Keyword research is a critical part of the SEO process but exactly what keywords should you be targeting when going about your SEO campaign? There are a few different types of keywords, the different types are broad, short tail, and long tail keywords.

Depending on the domain authority of your website you should target your keywords carefully. If you have a higher domain authority, you will come across successes with short tail keywords.

If you’re a new blog or local business with low domain authority, you may want to gather a list of long tail keywords to target to start getting early successes in your SEO campaign.

But before we begin going into the content, it is important that you understand some basic keyword research metrics as many tools use the acronyms down below:

KD: keyword difficulty is a metric keyword research tools use to determine the competition of a phrase on a scale of 0-100. The lower the number, the easier it is to rank for a given phrase.

Volume: volume determines the SEO tool’s “estimated” search volume for a keyword. It is important to note that SEO tools are by no means accurate when it comes to determining the keyword volume of a phrase. I have personally ranked keywords with the search volume of 0 but received 700+ page visits on the keyword.

CPC: cost per click refers to how a keyword ranking costs to bid on using Google AdWords. For example, the keyword phrase “personal injury attorney Houston” might have a CPC of $115, but a keyword phrase in a small town might only have the CPC of $45. This is due to the number of advertisers that are marketing in that given area.

Now let’s take a magnified look into the difference between long tail keywords and short tail keywords.

A Deeper Look Into Long Tail Keywords… 

Long tail keywords are often phrases that have a much higher searchers intent. Many people are tricked in the SEO community because they focus on targeting broad competitive phrases while there are millions of phrases that have not even been touched.

Almost every new SEO campaign I’ve engaged with I’ve started by searching to see how much someone is already ranking for in terms of long tail phrases and really start by ranking those long tail phrases.

In part of your keyword research, you should be getting long tail keyword ideas by simply searching for a higher volume phrase and looking to see the phrase match terms of that keyword.

By filtering in the keyword word length, you can find low hanging fruit easy to rank keywords. In the video below I show you exactly how to do long tail keyword research using a tool called ahrefs:

When Should You Target Short Tail Keywords …

While conducting keyword research, it is also a good idea to get a list of short tail keywords that you want to rank for. Targeting these keywords should be the SEO campaigns goal throughout the campaign and not keywords that should be focused in the immediate of the SEO campaign.

To find short tail keywords, simply use any keyword research tool, you can use a tool such as ubbersuggest to find short tail keywords. Short tail keywords should be what your home page targets while your pages on your website target longer tail phrases that allow you to get easy wins.

Using modern on-page optimization, you’re going to be able to tell Google exactly what you want each page on your website to show up for in Google’s search engine. By telling Google to rank your home page for your most broad, competitive phrase you have a much higher chance to ranking.

You can also watch the video below to learn more about finding short tail keywords:

Which Are Better Long Tail Or Short Tail …

Now that you have a good understanding as to why you would want to rank for both, which one is actually better? In my research, I find that short tail phrases are better simply because of the traffic opportunity. Another opinion could be although short tail receives more volume, longer tail phrases have a much higher conversion rate simply because people who search more have a higher purchase intent.

I think that an SEO strategy that works starts with building a foundation of long tail phrase rankings while targeting your target short tail money keywords. When building backlinks to your website, you can easily rank your long tail phrases due to the nature of the volume of each keyword. When you rank for the lower search volume long tail phrases, you can start to see conversions early in the SEO process.

You’ve Got Keywords, Now You Have To Optimize

You may now have a list of keywords that you may want to rank for, what’s important now is you optimize your website for those keywords. By following a simple on-page optimization strategy you can start to see instant keyword movements in the search engines.

On Page Optimization starts with a simple analysis of your website to check to see what is healthy and what is not. It then gets technical by ensuring that you’re optimizing anything that has a health issue in the SEO process. To build a successful SEO campaign, you need to first ensure you have a clean foundation to work with as technical SEO problems can hinder your website of higher rankings regardless of how many links you send to it.

You can click through to here to read my complete on-page optimization strategy for WordPress websites. By having a solid on-page optimization strategy, you can begin to create content for the website and start to rank for more keywords.

If you think you’re ready to experience a new level of digital marketing you can register for the free webinar where I cover how I was able to rank a website within 30 days for a local keyword. Or if you want a company to do the services for you, head over to my digital marketing agency DeveloMark.