Two buzzwords related to both content optimization and AdWords targeting are “long tail keywords
” and “broad keywords
.” It’s essential to understand the difference between the two in order to optimize on-page content and AdWords campaigns effectively.
In short – long tail keywords generate narrow results, while broad keywords generate broad match results.
A long tail keyword is typically a four or more word phrase very specific to a given product. Although these keywords tend to pull in less website traffic, they generally lead to higher conversions. This is because a visitor using a detailed search phrase (ex. “green striped toe socks”) knows exactly what they want and are more likely to make a purchase.
Long tail keywords are significant because there is less competition when using specific terms, which equals higher ranking in organic searches
and lower CPC for paid search. They also tend to be used when someone is ready to purchase, as opposed to just browsing.
For example, a consumer search for “coffee beans” would turn up nearly endless results. If a consumer searched for “medium roast coffee beans vacuum pack” (because they knew exactly what they’re looking for), that specific search would significantly narrow down the results. This, in turn, leads to higher quality traffic, less competition and lower costs for text ads and PLAs.
On the other hand, broad keywords usually consist of one to three terms, are less specific, and generate a wide array of results. When using broad match, your website link or ad may appear whenever a search includes any word in your phrase. For example, if the broad match keyword is “coffee beans,” your ad may appear when a user searches “coffee makers” or “pinto beans”.
Since broad match generates a breadth of results, there is potential for searchers to click your link when searching for unrelated topics. These costs can add up quickly. However, if brand awareness and high visibility are the goals, broad match
keywords can be effective when used strategically.
The difference between these two types of keywords can be summarized as “quality versus quantity”; long tail keywords are likely to net you more quality hits and conversions, while broad match will likely get you higher visibility.
Marketing is an ever-changing landscape, one in which keywords are vitally important. To take full advantage of an optimization strategy, you need to recognize the variations between long tail and broad keywords. In doing this, you’ll bring more of the kind of visbility—either quality or quantity—you want to for your business.