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Long Tail vs Short Tail Search

Long Tail vs Short Tail Search

When using Google or any other search engine there are two forms of query:

Short Tail

These are the ones targeted with search engine optimisation.  They are often short in length and are what many people will search for e.g. Search Engine Optimisation Cornwall.

Because this is where the search volume is it makes sense to optimize a site to rank as well for these terms as is possible.

They’ll deliver traffic to your site if you are able to rank well because many people are searching for them.

Long Tail

These are longer queries (in terms of number of words and characters used) and by nature usually refer to more specific topics e.g. What is long and short tail search?

These terms make up anywhere up to 40% of search terms on Google and are often ranked for by blogging or more general content generation on your website.

They’re also often unique in nature!

Think of it this way; if you don’t have content surrounding a subject then you aren’t going to rank for it.  In the example I’ve used above, this article is matched closely to the query so is likely to rank well for that phrase.

The competition to rank for that phrase is going to be relatively low as vast amounts of people won’t be writing about it.

Long tail phrases are usually more specific in nature.  They’ll often be asking a question or looking for a specific piece of information.

This means I’ll be ranking for a term that isn’t competitive to rank for but if someone does search for it I’ll be giving them information highly specific to what they are searching for.

I’ll be gaining engagement.

The more content you produce the wider the number of phrases you’ll be likely to rank for.  This is known as the length of your search tail.

So what are you waiting for?  If you have specialist knowledge in an area go on and write about it!

Engagement will follow!

For information on how we can help you build a search engine presence that brings home the bacon please give us a call on 01566 784860 or email

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