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Long vs. Short Tail Keywords: Which Is Better?

Long vs. Short Tail Keywords

Long vs. Short Tail Keywords: Which Is Better?

When it comes to On-Page SEO, Keyword research is unquestionably essential. While it is important to do keyword research well before drafting content, the concern “whether to use short-tail keywords or long tail” is quite common.

To let search engines detect the content of your web page, you need to use relevant keywords in various parts of the content such as the title, headings, slug, alt text, and several times within the content.

If you are unsure which keywords (Long vs. Short Tail) can benefit you more, read ahead, and you wouldn’t need to look up to any other resource.

What are short tail keywords?


Keywords that are not longer than three words are termed short-tail keywords—for example, Italian cuisine, Oxford University.

What are long-tail keywords?


Keywords that are over three words long are known as long-tail keywords—for example, Italian cuisine restaurant near me, Oxford University Admission 2021.
Long Tail Vs. Short Tail Keywords


Here’s a crystal-clear distinction between short-tail and long-tail keywords:



Short tail keywords are primarily general. Example: Italian food. On the other hand, long-tail keywords as specific. Example: Italian food under $10.
With that said, long-tail keywords can determine a user’s search intent. However, the same is uncertain with short-tail keywords.



Short tail keywords are costlier to rank as the demand is high. In comparison, it is inexpensive to rank long-tail keywords due to its low demand.



The chance of conversion (making money) is high with long-tail keywords, as those are specific to the user’s search intent. The same is the opposite in the case of short-tail keywords.



The search volume for short-tail keywords is high. Therefore ranking for them can lead you to high traffic. However, it is the opposite in the case of long-tail keywords.



Short tail keywords are highly competitive, and thus ranking for them requires high Domain Authority, among other factors.
Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are easier to rank for even with low Domain Authority.


Are long tail keywords better?


Long-tail keywords are a game-changer if your website or business is new. By ranking for long-tail keywords, you may get lesser traffic as the search volume is generally low. However, since they are pretty specific, the chances of conversion are high.
For websites with high domain authority, it is easier to rank for short-tail keywords. But, even if you drive a lot of traffic, it would be generic, and most of them may return unsatisfied as they may be looking for something specific that your article may not talk about.

For example, if you rank for the keyword “domain” for an article with the cheapest domains for sale, and you rank high for it and drive huge traffic. But if users intend to understand what ‘domain’ means, the search for “domain,” they may return unsatisfied.

So, if you rank for a long-tail keyword like “buy cheap .com domain,” you might get less traffic but a high conversion rate.


Both long tail and short tail keywords have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, you need to decide which one to use, depending upon your objective and domain authority.


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