What Are Short Tail Keywords?

What Are Short Tail Keywords?

Recently I wrote an article about long tail keywords and explained what they are and why you need them. Today it is the turn to talk about short tail keywords. The word short tells you that theses are keywords which are not long. In fact, short tailed keywords only have one or two words. It’s also true that they are searched for more often than long tailed keywords. So when someone using a keyword research tool like Keyword Planner sees the large search volume, they tend to think it would be a good idea to use these keywords on their website.

Today I’m going to explain to you about the pros and cons of using short tailed keywords, as well as how to find them. Let’s go!

What Are Short Tail Keywords?

Short tail keywords are the words or phrases you use to find things on the internet. They have only one or two words. A short keyword is more generalised, so the results you get from searching for it are variable.

cat short tail keyword


In the above example, I entered the short tailed keyword cats. Asides from YouTube clips, there was also a Wikipedia blurb and links to TradeMe, the SPCA and a Facebook page dedicated to cats. As you can see, the results are varied. I have to scroll down and hunt for more detailed information and chances are, I’ll end up entering a bit more information into the search box next time. While a short keyword is searched for more often, they also have more competition. This makes them harder to rank high in search results for and as they provide a general range of results, they often produce a higher bounce rate on your website. This is because although your search results told the user you had an article about cats, it wasn’t what they were looking for. So when they go to your page, they clicked off it without doing anything else. Hence a higher bounce rate.

Should I Use Short Tailed Keywords?

I’m going to give two answers here: yes and no. Yes, short tail keywords should be used in your copy. But no, short keywords should not be the main keywords you focus on. We know that they will be searched for, but we also know the competition to rank with them is high. This means your main focus should be on using long tailed keywords, but also use the odd short keyword too.

Confused? Okay, how about this: each page on your website needs at least one specific keyword. This is what you base your web page copy on. This should be a long tail keyword such as ‘cats who don’t molt.’  You then start to build your rank score on the long keyword. By default, you’ve also included the short keyword ‘cats’ in that phrase too.  As you start to rank for the longer keyword, you also build up strength in ranking for the short one too.

You can also have some pages where the short tail keyword is the main focus. You most probably won’t rank highly for them, but it lets search engines know more about what your website is about.

Ready to Find Your Short Tail Keywords?

Awesome. I’ve made a list of free keyword research tools you can use to find the perfect keywords for your website. Take a read of my blog post What Are the Best Free Keyword Research Tools to get started. Or if you’d rather hire someone to do your keyword research, I’m your girl! Send me a message through my contact form below and let’s get started!


Tags: SEO  Keywords  

Posted: Monday 22 January 2018