Long tail vs short tail – an interesting comparison

So you’ve heard of it. Long Tail. You know what it is.. maybe?

Here it is in simple terms:

Short Tail – A short 3 word or less keyword phrase

Example: used auto parts

Long Tail – A keyword phrase over 3 words

Example: where can I find a used alternator for my Pontiac Grand Prix

Ok, so you get the picture. Now what is there to discuss?

I could compare the short tail to the Long tail approach like a 17 year old single guy needing to decide between a brand new car or buying 3 cars for the same price that are 4 years old. That new car has its advantages of course. Its the latest and greatest thing if you want bragging rights. Uh oh but here comes the dude with 4 (FOUR) cars. I mean he has 4 freakin cars thats pretty cool too. A different one for every night of the 4 day weekend, while Mr cool shows up in the same one night after night.

Well you can see the comparison. Both have their advantages and both their disadvantages.

Down to some facts you need to look at though.

1) Short Tail can be tough to compete with if there is a bunch of competitiion. Normally in these highly competitive markets the long tail can be the way to go.

2) Traffic/Research is absolutely necessary. Use something like semrush to find out what kind of traffic different keywords or sites generate. Dont just foolishly start stuffing title tags and keywords/content into your site without really studying the keywords…simple things like singular and plural make a big difference.

3) Get some good content on the site. If you’ve got 3 sentences on a page and your competitor has 10 sentences with more words describing the service or product and you both have similar page authority.. guess whose getting the long tail? Yep, your friendly competitor.
So, add content and build links and you’ll be shocked to see the kinds of content that come to the site after amonth or two.

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