SEO Content Strategy: Short vs. Long Tail Keywords

If you’re a content manager tasked with search engine optimization (SEO), you need to be aware of the difference between short and long tail keywords and the distinct benefits and drawbacks of each. One great thing this knowledge gives us is an elegant and effective SEO content strategy.

This article will first give a brief rundown of the difference between short and long tail keywords and highlight their benefits and drawbacks. Then the article will outline how you can use AI writing tools to leverage both types of keywords to create a scalable SEO strategy. 


  • Short tail keywords
    • Benefits
    • Drawbacks
  • Long tail keywords
    • Benefits 
    • Drawbacks
  • Using both short and long tail keywords in your SEO content strategy
  • How to Sustainably Produce Content at Scale
  • Use AI writers to fill out your content strategy

Short Tail Keywords

Short tail keywords are so called because they are short, broad, non-specific phrases that tend to have a higher search volume. They are what most people first think of when they think about SEO. A mattress company, for example, will want to heavily feature the word “mattress” on their website so that it appears in more people’s Google results when they are in the market for a mattress. 

The short tail includes the phrases people will type into Google when they are first starting to look into a topic. Someone who has just determined that they might want a new mattress will likely begin with a broad Google search for the word “mattress” or “mattresses.” 

Short tail keyword distribution

Benefits of Short Tail Keywords

With that in mind, it’s easy to see the benefits of going after short tail keywords when SEO-ing your website. If you’re a mattress company that has the resources to dominate the keyword “mattress” on Google, your website will appear in many people’s searches, and you’ll get a lot of traffic that can be converted into sales. 

Of course, this is much easier said than done, especially for smaller businesses in a large, widespread market like mattresses. On the other hand, if you’re working in a smaller, more niche market, there’s much less competition over popular short tail keywords, which makes them easier to go after and dominate. 

Drawbacks of Short Tail Keywords

As mentioned above though, it’s not always realistic to expect to dominate short tail keywords in a populous market or industry. Google will favor large, well-established businesses when returning results of short tail searches while smaller, less authoritative sites will fall by the wayside. 

Another problem with short tail keywords is that because they are broad and non-specific terms, they have a low signal to noise ratio which may not actually result in more sales. Going after short tail keywords might help increase general traffic to your site, but they are less likely to drive meaningful consumer engagement.

People who are drawn to your site based on vague short tail search phrases are probably just perusing the internet looking for general information about the topic, and not doing serious research into which product to buy. In other words, while short tail keywords may drive more site traffic, they are less likely to convert that traffic into more sales.

Long Tail Keywords

This is where the importance of long tail keywords, search phrases with four or more words, becomes apparent. After all, people don’t always use short 1-2 word phrases in their Google searches. It is also safe to say that the more detailed a query, the more likely it is that the searcher knows what they are looking for.

It’s therefore crucial for SEO-ers to also cover long tail keywords. even though they tend to have lower search volumes. 

Long tail keywords tend to have lower search volumes because the longer the phrase, the more possible permutations of it exist, which expands the pool of possible search phrases. Some long tail keywords that our hypothetical mattress company might want to address would be “firm queen-sized mattress” or “best Serta mattresses for less than $500.” 

long tail keyword distribution

Benefits of Long Tail Keywords

Longer keywords tend to be used when searchers have more specific ideas about what they are looking for. For example, maybe they have already done the broad preliminary research allowed by short tail keywords, and are ready to get more into specifics so they can make a definitive choice of which product to buy.

Coverage of long tail keywords is essential for converting prospects into full-fledged customers. 

Long tail keywords are also helpful for smaller businesses that operate within a large, populous market. There are a lot of different mattress manufacturers and retailers, and it might not be worthwhile for the smaller ones to try to compete with the likes of Serta, Sealy, or Tempur Pedic for high-traffic short tail keywords. 

Going after longer tail, lower-competition keywords gives those smaller businesses a fighting chance to appear in more Google searches and improve their site authority. 

Drawbacks of Long Tail Keywords

Optimizing your long-tail keyword coverage can be quite a tedious task, though. As mentioned above, the longer the phrase, the more possible permutations exist, and optimization means including as many of these permutations as possible.

This coupled with the low-traffic, niche nature of these specific keywords means that you’re paying for a copywriter – or a whole department of writers – to produce lots and lots of content that few people will actually see.

As important and useful as long tail coverage is for SEO purposes, it’s often simply not an affordable strategy for the businesses that would benefit the most from it.

Using Both Short and Long Tail Keywords to Produce Content at Scale

Given their advantages and disadvantages, it is important to make as much use out of both short and long tail keywords as possible. If utilized correctly together, they can provide an SEO strategy that will drive any content production operation to scale. 

The key is in the long tail. Since long tail keywords are full phrases with a very specific meaning, they can act as a guide for the content writing team by letting them know what topics people search for and what questions they ask.

For example, our mattress company might find that a lot of people are searching for something like “mattresses that help with back pain.” This can become the topic of a blog post – or several blog posts. 

One post might be a list of the top ten mattresses for back pain, while another might be a more informative post about how the right mattress can help with back pain. In this way, long-tail keywords act as useful prompts for content writers, informing the topics of their posts. 

Another great aspect of this strategy is that it will also improve your short tail coverage, simply because important short tail keywords are usually contained within long tail keywords. The depth of your niche content will in turn provide more breadth to your short tail coverage.

That said, even the most keyword-optimized content strategy can still be expensive. Some marketing departments don’t have the time to implement this strategy or don’t have the funds to hire freelance writers to do it. Until recently, these businesses haven’t had the means to reliably scale their content production.

How to Sustainably Produce Content for a Long Tail Keyword Strategy

AI writers like Article Forge offer a potentially (inevitably) revolutionary solution to this problem. Article Forge has gotten to the point that it can produce long form, natural sounding written content in minutes, and without the need to pay for a freelance copywriter’s time.

Usint AI to write articles could virtually eliminate the front-end investment that has traditionally been necessary for optimizing your site’s long tail SEO coverage. 

Rather than paying a copywriter to spend hours producing content for each of the different permutations of your long tail keywords, you can just feed those different phrases to Article Forge and it will generate all your content automatically.

Using Article Forge to create large volumes of long tail keyword-focused content is also great for smaller businesses and startups because it makes up for their inability to compete on the short tail.

It lets smaller businesses play to their strengths, producing more content that speaks to specific concerns that their customers have. In this way, an AI article writer like Article Forge can also improve the overall quality of your site’s content, since it lets you cover a wider array of specific topics and issues that will be of interest to your potential customers.

It makes your content more likely to be truly helpful and meaningful to your highest intent customers.

While it has made great strides over the last few years, Article Forge is nowhere near perfect yet. The content may need input from a human to tailor the message to your audience or reflect your brand’s strategy. Read more about the current limitations of AI writing tools here.

Even so, this technology has become sophisticated enough to be a significant time and energy saver in most content production workflows.

Use an AI Writer to Fill Out Your Content Strategy

A simple fact of an AI writer is that it can produce a lot of content very quickly. This helps with your long tail keyword coverage for the reasons mentioned above, but it can also help shore up your short tail coverage.

The more content you produce, the better your depth of coverage and site authority will be.

This is not to mention that long tail content also improves your short tail coverage because long tail terms contain some of the highest traffic short tail terms. 

On a related note, utilizing an AI content writer can help get your foot in the door for shorter tail keywords because search engines like Google give priority to more recent content, so the constant stream of new content that an AI writer potentially allows for will improve your site’s authority significantly.

Some AI writers have integrations with third-party tools to streamline your content production and deployment workflow. Article Forge, for example, features a post scheduler and an integration with WordPress, allowing for the creation of a fully automated, end-to-end content pipeline. 

Article Forge also has a powerful API that allows web developers or DevOps engineers to integrate Article Forge directly into their development workflows. Features like this make it even easier to produce content at scale.

Good use of an AI writing tool like Article Forge is a true embodiment of the old maxim “Content is king.” At its core, the objective of AI writing tools is to produce as much content in as little time as possible.

Still though, it’s important to understand these concepts of SEO and use them to strategize your content production. Identifying the best long tail keywords and using your AI article writer to unleash a barrage of content targeting them is a great way of improving your site’s authority and raising its visibility.


What are short tail keywords and why are they important?

  • Short tail keywords are 1-3 word phrases that have a high search volume.
  • Covering short tail keywords will let you appear in more searches and increase traffic to your site.

What are long tail keywords and why are they important?

  • Long tail keywords are 4+ word phrases that have a lower search volume.
  • These keywords are more specific and have higher intent, so searches are more likely to convert to sales.

How does Article Forge help leverage them both?

  • Article Forge’s AI writer lets you dramatically scale your content production.
    • It’s much easier to cover all permutations of long tail keywords.
    • More content means better depth of short tail coverage.

The post SEO Content Strategy: Short vs. Long Tail Keywords appeared first on Article Forge Blog.

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