Long Tail Keywords vs Short Tail Keywords – Which Is Good In 2020

Keyword research is a crucial and time taking part in Search Engine Optimization, especially when it comes to on-page SEO. But, before you go for keyword research, few things should be bright in your mind about keywords. Keywords are of two types, short tail keywords, and long-tail keywords. And, if you want better results, then you should use both types. Today I’ll tell you about Long-tail keywords vs. short-tail keywords.

But before we go on comparing both long-tail keywords vs. short tail keywords, let’s understand what precisely short tail and long keyword mean.

What is a Short tail keyword?

A short tail keyword is the search term, which has 1-3 words. These keywords have a very high search volume as they cover a large part of the topic.

Suppose you search “backlink checker” or “best backlink checker,” both of these are short-tail keywords.

What is a Long Tail Keyword?

Long-tail keywords are a bit different from short-tail keywords. Long-tail, as it suggests, has more than three words in the search term. Search volume for long-tail keywords is, of course, low in comparison with short-tails, but it gives a clear idea about the topic and searches intent.

Let’s continue with the previous example, “backlink checker for SEO” or “best free backlink checker” has four words. And so both are long-tail keywords.

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Long tail keywords vs short tail keywords

Long Tail Keywords vs Short Tail Keywords
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Short tail keyword

Short tail keywords have a large audience base, but it cannot compete with long keywords in other terms like CTR, competition, etc.

  •     High Search Volume and traffic:

Short tail keywords cover a large part of any topic, and hence the search volume for short keywords is always high in comparison with the long one.

It’s hard to rank, but if you crack this, you’ll get tons of visitors to your blog.

  •     Low Conversion Rate:

Sometimes, short keywords are irrelevant because it doesn’t show results the exact information about what the user is looking for.

For example, “backlink checker” shows only tools, not articles about what it means, how it works, etc. And so, CTR and conversion will below.

  •     High Competition

Short keywords are highly competitive. Even if you target the long keywords, the short version of the keyword is automatically included in that. Due to this, long version keywords also become competitors even if the intention is to rank on the longer one.

  •     Low Focus Targeting

Short keywords target the broader audience, and hence it becomes challenging to do focussed audience targeting.

Sometimes you write an excellent unique article on a topic and publish it. After some time, when you try to figure out if your keyword is ranking or not, you find that all ranking pages are product pages.

Let’s say you wrote an article on “Watches for men” now, if you search this keyword on Google, you’ll find that all results are of e-com websites. Here you cannot target your audience with this keyword.

  •     High bounce rate

Just think about our example, you searched “backlink checker” to know about backlink checker tools, but you got a list of tools. You clicked the first one but found it irrelevant. What will you do now? Of course, you will go back on the result page, and this is called the bounce rate, and it should below.

Long-tail keyword

Long-tails have low search volume, but it has a lot of benefits if you target the right keywords.

Low Search Volume and traffic:

Long keywords have low search volumes because people search the head terms most. And they only go for long-tail when they don’t get the desired result on the head search term. And so, you’ll get low traffic if you target long-tail keywords but, the CTR is comparatively high for long keywords.

High Conversion Rate:

As I said, only those people search for long keywords who want specific information about the topic, and hence if you rank high on long keywords, you will have better Click Through Rate.

If someone wants to know about a backlink checker, then he would search “what is backlink checker?” and there you’ll get a higher CTR because you are serving precisely what the user is searching for.

And if CTR is good, the conversion rate will automatically be reasonable.

Low Competition

It is almost impossible to rank on Google for a new blog with low or no authority due to high competition in short keywords. But, when you go for long keywords, you’ll see a significant difference. Long keywords have comparatively low competition, and so it becomes effortless to rank on the first page of Google even if you have a new blog with 0 backlinks.

High Focussed Targeting

Short tails cover the entire topic and hence sometimes unable to serve what the user is searching for. For instance, the keyword “backlink checker” shows all the backlink checker tools and so a user searching for information about the backlink checker won’t be able to get so.

At the same time, the long-tail keyword “What is backlink checker” will show the exact result.

Low bounce rate

Long-tail keywords have a low bounce rate because it only shows up to them who are seeking for that specific information.

Long-tail keywords vs. short tail keywords, What should I work on?

Digital Marketing legends Neil Patel and Brian Dean often tell people to work on long-tail keywords. Extended version keywords have many benefits over the short ones.

You can use the free tool of Neil Patel, Ubersuggest, to find the extended version of any keyword.

They work on long phrases instead of the short ones because of high competition and irrelevant short phrases.


So, this was the whole story of Long tail keywords Vs. Short-tail keywords. I don’t say you should completely avoid short keywords. But, if you want to rank fast and get positive results, then you should start working on long-tail keywords.

So, if you have any questions or doubt regarding both keyword types, then you can comment below.

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