13 Apr

Short tail and Long tail Keywords in SEO

Shorttail and Longtail Keywords in SEO

Short tail searches are all search queries in Googles consisting of 1, 2 or 3 words. Long tail searches are search queries consisting of 4 or more words, like this one (5 words):


It’s extraordinary to see how this is divided in Google: 70% of all search queries in Google consist of these long tail searches. Only 30% is short tail.

In first instance this might amaze you, but just take a look at your own search behavior. You will quickly see that you mostly use 4 or more words in your queries. You do this because you want to get the most relevant results. The more specific your search, the more specific the results will be. Makes sense right?


It’s funny to realize that almost all of your competitors only focuses on the 30% short tail. There is a bit of ego involved. Many website owners think from their point of view, there own jargon and knowledge and as a result they miss the search queries in common language…

For example, people who know nothing about SEO, don’t go to Google with searches like ‘SEO’ or ‘SEO Tips’. They will use queries like ‘How to get higher in Google?’. This may sound a bit childish but herein lies a golden opportunity. I call this lowhanging SEO fruit.

Why long tail traffic converts better…

The conversion rate (the percentage of visitors that take action, like a purchase) is higher with long tail search queries. Like you can see in the example above for ‘Nike women’s running shoes’.

This makes perfect sense because people who are looking for this and land on a webshop offering that exact product will be more inclined to buy then when they had been searching for ‘shoes’ in general or the webshop they land on just offers ‘shoes’ in general.

Short tail SEO = prestige

Off course it’s great to achieve that coveted first spot for the most important keyword in your niche. For us that’s the term ‘internet marketing‘ for example. It’s important to acknowledge this kind of terms are great, but mostly just the top of the ice berg.

The real mass, the long tail keywords, are usually under the surface.


Do you dare to step over your own loss aversion by choosing specific solutions, products and hence keywords?

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