Your two keyword categories
There are keywords that are made up of one or two words, and keywords that are made up of more (also referred to as key-phrases). A short keyword may be something such as “homes” and a long tailed keyword may be something such as “homes for sale”. As you can imagine, the term “home” is going to be used lot more times in search engines than “homes for sale.”
This leads some people into believing that the keyword “home” is better than “homes for sale.” But, with the keyword “home” you are going to attract traffic from people looking for a home for their cat to people looking for an old age home. It is going to draw in a lot of traffic, but most of it is going to be useless to you if you are trying to sell homes. If you use the long-tailed keyword “homes for sale,” then you are going to get less traffic but it will be more targeted.
You have to consider what people are searching for
Look into what your target consumer is actually typing into the search engines. They may be typing in the word “home”, but are they also typing in the words “cheap”, “affordable”, “new”, “Boston”, “Chicago”? And, could any of these words be mixed into your keyword profile as long-tailed keywords?
Short-tailed keywords have more competition
A lot of people are going to be using the same short-tailed keywords as you, and a lot of them are going to be running websites that are unrelated to yours. You may get more traffic with short-tailed keywords, but it really depends upon how much competition you have on the whole. If there is a massive amount of competition for your short-tailed keyword then it is going to be a lot harder to rank highly on the search engine results page.
Think about how people use search engines
Comparing long and short-tailed keywords is unfair, as in the grand scheme of things it is always the shorter keywords that are going to win. They get the most traffic and are the easiest to optimize your website for. But, think about how and why people are using the search engines.
People use them to research your products and your services. In this case it is good to have short tailed keywords because their searches will probably not be very focused. But, once they have decided what they want then they are going to want to compare products and services. This is where long-tailed keywords that include phrases such as “cheapest”, “fastest”, “best”, etc, are going to help you out a lot.
When the purchaser is ready to buy then you should consider a mix of short and long-tailed keywords. They may know the exact product that they want, which will mean keywords involving the name of the actual product/service are going to be the most useful. These may be written as short and long-tailed keywords, and both will be equally effective.
People check for reviews
Some of your potential customers are going to search out reviews of your products to see how good they are. It is a form of online research and is where long-tailed keywords are going to help you. If you create long-tailed keywords that match (or are similar to) the search terms your potential customers use, then you can get them to read your reviews or simply find your product pages where they may decide to purchase your products/services instead of your competitors.
Your competitors may have won the search engine race in the first instance, but using this method you may be able to snatch the sale right from under them.
You need to use both long-tailed and short-tailed keywords when creating your website keyword profile. You should use more short-tailed keywords are they are going to attract more people during their initial searches. You can use long-tailed keywords to attract people who know what they want, who are doing focused research, or who are looking for reviews of your products.
Author Bio: Kate Funk is a professional blogger and writer at http://speaken.net/. She specializes in topics of interest to techno geeks and networking enthusiasts.