Long-Tail Vs Short-Tail Keywords

So you want to drive traffic to your affiliate offers, but maybe you aren’t ranking the way you want to be? Maybe you even want to drive traffic to a particular affiliate offer you are running? SEO is naturally the first step in the process of trying to rank so that you can drive more traffic to your affiliate offers. A major aspect of successful SEO is targeting specific keywords that you want your site to rank for. There are two types of keywords that we are going to review in this post: short-tail and long-tail. 

Short-tail keywords


These are keywords that are three words or less. For example: “affiliate network.” These keywords are generally the harder of the two to rank for. Why? Because these yield the highest search volume each month. Short-tail keywords also have the highest competition, making it very hard to rank for. People are searching for these keywords when they are trying to research broad topics on search engines.


Long-tail keywords

Unlike short-tail, long-tail keywords are over three words long. These keywords are typically much more specific than short-tail keywords. For example: “Prosper financial affiliate program.” Long-tail keywords don’t have high competition, mainly because they don’t have high search volumes. These keywords are searched for when someone knows exactly what they are looking for when using a search engine. But which should you be targeting?


Long-tail vs short-tail

It is extremely important that your search engine rank is high for the traffic that is relevant to your site. This can be accomplished through extensive keyword research identifying the two different types of keywords, long-tail and short-tail, which will give you broad coverage for the search engine traffic that you are targeting. You want to look for short-tail keywords that you want your site to rank for but which do not have high competition. If you can rank for a short-tail keyword, your volume of traffic has the potential to be higher because short-tail keywords have a greater numbers of searches. This will also add to your general brand impression. At the same time long-tail keywords should not be ignored. Long-tail keywords may have lower numbers of search queries but they also show higher conversion rates because of their specificity.


Though short-tail keywords should be the main focus of your SEO research and implementation, it is a good idea to target some long-tail keywords to make sure you are not missing out on traffic that has less competition and that is more likely to convert.

  • Short-tail keywords target high-volume search queries
  • Long-tail keywords target low-volume search queries with higher specificty