offer a certain type of car. I have additional services or brands is the first of all, start optimising for your business and in your location, and you’ll naturally grow in relevance.
Now if it’s in your strategy to go after short tail terms, be prepared to work hard and be prepared to spend a lot of money. It’s not going to be cheap to accomplish. And it will take a long while to happen especially if you are just starting out with a new website.
Long-Tail query Advantages
Now that we’ve talked about the short tail, let me explain why the long tail is so amazing. You see the longtail keyword phrases are more descriptive and more targeted, which is great because it means that if someone comes in on one of those phrases, they’re much more likely to convert. These are really wonderful phrases, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s much easier to be the only person who’s trying to rank for one specific phrase.
If it’s extremely long, descriptive and targeted. It’s easier than trying to rank for one term that the whole world is competing for. So when you’re just starting out with search engine optimization, you want to have a realistic expectation. You should be focusing initially on the long tail with longer-term goals of the short tail. But start there, your clients and you may like this because it means a smaller budget.
longtail results happen very quickly as there’s much less competition and it’s much easier to establish a new show ranking for these phrases.