While we like to think there are specific SEO rules, we’re understanding now that SEO is a versatile marketing strategy and many businesses have an opportunity to rank. So much so that even today, 15% of search engine queries are entirely unique.
Even with these facts, we’re still taught the strict rules of SEO — especially when it comes to short-tail keywords.
All SEO professionals are taught that most users search long-tail keywords into Google, especially with the increased use of voice search. Does that mean you can abandon optimizing your content for short-tail keywords?
Here’s why short-tail keywords are still worth pursuing.
What Are Short-Tail Keywords?
First, let’s cover the keywords — what are short-tail keywords?
Short-tail keywords are search terms made up of one or two words. Unlike long-tail keywords, which have phrases of three or more words, short-tail keywords are very broad while long-tail keywords are very specific.
So, what’s the deal with short-tail keywords? Most have high search volume but high difficulty, meaning your competitors are likely also optimizing their content marketing strategy with the same short-tail keywords.
But short-tail keywords have many benefits. For example, they’re often used as a “seed” to help you find better ranking long-tail keywords.
Let’s use the example “winter boots.” If you enter the keyword “winter boots” into any SEO keyword tool, you’ll get high search volume but also high difficulty. However, you can also use the term “winter boots” to find great long-tail keywords, such as “winter boots for women” and “winter books for skiing.”
Because short-tail keywords can offer many benefits, more SEO professionals are assigning these one-to-two-word phrases with alternative names, such as:
- Broad keywords
- Focus keywords
- Seed keywords
- Head terms
Businesses should conduct effective keyword research and optimize their content for both types of keywords. Long-tail keywords almost always contain the short-tail keyword, which will rank their website higher. In case individuals search for specific keywords, your website will also rank for those.
Next, we’ll look at a few examples of short-tail keywords that are valuable to your business and website.
Great Examples of Short-Tail Keywords
While most short-tail keywords tend to have high search volume and difficulty metrics, there are many exceptions. Here are a few examples of short-tail keywords that work.
Let’s go back to the winter boots example. Say you’re shopping for winter boots on Amazon or a similar platform. Will you immediately search for “black winter boots for women in size 8?” Or will you simply search for “winter boots” first?
That’s because the average shopper searches for the sole product they want. They will only filter their search when they can’t find the specific product they want.
In addition, every buyer has a different intent. It’s common for parents to buy new winter boots for the whole family when the temperature starts to get colder. They will likely start their search with “winter boots” and may search for something specific when they can’t find what they’re looking for.
Now, let’s say you’re a winter clothing brand trying to rank your winter boots SERP. Let’s also say you sell winter boots for all buyers in various colors, sizes, and styles. Should you simply rank your products for “winter boots?”
You should use a variety of e-commerce keywords, including “winter boots.” Other common keyword examples include “winter boots for men/women/children,” “winter boots in [color],” and even “American-made winter boots.”
Digital Products and Services
As stated in the previous section, buyers usually start by searching broad keywords before filtering them. This also includes digital products and services.
Let’s say you want a custom web design for your website. It’s common for the buyer to search for a general term such as “web designer,” especially when looking at a marketplace. When buyers can’t find what they’re looking for, they will search for more specific keywords such as “WordPress web designer.”
This is integral if you sell digital products and services. From web design to cybersecurity, these services are very broad and encompass several different categories within one industry.
As mentioned in the e-commerce section, those who sell digital products and services should rank for the broad short tail keyword while also optimizing their content for specific long-tail keywords. You can find these different types of keywords by using a keyword research tool.
Local keywords are specific to a geographical location. While some may be long-tail and more specific (such as “Chinese restaurants in Portland”), others are shorter and broader.
We commonly see this in the real estate market. For example, if you’re buying or selling a home, your first search will be something simple like “real estate.”
But why not “real estate in [city]?” Because Google immediately recognizes your location and shows you various real estate agents in your area, even after searching a broad term like “real estate.”
From here, you can modify the keyword if necessary. Examples include “real estate agent in Portland,” “condo real estate agent in Portland,” “sell your home in Portland,” etc.
Keep in mind, the success of these individual keywords depends on your local area and how the keywords rank. This is why you should hire an SEO professional writer who can search for high-ranking local keywords.
Recap: Why Should You Use Short-Tail Keywords?
Short-tail keywords provide many benefits to your SEO strategy. They have high search volume; even if they also have high competition, these are keywords your audience is searching for. In addition, the majority of keywords are short tail, not long tail.
Short-tail keywords offer an opportunity for you to increase your website traffic and convert your visitors. Long-tail keywords will also target the specific buyer or audience you want. Since the short tail keyword is almost always in the long tail keyword, you’ll continue ranking for both terms.
Find an SEO Professional
While many businesses try to do their own SEO, you’ll achieve more success when you find an SEO professional. They can optimize your content for both long-tail and short-tail keywords, which drives website traffic.
Find an SEO professional today!