When looking at long-tail vs short-tail keywords and which is better for growing your blog, I’m afraid the answer is not going to be a simple one, and it certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario, either. In reality, you’d think that long-tail keywords were the best type to focus all of your attention on considering they account for over seventy percent of all internet searches on Google. In theory, yes, it makes total sense to pay attention to those longer search terms, but it not *always* the case that they are better. You definitely shouldn’t ignore their short-tailed cousins, though. Nooooo. Don’t do that.
Let me explain …
Long-tail keywords, when used the right way, have the ability to generate mounds of traffic for your blog or website, particularly if you’re working within a niche that doesn’t have a lot of competition. My vaping website, for example, gets almost all of its traffic from Google searches, and that’s because there aren’t quite as many vape bloggers as there are beauty bloggers or lifestyle bloggers. If there are, they’re not paying super-duper amounts of attention to the SEO side of things, because I consistently hit the first page of Google. I’m also quite often the first result, if not in the first three, for the keywords I have targeted. Not that I’m boasting or anything. Okay, maybe I am a little bit, but I’ve put a lot of work into it so I think it’s totally okay that I’m proud.
You should be proud of your blogs and websites, too. It’s not like you haven’t dedicated hours of work to the cause!
All boasting aside, I get a decent amount of traffic already on my vaping website, but I don’t get MASSES of traffic. I paid attention to the weird and wonderful keywords first — the long-tail ones. I haven’t paid quite as much attention to the short-tail ones, although, they are next on my hit list.
When the Vype ePen was advertised on TV, before the TPD changed all the rules and said you couldn’t promote them anymore, I knew that people would be searching online for it after seeing the ad. They’d want to know more about the product, and what other people thought when they used it. So, I rushed out, bought the Vype ePen, and added the review to my website, using the 9 SEO steps laid out in How to Use Keywords in a Blog Post for SEO.
It became my most popular blog post.
I then made a video review, using the long-tail keyword: “Vype ePen review”. It’s not really that ‘long’, admittedly, but the short-tail version would have been “Vype” or “Vype ePen”. It became my most popular video on YouTube [despite being the WORST – one of my very first], is still my most popular video on YouTube, has 118,000+ views (correct at time of writing), and is the first video offered up when you Google search for “Vype ePen review”.
In fact, while I’m boasting [again], I might as well tell you just searching for “Vype ePen” brings my video up first, too. And the same for just “Vype” on its own.
I have [disclosed] affiliate links in that review on the website, and coming up on the first page of Google has certainly helped to make them profitable.
Okay, I’m done boasting now.
The point I’m trying to make here is that I focused all of my attention on the long-tail keywords and barely any attention on the short-tail ones. I get a lot of Google traffic, but only for specific search terms — product name + model reviews, etc.
I DO NOT get a lot of traffic from generic, short-tail keywords, such as:
- Vape reviews
- Vape reviewer
- UK Vape reviews
- Vapes UK
- Best vaporiser
You get the idea.
In my defence, I’ve barely touched on the short-tail keywords. There are already a lot of blogs out there who are targeting them, and it will take me a lot of work to make my blog rank higher than theirs. I’d need to prove my worth — my SEO worth — in order to beat them and be listed above them in Google search results.
The long-tail keywords, however, do not have as much in the way of competition. They’re the ones I focused on initially. They’re also the ones that have created a nice, steady stream of traffic to my site every day.
Now that I have figured out my SEO strategy and I know the kind of blog types my readers enjoy, I really need to start paying attention to short-tail keywords — those search terms that have a lot of competition but really pay off when they’re worked the right way. That’s my next strategy for the site, as well as actually publishing the draft reviews I have waiting in the wings (we all know the I-can’t-get-decent-images struggle, right?). I will, of course, keep you informed. I predict that hitting those short-tail keywords and then actually ranking high in Google results is going to be a tough challenge. I’m up for it, though.
Long-Tail vs Short-Tail Keywords: Which Are Better?
Long-tail keywords are easier to hit than short-tail ones. The short-tail ones are going to come with a whole truckload of extra competition than the long-tail ones. If you were to ask for my advice, I’d suggest that you use a mixture of both. Start hitting those specific keywords to generate traffic, and then work on the short-tail ones sporadically. Maybe three or four long-tail keyword-based blog posts for every short-tail one? That’s the strategy I’m about to take with my vaping website, but I’ll update you all with new information/results.
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this. Have you had better luck with long or short-tail keywords? Or have you done the smart thing and incorporated a mixture of both? Leave your comments below, folks, or get in touch via social media.
Further resources + reading:
Fancy learning more about SEO for your blog? I have a bunch of blog posts you can check out:
- What Are Blog Keywords?
- 4 Things You Definitely Shouldn’t Do With Your SEO Blog Keywords
- What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
- How to Use Keywords in a Blog Post for SEO – 9 Steps
- What Are Short-Tail Keywords?
- How to Find SEO Keywords for Your Blog that Actually Perform