Why Use Long-tail Keywords? Your Guide to Long- and Short-tail Keywords in SEO

by | Dec 28, 2021

If you’re aiming for the top spot in Google’s search pages, you need to know the difference between long tail and short tail keywords in SEO.

Keywords are the bread and butter of SEO. They are the core words and phrases you target on your website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

But not all keywords are created equal. In fact, much of search traffic happens outside some of the most competitive keywords! There’s a big distinction between targeting short-tail keywords and long-tail key phrases – and it can make all the difference in your SEO strategy.

In this article, we’ll review:

  • The difference between long tail and short tail keywords in SEO
  • Why keyword difficulty matters
  • The benefits of using long-tail keywords
  • How you can strategically use the Doug Cunnington keyword golden ratio method

If you’re ready to implement an effective keyword strategy for your business, this article’s for you. Let’s start by defining keywords and their relevance in SEO.

What are Keywords in SEO?

Keywords are the words and phrases you choose to target in your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. They are the foundation of your SEO strategy and play a central role in determining your website’s search engine ranking.

Keywords function by matching your website’s content to the keywords a potential visitor typed into a search engine query.

By learning how to choose long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords and using them effectively in your website’s content, you can optimize your site for higher search engine rankings.

So, what’s the difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords in SEO?

The Difference Between Long Tail and Short Tail Keywords in SEO?

When it comes to using keywords in your content, it’s important to target both long-tail key phrases and short-tail keywords. However, there are some major differences between the two.

Here’s a more in-depth look at short-tail vs. long-tail keywords.

Short Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords are one to three words in length and usually consist of a single, yet more general concept. They tend to have higher search volume and reflect what the user is looking for right now.

Some examples of short-tail keywords include:

  • Athletic sneakers
  • Kitchen blenders
  • Washing machine

Short tail keywords can be extremely valuable in driving traffic to your website when used properly. However, they’re also more competitive and difficult to rank for.

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords SEO usually reflect more specific intent. Though they may have lower search volumes than short-tail keywords in SEO, long-tail keywords attract more targeted traffic. They’re often used by people who have already done some research or know more about the topic they’re interested in.

In addition, long-tail key phrases are less competitive and easier to rank for than short-tail keywords, especially for smaller companies. The long-tail keyword meaning usually connects directly to the visitor’s search intent, raising your clickthrough rate and resulting in more qualified traffic. 

Here are some long-tail keyword search examples that expand on the initial short-tail keywords we shared (bolded), so you can easily spot the difference!

  • Best athletic sneakers for running
  • Top kitchen blenders of 2022
  • How to repair a washing machine

As you can see, these keywords are much more specific than their short-tail counterparts.

While there’s no exact answer to how many words in a long-tail keyword are necessary, long-tail keywords often have three or more words in them.

The Balance Between Keyword Difficulty and Search Volume

While it’s essential to know the difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords, it’s also important to strike a balance between keyword difficulty and search volume.

Keyword Difficulty

The first concept to consider when choosing keywords is keyword difficulty. This is a measure of how hard it will be to rank your website for a particular keyword.

Many factors influence keyword difficulty, including:

  • The number of competing websites that are already ranking for that keyword
  • The quantity and quality of content targeting that keyword
  • The age of the competing websites
  • The number of backlinks those websites have
  • The strength of the backlinks pointing to those websites

The lower the keyword difficulty, the easier it is to rank for that word. So, it’s best to look for short- and long-tail keywords with low difficulty.

Search Volume

The second part of your SEO keyword strategy is search volume. This measure indicates how many people search for a particular keyword each month.

Ideally, you want to target keywords with high search volume but low difficulty.

For example, the keyword “new iPhone charger” has a high search volume but is very difficult to rank for because of the high competition.

On the other hand, the keyword “iPhone charger not working” has a lower search volume, but is much easier to rank for because of the low competition.

So, why use long-tail keyword phrases in your content? To target those higher search volumes while still taking advantage of low competition. It’s the ranking sweet spot for your content!

The Doug Cunnington Keyword Golden Ratio Approach to SEO

While there are several ways to enhance your long-tail keywords SEO, one of the most common approaches is the Keyword Golden Ratio (KGR) coined by Doug Cunnington.

So, what is keyword golden ratio in SEO? 

Cunnington created a formula to find a data point for keywords that will successfully rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs).

The ratio takes the number of results on Google for websites that feature a specific keyword and then divides that number by the monthly search volume to give provide a term he calls “keyword golden ratio (KGR).”

KGR = # of allintitle results/local monthly search volume (where monthly search volume is less than 250)

KGR Results

KGR <  0.25: Any keyword below 0.25 should be at the top of your list. This score means that the competition for the keyword is low, and your page can easily begin to rank if used correctly. This term is a KGR.

0.25 < KGR < 1: This ratio means that the keyword in question is rising in competition but still has a strong chance to compete and possibly reach the top of the SERP pages. It’s not exactly a KGR but is very close.

KGR > 1: Scores above one reflect a highly competitive keyword. A keyword with this number may be too difficult to rank for effectively—it’s not a KGR.

By researching and targeting long-tail keywords SEO using Doug Cunnington’s keyword golden ratio approach, you can better optimize your website for SEO and drive more relevant traffic to your website. 

This KGR and long-tail keyword methodology showcases the benefits of using long-tail keywords across all of your content.

Does Keyword Golden Ratio Work in 2020 and beyond?

Understanding the difference between long-tail and short-tail keywords in SEO can go a long way in revamping your website. By utilizing both short- and long-tail key phrases you can rank for relevant terms and drive more traffic to your website.

But implementing a keyword strategy doesn’t simply happen overnight. The best long-tail keyword marketing strategy requires:

  • Conducting thorough research
  • Striking a balance between short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords in SEO
  • Analyzing search volume, user intent, and keyword difficulty
  • Implementing an approach like the Doug Cunnington Keyword Golden Ratio to make your selection

If you want your website to outrank your competition, you must choose the right keywords and create the right content. And taking advantage of KGR terms is an excellent way to make your content rank quickly.

Unsure how to choose long-tail keywords or if keyword golden ratio actually works?

Here at Veivos, we’re experts in SEO who use KGR terms to ensure your website ranks quickly for relevant terms. After finding KGR terms and analyzing thousands of other terms, we expertly craft SEO blogs that rank on the first page of Google. Most blogs take about 6-12 months to rank on the first page, but our process expedites that process to three months. We elevate your online presence and help you get discovered using proven search engine marketing strategies.

Contact us today for more information on how Veivos can help take your business to the next level with organic SEO campaigns.

Connect With Veivos Today

Schedule Call