AnalyticsSearch Engine Optimisation

What’s the difference between “long tail and “short tail” Keywords

By July 20, 2009 No Comments

Long Tail and Short Tail keywords: What's the difference?When clients first become aware of Search Engine Optimisation their first question is “how do I get on the first page of Google for [insert common keyword here]”.

  • Eg #1: A bed and breakfast wants page one on Google for “bed and breakfast”
  • Eg #2: A real estate agent wants page one on Google for “real estate”

This is the short tail.

A page one placement for a generic keyword is nice, but it’s really really hard to get.

Then there is long tail

The long tail is about getting first page placements for long search phrases. This is much easier to do.

Imagine for a moment that you own a Bed and Breakfast in Papamoa, Tauranga. Which would you rather have:

  1. 20 visits a day from searches for “bed and breakfast”
  2. Or 5 – 10 highly targeted visits a day from a diverse range of phrases such as “where can I find a bed and breakfast near papamoa?”, or “bnb in the bay of plenty with views of the beach”

I say both, but my recommendation is to go with #2 first. It’s just a bit easier and can will take less time to achieve.

The “Keyword” report in Google Analytics

One of my favourite reports in Google Analytics is “Keywords”, so you can see exactly what phrases people have used in Google to find you.

Keywords that you keep getting found for appear at the top, and they are great, but the real magic is lower on the list for very long phrases that only one person has used only once.

What we want to do is grow the length of this list from 500 (for example) to 1000 a month.  Because that represents 500 extra visitors to your website that your top performing keywords would never generate on their own.

Note: As off 2012 Google Analytics have now retired the ability to see the full list of keywords used in organic search. To see these details you need to get up Google’s search console, which can be linked into your Google Analytics account.

Need a hand? Get in touch!