Keywords: Long Tail vs. Generic – What’s the Difference?

SEO May 29, 2012

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 If you have a website or blog, you know the importance of using keywords. It’s almost like a life or death situation in regards to your site: have generic keywords and risk your website dying from lack of traffic. On the other hand, have long tail keywords and bring life – lots of traffic – to your website.

So you may be wondering this about keywords: long tail vs. generic – what in the world is the difference? Is there a difference?

Yes, there’s a big difference. As previously mentioned, a difference between life or death in your website’s survival.

Let’s explore the differences by starting with long tail keywords first.

  • A long tail keyword is a phrase that consists of at least three words.
  • Long tail keywords are more suitable for web content in regards to getting traffic. This is because with a long tail keyword, you will have the phrase embedded in your content that people are likely searching by.
  • Because you’re getting high volumes of traffic to your website – thanks to long tail keywords – this results in getting high search engine rankings.
  • Since long tail keywords are phrases that make more sense within the text versus generic keywords, your content is more readable.
  • You don’t have to worry about as much competition with long tail keywords as you do short tail keywords. The chances of another website or blog using the same keyword phrases as your site are very slim.

And now here’s what generic keywords are about:

  • Also known as short tail keywords, generic keywords are short and generic. They normally consist of two words – at the most.
  • In regards to gaining traffic, you can expect medium to high competition with short tail keywords. The more popular the short tail keyword is, the more competitive it is in regards to usage.
  • Given the competitiveness of short tail keywords, you’ll have a hard time ranking high on search engines.
  • Short tail keywords may not read as natural as long tail keywords in content. This can make reading difficult.

The Best Keywords: Long Tail or Generic?

So, to conclude what are the best keywords – long tail or generic – the answer is undoubtedly long tail keywords. All the benefits from above make it a winner.

And most importantly, your site will be a big winner for making a worthy investment in long tail keywords.

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