Short Tail Vs Long Tail Keywords

If you’ve been involved in SEO, you’ve probably come across short tail keywords and long tail keywords. Some get confused between the two. Here’s the difference between short tail and long tail keywords:

Short tail keywords are typically the highest level search terms a page is targeting. Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are often 3 words or more and target hyper-specific variations of a short tail keyword.

The purpose of the Google algorithms is to help the user find the content they are looking for, so there is tension between traditional SEO that try to “game the system,” and Google’s ever changing algorithms.

For that reason, backlinks have been the main factor they have looked at when handing down penalties, and the incorrect use of anchor text has been a key part of a website’s linking profile that can trigger an organic penalty.

Traditional SEO identifies a few important keywords and targets them almost exclusively. Years ago, when you looked at a website’s linking profile, the more exact match anchor text it had, the better. Currently, having an over optimized linking profile is a sure way to get slammed in the SERPs.

Traditional SEO has a very narrow focus of only targeting a very small set of keywords. Having this type of strategy can still be very effective for smaller, local campaigns. In this scenario, the client would usually only have $300 to $1000 to invest in a monthly campaign. With this small project, there usually isn’t enough work to trigger a penalty.

When you start to see a lot of problems with traditional SEO is when the client is investing at least $2,000 to $3,000 a month. At that spend, there is a lot of work that will be completed for the site. If the SEO business is just doing low quality SEO targeting a small set of keywords, there is going to be a BIG PROBLEM.

Click here to read our 5 steps to develop an effective long-tail strategy.


Getting started with a high quality long-tail strategy involves a lot more than keyword research.

You are going to need to develop high quality content that will rank for the long-tail terms. You are also going to need to convert that traffic into leads, and then track the success of the campaign.

Click here to read our 5 steps to develop an effective long-tail strategy.


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