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Long-Tail Vs. Short-Tail Keywords In Ahrefs

Reading Time: 6 minutes

An effective SEO strategy is critical for any website that wants to rank highly in search engine results. Choosing the right keywords is an integral part of this process, but it can be tricky knowing which ones to use. Should you go with long-tail or short-tail keywords?

This article delves into the fundamental differences between Ahrefs long tail keywords and short-tail keywords while showcasing how you can use Ahrefs to unravel these elusive gems, providing invaluable insights to enhance your SEO strategy.

What are Long Tail Keywords? 

Long tail keywords are highly tailored and specialized search terms that often include three words or more. 

They are more specialized and have lower search volumes than wide and general Short-Tail Keywords, which have huge search volumes but fierce competition.

A study done by Neil Patel compared the performance of long-tail and short-tail keywords and found that long-tail keywords tend to have lower search terms but higher conversion rates.

Long-tail keywords target consumers with particular search objectives and help companies reach their target market more efficiently. 

They are more likely to match consumers’ specific searches, increasing the likelihood that a website will rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when optimized for them. 

Long-tail keywords are also renowned for having greater conversion rates since they attract visitors who are nearing the end of the purchasing cycle and are thus more likely to become clients. 

Incorporating long-tail keywords into SEO and content marketing strategies is essential to unlocking the latent potential of specialized audiences.

Ahrefs Long Tail Keywords vs. Short Tail Keywords: What is the Difference? 


Source: Ahrefs

Long-tail and short-tail keywords play a crucial role in driving organic traffic to websites and improving their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Understanding these two keywords’ differences can help businesses create effective SEO strategies tailored to their specific goals and target audience.

 2. Length:

Short-tail keywords are brief, generic keyword phrases that often have one to three words in them. 

They attract a lot of competition and are often looked for. A few examples of short-tail keywords include “Shoes”, “computers”, and “SEO tools”.

Ahrefs long tail keywords, on the other hand, are more precise and extensive keyword phrases that often include three words or more. 

They serve specific markets and are examples of more specialized search questions. Examples of long-tail keywords are “Running shoes for women” and “SEO tools for content marketing.”

3. User Intent:

Another significant distinction between Ahrefs long-tail and short-tail keywords is the motivation behind the search queries. 

Short-tail keywords are often utilized by individuals who are just beginning their search process and are not specific about their needs. 

For instance, a person looking for “laptops” can just be browsing without a specific intention to buy.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, suggest that the consumer has a more specific goal and is getting close to deciding on an option. 

For instance, someone seeking for “best budget laptops for graphic design” is probably looking for suggestions or comparisons of certain products before making a purchase.

4. Conversion Rate:

A HubSpot study, while checking on their impact on conversion rates, found that long-tailed keywords are effective in driving organic traffic while short-tail keywords helped with visibility.. 

Long-tail keyword searches bring in more relevant visitors who are more likely to be interested in the information or goods being supplied, which leads to more engagement and sales.

Short-tail keywords could get more traffic, but the conversion rate might be lower since a lot of visitors might not be as interested in the website’s content or goods..

  1. Content Strategy:

Short-tail keywords sometimes demand a more comprehensive strategy when it comes to content creation because they target a larger audience. 

Making content that stands out for these very competitive keywords might be a difficult undertaking.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, enable companies to produce more targeted and precise content that caters to the demands of their target audience

This focused content has the potential to boost user satisfaction and engagement, which search engines often reward with higher ranks.

How to Find Short-tail Keywords

Finding short-tail keywords is a fundamental step in any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. 

These broad and generic keywords can generate significant traffic, but their intense competition requires a strategic approach.

 Ahrefs, a powerful SEO tool, offers a wealth of features to assist you in identifying the most relevant and impactful short-tail keywords for your website. 

Below, we willl walk through the step-by-step process of finding short-tail keywords using Ahrefs.

Step 1: Accessing Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

To begin with, you need to log in to your Ahrefs account and navigate to the “Keyword Explorer” tool on the homepage. 

This comprehensive feature enables you to discover valuable insights into keyword search volumes, difficulty scores, and potential traffic estimates.

Step 2: Entering Seed Keywords

You then need to enter a few seed keywords related to your website’s niche or industry. These should be short phrases that broadly describe your main content topics or offerings. 

Ahrefs will use these seeds to generate a list of potential short-tail keywords.

Step 3: Analyzing Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty

Ahrefs will present you with a list of short-tail keyword ideas, along with essential metrics such as search volume and keyword difficulty. 

Focus on keywords with high search volumes to ensure maximum visibility. However, be mindful of keyword difficulty scores; excessively competitive keywords might be difficult to rank for.

Step 4: Exploring Keyword Ideas and Variation

Take advantage of Ahrefs’ “Phrase Match” and “Having Same Terms” filters to explore variations and long-tail keyword suggestions derived from your initial seed keywords. 

This approach helps you discover more specific and less competitive keywords that align with your content strategy.

Step 5: Analyzing Competitor Keywords

Leverage Ahrefs’ “Competing Pages” feature to investigate which keywords your competitors are ranking for. 

By understanding their keyword strategy, you can identify potential gaps and opportunities for your own content.

Step 6: Refining and Prioritizing Short-Tail Keywords

Narrow down your short-tail keyword list by prioritizing keywords with high search volumes, manageable keyword difficulty, and strong relevance to your content. 

Strike a balance between competitiveness and potential traffic to optimize your chances of ranking well.

How to Find Long Tail Keywords

Unearthing the true potential of Ahrefs long tail keywords is crucial when it comes to crafting a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy

These highly specific and targeted search phrases hold incredible potential in driving relevant and qualified traffic straight to your website’s doorstep. 

Luckily, Ahrefs offers a robust set of features to help you unearth these valuable long-tail gems, ultimately boosting your online visibility like never before. 

Let’s dive into this comprehensive guide, where we’ll walk through the step-by-step process of finding those elusive long-tail keywords using Ahrefs.

Step 1: Get Started with Ahrefs Keyword Explorer


To embark on your keyword journey, first, log in to your Ahrefs account and find your way to the “Keyword Explorer” tool. 

This incredible feature provides valuable insights into search volumes, difficulty scores, and potential traffic estimates for various keywords.

Step 2: Let’s Plant Some Seed Keywords

Start by entering a few seed keywords that are directly related to your website’s niche or the specific content topics you’re focusing on. 

These seeds act as the starting point for Ahrefs to work its magic and generate those coveted long-tail keyword suggestions.

Step 3: Digging into Keyword Ideas and Variations

Ahrefs will present you with an extensive list of long-tail keyword ideas that have sprouted from your seed keywords. 

Take the time to analyze the search volumes and keyword difficulty carefully scores for each suggestion. 

Ahrefs long tail keywords may have low search volumes, but they face less competition, meaning they can offer excellent opportunities to climb higher in the search results ladder.

Step 4: Refining the Gems with Powerful Filters

Harness the full potential of Ahrefs’ filtering options, like “Include,” “Exclude,” “Phrase Match,” and “Having Same Terms,” to refine further and expand your long-tail keyword list. 

These nifty filters will help you discover even more specific keyword variations that perfectly align with your content strategy and target audience.

Step 5: Discover Your Competitors’ Secrets

Make use of Ahrefs’ “Competing Pages” feature to analyze the long-tail keywords that your competitors are successfully ranking for. 

This insightful analysis can reveal potential content gaps and expose hidden gems of keyword opportunities.

Step 6: The Art of Prioritization

You need to prioritize those long-tail keywords wisely. Strike a balance between relevance, search volume, and keyword difficulty. 

Focus on highly relevant keywords to your content and have a reasonable search volume, but stay moderate with ultra-competitive ones.

Final Thoughts on Ahrefs Long Tail Keywords

Understanding the crucial differences between Long-Tail and Short-Tail Keywords is paramount for a successful SEO strategy. 

While short-tail keywords may offer higher search volumes, Ahrefs long tail keywords provide the advantage of targeted search intent, allowing businesses to reach their niche audiences. 

Ahrefs, with its powerful Keyword Explorer tool, empowers users to uncover these hidden gems of search intent, enabling them to optimize their content and boost organic traffic.

According to a study by Ahrefs, around 92% of all keywords have a monthly search volume of fewer than 10 searches, indicating a need to partner with credible digital marketing agencies.

For further assistance in optimizing your keyword strategy and leveraging the full potential of Ahrefs, consider outsourcing from a trusted digital marketing agency like Flying V Group

With expertise in SEO, we can help you unlock the true potential of long-tail and short-tail keywords, ensuring your website ranks higher in search engine results and attracts relevant traffic.

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Written by Robb Fahrion

Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. Robb has helped over 350+ companies build their businesses online and is responsible for building Flying V Group into one of the premier marketing agencies in the United States. Robb and his team have managed over $10M in marketing budget and continue to accelerate the growth of clients' businesses. A love for business and competition is what fuels Robb to create dynamic marketing plans to help his clients grow exponentially.

September 19, 2023



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