Long tail keywords

Sohail Rupani is a senior SEO strategist at PNC Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Orlando. He specializes in SEO and SEM techniques. He is passionate about technology and loves to analyze the tech industry in his spare time and stay in touch with the latest happenings. He also writes technical articles about SEO and digital marketing. Follow @sohailrupani for more updates.

Keywords are essential for E-commerce websites to get visitors by appearing at the top of search results of Google. It is important for you to have a basic understanding of how keywords work, but more importantly than that, it is important to question yourself about your objective: What exactly are you trying to achieve?

Getting visitors to buy from you or just increased traffic i.e. greater number of visitors to your website?

Once you have decided what you want to achieve, you will have to determine the keywords to work in line with your SEO strategy.

The second question is whether you should make use of long tail keywords or short tail keywords to optimize your website. First let us develop a fundamental understanding of what long tail and short tail keywords mean and how they work.

Understanding Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords, also referred to as “head terms”, contain no more than one to three words. Even though these keywords can generate a lot of traffic to your website, they are difficult to get a hold of and require a lot of hard work, time, and consistency, since there is a lot of competition as it is. That is one of the reasons why business owners often choose to hire an agency that offers SEO services to take care of their SEO needs, because they find it difficult to dedicate their own time to SEO and its technicalities.

The real challenge that lies with short tail keywords is that if your website is new, or if you have never used SEO before, you will have a long way to go.

The Pros and Cons of Short Tail Keywords


  • Higher search volume


  • Lower conversion rate
  • Lower intent for purchases
  • Highest possible competition

Understanding Long Tail Keywords

If you want your site to show up when users search online to buy a particular item, use long tail keywords.

Believe it or not, a staggering 70% of searches online consist of long tail keywords. Unlike short tail keywords, long tail keywords consist of phrases or more than 3 words.

When it comes to long tail keywords, you have to be very specific and careful. Don’t expect to get as many users as you would if you had used short tail keywords, because due to lesser traffic, the chance of making higher conversions will be extremely low. However, the visitors that will end up on your website will be more relevant to your product, because they’ll know what they’re looking for and will come with a higher intent to purchase it.

The Pros and Cons of Long Tail Keywords


  • Higher conversion rates
  • Higher intent for purchases
  • Lower competition


  • Lowest possible search volume

Long Tail vs Short Tail Keywords

The answer to long tail vs. short tail keywords is simple – it depends on your objective. The clearer you are on what you aim to achieve, the better you will be able to choose.

By taking a closer look at the two options, you will see there is a relationship between high competition and cost against probability of conversions for long tail and short tail keywords.

As mentioned earlier, 70% of online searches consist of long tail keywords, because users also understand that there is a higher chance of them ending up on a relevant website that has what they are looking for if they type what they want in detail

At the same time, you must optimize your website using short tail keywords as well. The purpose of this approach is to cover all bases. If you play your cards right, your website will be positioned at the very top for long tail searches, meaning you will attract visitors with high intent for purchase, while climbing the ranks for short tail keywords too, so that the number of people becoming aware of your brand and product keeps increasing.

If you manage to successfully optimize your website for short tail keywords, you will also see your SEO improve by leaps and bounds. In turn, it will also help your website’s ranking for long tail keywords due to high click through rates and increased traffic.


What you finally decide on depends on the type of business you are operating. Long tail keywords are the best option if you want to appear at the very top of Google, while increasing organic traffic. But, if you just want to be found, you will want to target short tail keywords. To introduce long tail keywords to your website, start by publishing content of no less than 500 words per page. Also, make it a point to create blogs on a regular basis. The greater the content, the greater the chances for you to incorporate long tail keywords with ease.

All in all, it really falls on how well you have used the right mixture of keywords to make your website successful.

Do keep in mind though, you will need to do your homework, and if you are not sure where to begin, click here to learn more.

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