What Are Short-Tail Keywords?

What Are Short-Tail Keywords?
What Are Short-Tail Keywords?
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If you’ve been delving into the world of SEO for a blog or website, I would like to personally guarantee that you’ve come across the term ‘short-tail keywords’ at least once. Keywords are important when you want to send search engine traffic to your blog or site. If you’re a florist, for instance, you would look at using floristry-related keywords, such as “Southend florists” or “florists” to help find you new, potential customers. The two examples I have just given you are examples of short-term keywords.


Because they’re short. As opposed to long-tail keywords, which are longer … The name gives it away a bit, don’t you think? Just in case you hadn’t read my previous blog post, you’ll find it here: What Are Long-Tail Keywords?


What are short-tail keywords?


Short-tail keywords are just that — short keywords/search engine phrases. Things like:

  • Florists
  • Pizza
  • Blogs
  • SEO
  • Christian Louboutin shoes
  • Nail extensions


As a generalisation, short-tail keywords are search terms that only have one or two words. Occasionally, this can be stretched to three words. However, three-word search engine phrases can also be long-tail keywords.

I know, confusing, right?


“Christian Louboutin shoes” is a short-tail keyword.

“Red stiletto Christian Louboutin shoes” is a long-tail keyword.


“Wedding flowers” is a short-tail keyword.

“Wedding flowers in Southend” is a long-tail keyword.


“Black jeans” is a short-tail keyword.

“Black high-waisted jeans with fade” is a long-tail keyword.


Short-tail keywords are a lot more generalised than long-tail ones are, and will probably not return the best search engine results if you’re on the hunt for something specific. “Christian Louboutin shoes”, for example, is a short-tail keyword that will give you hundreds and thousands of results, but perhaps not the exact thing you’re looking for. If you were to search for “Christian Louboutin red stiletto shoes”, on the other hand, you’d be more likely to find a pair of red, stiletto Christian Louboutin shoes, without the need to hunt through all of the other colours and styles on the shop first.

Long-tail keywords are more specific. They’re often used by someone who is looking to buy something. If you just wanted to look at beautiful Christian Louboutin shoes, you’d have a look on the internet for just that search term. But if you wanted to buy a pair of shoes for a specific occasion or to go with a certain outfit, your search terms are probably going to get a little more specific. That’s when you’d switch from short to long-tail keywords.

What Are Short-Tail Keywords? 2

What You’ll Need to Know About Short-Tail Keywords …


Okay, so, now for some bad news.

To start with, targeting short-tail keywords means you’ll have a truckload of competition. Every florist in the world is going to use the “florist” keyword, and you’ll be a brand new blog or website, with no SEO strategies in place [yet], trying to force your way up the Google results.

It’s depressing and it’s true.


People who search for generic, short-tail keywords are probably not going to buy or sign up for something. The ‘conversion rate’ is usually quite low. Not always, but usually. How many times do you buy something from the first shop you look at? Rarely I bet. We all price-compare these days and look at a number of different websites before we make purchasing decisions. That’s kinda what happens with short-tail keywords. They’re like the vague research terms used by people who *think* they want to buy something, but aren’t quite sure yet.


Does that mean you should ignore short-tail keywords?

Oh no.

If you hit these beauties right, the search engine traffic you’ll get from them will be incredible. I’ve worked on a few websites and blogs where the majority of the traffic came from smart SEO tactics (such as, those listed in How to Use Keywords in a Blog Post for SEO – 9 Steps), and it’s a regular and very steady flow of traffic that just increases with each new additional SEO’d blog post. My stats for best-ecig.co.uk would be depressing as hell if it weren’t for search engine traffic. Again, I use those 9 SEO steps. I’m not saying they’re the *ONLY* steps you can take to boost SEO for your blog or site, but they are most certainly a fabulous place to start. Trust me.


Do you want to hear my keyword advice?

Switch it up.

Use both long-tail and short-tail keywords as the basis of your blog posts, going with what comes naturally. I talk about this a lot in 4 Things You Definitely Shouldn’t Do With Your SEO Blog Keywords, especially as far as writing blog posts for the sake of hitting a keyword goes. If you use the steps in How to Find SEO Keywords for Your Blog that Actually Perform, you’ll soon learn the keywords it makes sense for you to target. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter that it’s a long or short-tail keyword, just that it’s a good keyword for you to hit. If there aren’t that many other blogs targeting it, but the stats seem to suggest that quite a few people are searching for it, I’d go for it.

The competition will be high, but if you get your short-tail keywords just right, you’ll be laughing all the way to million-views-ville!




I hope I’ve made keywords a little easier for you to understand today, but feel free to shout your questions at me. Not literally, obviously. You can get in touch via social media, or by leaving your comments in the space below. You can also use the Contact Me page if you fancy hiring me to be the next blogger on your team.

Have a fab day!




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