Every SEO strategy should include a solid keyword list of both long-tailed and head keywords.
Your keyword list and research should take into account your buyer personas and their buyers journey to make sure you are ranking for the searching user's intent.
Obviously, all of your content should take into consideration the keyword research and list you've developed, using your long-tail and head terms.
So, what is the difference between long-tailed keywords and head keywords?
- Head Keywords:
- keyword phrases under 3 words
- harder to rank for
- yield more traffic, but it tends to be lower quality
- less desirable for generating action
- Example Keyword: "elk"; the searchers intent could be many things here... like looking for a picture, researching the species, planning a hunting trip, or wanting to sight see.
- Long-tailed Keywords:
- keywords with 3+ words
- easier to rank for
- less traffic usually, but higher in quality
- produce more of the desired action
- Example Keyword: "elk sight seeing" or "elk sight seeing in PA"
Ultimately, You Should Have A Strategy For Both
Now that you know the difference between long-tailed keywords and head keywords, you should have an effort to rank for both types. Remember that the head terms will be a long term goal and the long-tailed terms will yield shorter term, higher quality success.