Despite innovations in images, videos, locations and social content, keywords are still the foundation of getting found in a search engine. Understanding which keywords are right for you doesn’t take too long and will help you organize your content. So what is the difference between a short tail and a long tail keyword?

Short Tail Keyword

Short tail keywords are just as described: short. Your brand name is probably a short tail keyword, as-is the industry you belong to. For example, Plumber is a short tail keyword, and so is Mario Plumbing Bros. These keywords are very broad and only describe the very general idea of who you are and what you do.

Long Tail Keywords

Long Tail keywords are longer and more specific than short-tail keywords. They pull in descriptors, and sometimes resemble phrases you might hear in a conversation. Mario Plumber on Koopa St. is a long tail keyword that describes where you are as well as who you are. Pool Renovation Plumbing Quote is a very descriptive long tail keyword that includes the industry (plumber), the specialty (pool), the offer (quote), and the activity (renovation). The person using Pool Renovation Plumbing Quote is ready to compare prices and probably closer to a sale than the person searching for Plumber.

Voice Search

Up until recently, all internet searches took place with a keyboard, on a desk, phone or tablet. With the advent of Siri, Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and Cortana, people can now speak directly into a device and ask it to search for anything they’d like. That changes how search is executed, because people generally don’t just search for ‘plumber’ out loud. Rather, they’ll say something like, ‘emergency plumber’ or ‘Best reviewed plumber for renovation.’ The phrases are much longer and the results are likely to be delivered out loud rather than in a list.

As of today, AdWords and Bing Ads don’t allow you to parse voice vs typed searches, so start your research with mobile devices, ‘other’ devices (like an Echo, or an Apple Watch) and focus on long tail keywords. Learning about the long tail keywords that mean the most to your business is a great way to ensure that you show up when someone searches for you out loud.

In conclusion

The devices we use for searches will continue to evolve, but our basis for language – words and phrases – will remain stable for now. Start looking at long tail keywords that bring your business sales and good quality leads, and start thinking out loud about the way you can optimize your content for voice searches.