Long Tail/Short Tail Keywords and How to Find Them

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What Are Long Tail Keywords?

Long-tail keywords are terms that are more specific. They usually contain four or more words which more clearly specifies what the consumer is looking for and/or their intent. The more specific keywords you add to your product or website, you are likely to get more qualified customers visiting your site.

long tail/short tail keywords

This is because consumers who are looking for something specific to your product are more likely to purchase your products than someone who is only doing a generic search. In 2016, Marieke van de Rakt from Yoast said it is much easier to rank for long tail keywords than for more common keywords. They are easier to rank for because they are more specific, which means less competition.

The graph on the left sides shows an example of long-tail keywords. The less specific the keyword, the higher the cost because there is more competition for those words. In contrast, the more specific the keywords are, the lower the cost is. Long-tail keywords are more targeted, less competitive and have a lower cost. The downside is having limited volume or traffic to your product or site because most people are not specific in what they are looking for. The upside is that those people are more likely to convert.


What Are Short Tail Keywords?

back of dog

Short-tail keywords are terms that are more general, broad, and may have multiple user intents. Everything is the opposite of long-tail keywords. For example, short-tail keywords tend to have high search volume, high competition and high cost-per-clicks, but low conversion rates. They bring a lot of traffic to your site which would be beneficial but the competition for these words are higher than long tail keywords. Even though a large number of hits may not convert, short-tail keywords may bring in a big share of your target market.


Why Use Long Tail/Short Tail Keywords?long vs short tail chart

Keyword research is one of the most important factors of SEO and SEM marketing and depending on the terms you use, it can make or break your campaign. The keywords you choose affects your CPC (cost-per-click), CTR (click-through-rate), page ranking and conversion rate. Using short tail keywords can get you a lot of traffic but the competition and cost is high. In contrast, long-tail keywords does not bring in as much traffic as short-tail but the customers who search for those specific terms are more likely to purchase your product.

Your goal then is to find the sweet spot between or a mixture of short-tail and long-tail keywords to maximize your ROI.


How To Find Them?

Below are three free tools you can use to find long-tail keywords.


1. Google Keyword Planner


How many times you have heard about this one? Almost every single source on more descriptive keyword includes this creation of Google. 

  • Get monthly search volume and competition level (high/medium/low)
  • Export up to 800 keyword suggestions
  • See historical data or trend


2. Google Autocomplete

No time to go through Google Keyword Planner for all your posts? Fret not, here’s a way to cheat. Make use of Google’s autocomplete suggestions to find out what are some similar sentences people are searching for.



3. Twinword Ideas

Screenshot of the keyword tool Twinword Ideas, showing the word count feature.


Twinword Ideas is a keyword research tool for SEO and PPC marketing. Not only can this tool help you generate long tail keywords in seconds, it is also the first tool to use A.I. to auto detect the user intent of each long-tail keyword suggestion so you can quickly filter and get what you need. Features we want to highlight:

  • Get both matched and related keywords
  • Auto-detect user intent
  • Sort and filter keywords by relevance

If you are unfamiliar with keyword research and LSI keywords, this article on LSI Keyword research can help you get started.


Remember To Write Naturally

You go though all this work to find your long-tail keywords, don’t mess it up with keyword stuffing! The most important rule is to include your keywords naturally!

When it comes to SEO or SEM marketing, keywords are a major deciding factor for your website or product’s success or failure. Find some long tail and short tail keywords that represent your brand today!


Check out other chapters in this series on keyword research:


Chapter 1: Overview Of Keyword Research

Chapter 2: What Is User Intent

Chapter 3: What Are Long-Tail Keywords

Chapter 4: What Is Keyword Difficulty

Chapter 5: Keyword Research Tools

Team Twinword
Team Twinword
Based on text analysis technologies, we developed Twinword Ideas to help marketers filter and select relevant keywords faster. Just by moving some sliders, users can get high-quality keyword lists for successful content marketing and paid search marketing campaigns.

1 Comment

  1. Barakha Rao says:

    I was looking for the best keyword tools that works in real time and here I found the best tools that helps me find the profitable keywords. Also, there are some of the best paid and free long-tail keyword tools and software I have tried and can recommend freely. But as per the recommendation, I opted for SEMrush tool.

    I’ve also been using Google Auto-suggest for a while. I just love this tool. It doesn’t only help me to get long tail keywords but also to get some other words that helps me generate more traffic from search engine.

    Anyways, it is really helpful information for people like me. Thanks again.. Keep sharing and good luck.

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