Head keywords vs. long-tail keywords
Keywords are an intrinsic part of search engine optimization. Even if a site has useful information that someone is intentionally looking for, they will never find it if it doesn’t show up in a search. Users are going to type specific keywords to find relevant information, which is why you need to do keyword analysis to find out both what your audience is searching for and what keywords are most relevant to the topic and information on your site. When you combine the two, you get a winning formula where you draw traffic to a site that provides precisely the information and answers those readers are looking for. This helps to create consistent traffic and raise your site’s search engine ranking.
When it comes to keywords, there are many different ways that you can use them. One of the main divisions is between head keywords and long-tail keywords. Let’s take a look at the benefits of each.
What is the difference?
First of all, it is crucial to understand the difference. A head keyword is essentially the main topic, and it may only be one or two words. For instance, if you run a website about motorcycle racing, you may simply use “motorcycle racing” as your head keyword. You could also use the words “motorcycle” or “racing” on their own, and there are many other relevant words that could be used – name brands for motorcycle manufacturers, the names of famous racers, the tracks that they visit, the locations where races take place and much more.
A long-tail keyword essentially just adds more detail. Perhaps your site is providing information on the MotoGP race that takes place at The Circuit of the Americas, near Austin, Texas. Many of these terms can be used to extend the keyword and make it more precise. Instead of just using the words “motorcycle racing”, you could use “motorcycle racing at COTA,” “motorcycle racing in Austin, Texas” or “American MotoGP race.” By doing keyword analysis, you can determine which specific words your target audience is already using in each search.
The benefits of each
Head keywords have the benefit of being shorter and more common. More people are going to search for “Asian restaurants” than for “Top Asian restaurants in Dallas Texas.” It’s important to consider how often those terms are searched each day, each month and each year. Head keywords are generally more simplistic and all-encompassing, so there are more searches overall.
The downside of this is that it’s harder to compete for that traffic. Head keywords may be too generic. Everyone is using them, and your site can be lost in a sea of results. It’s very hard to rank at the top for something generic and common. A similar website in a different state or a different country may still use the same head keyword.
Therefore, the benefit of a long-tail keyword is that it’s often easier to rank highly. They are much more specific and used less often, so you may have a better chance of getting to the first page of the search rankings with a specific long-tail keyword. The potential pool of competition is much smaller, even if fewer searches are run for that term every day.
An additional benefit of a long-tail keyword is that it is more likely that the reader will actually be searching for the information on your site. Since they have decided to search for a more specific term, your site may be a better match. This can lead to lower bounce rates and longer dwell times.
Your keyword strategy
This is just one difference between two main types of keywords, illustrating some of the benefits and reasons why people use them. If you want to know how to optimize your keyword strategy and your site, get in touch with us at Content Customs at your earliest convenience.