Long-Tail Keywords vs Short-Tail Keywords: Pros and Cons

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Long-Tail Keywords vs Short-Tail Keywords: Pros and Cons

Updated on: 30 January 2014



Most of the businesses out there are not well-versed in SEO and it’s understandable because SEO isn’t a simple practice after all. However, many of those businesses are still aware of the importance of targeting the right keywords for their website. The keyword research can be group in 2 parts: Short-tail keywords and Long-tail keywords. Let’s have a look at their pros and cons to help you understand importance of both keyword types.

Short-Tail Keywords

These are broad and vague terms that users search for in the search engines. For instance, “travel”, “marketing”, “celebrity”, “baby” etc. They would bring different sort of results from various resources. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of such keywords.


One of the good things regarding short-tail keywords is that they attract a large number of people quite easily and using such keywords can help to get a lot of traffic for your site. They are easy to spot and used keeping in mind the theme of the website. They’re also easier to write about and use in the content, posts etc. on your website as a single term “travel” can be fitted few times in the content, but it’s important not to over-use the term.


Since these keywords don’t exactly indicate what users are searching for there are chances of getting wrong sort of traffic to your site. Moreover, as short-tail keywords are easier to use – it’s quite understandable that they have extremely high competition and many well-established and globally known businesses have already targeted them.

Long-Tail Keywords

As compared to short-tail keywords, these are narrowed down to be more specific in order to get as many matching results to users query as possible. For instance, “Travel to Singapore” or “Internet Marketing Singapore”. These specific long phrases will return those websites that carry these keywords and users in most cases find what they’re looking for.


We can say that short-tail keywords are used in the beginning of a search but when a user is getting closer to what they are looking for and near to make a decision whether the search is over or not. Using these keywords brings ‘targeted traffic’ and the users will be already pretty much interested in what you’re selling and the conversion rate of such leads into sales is usually high.

Most of the businesses don’t use such phrases or keywords in their keywords campaign or AdWords campaign in the beginning and that gives you an edge since there will be low competition.


The biggest issue about long-tail keywords is the limited search volume compare to short-tail keyword. General thumb of rule is long-tail keywords usually gets 20-40% search volume compare to short-tail keyword.

Example: “Internet Marketing” gets about 720 average searches per month but “Internet Marketing Singapore” gets about 320 average searches per month as per Google Keyword Planner Tool.


All in all, both type of keywords are beneficial and should be used in a combination for your internet marketing strategy.