Short- vs. Long-Tail Keywords

Leadvertising Solutions' recommendations for small and medium-sized companies

One of the first things to consider, when setting up a new paid search campaign, is what keywords you should bid on. Usually, when we add long-tail keywords, we do it for generic campaigns, because a company like Nike wouldn’t mind targeting anyone looking for anything related to Nike for example, but they might not like to target everyone looking for running shoes and would rather tailor this down to specific types of searches (like gender, colour or models). That's why the number of generic keywords with more than 3 words is much higher than brand keywords.

When we select keywords for our clients at Leadvertising Solutions, relevancy always comes first. But what do we mean by relevancy? Is it single-worded search terms or should we bid on as many long-tailored keywords as possible? The answer to this question depends on the following 2 main factors:


  • Brand Awareness

If you’re interested in raising brand awareness, you might want to go for short tailored keywords.

+ it’s a much faster choice of keywords

+ campaigns are easier to manage, when you have less keywords within them

+ you’ll be able to get a lot of traffic delivered to your website, because especially in the research phase users are mainly looking for short-tail keywords

- you’d be paying high cost per click, due to the high competition on the short-tailored keywords, because the biggest brands hold on showing up for even the slightest related terms to their brands and they can afford it

- if you can’t pay high CPC, you would still get traffic, but you will appear on a lower position or on the bottom of the search page

  • Conversions

If you are measuring the success of your campaign by the amount of sales, sign-ups, newsletter downloads, more time spent on site or more pages clicked through, you should be bidding on both short- and long-tailored keywords. Bidding on short-tailored keywords would make your brand visible during the early phases of the search funnel*. Adding long-tailored keywords would remind the users at the end phase of the search funnel that they have already seen your ads when they initially started searching. Being aware of your brand already, they will be more likely to trust you and convert on your website. We've seen that a lot at Leadvertising Solutions and we use this as part of our digital marketing strategy.

*search funnel stays for searcher’s path from the very first searched term to the conversion (i.e. from searching for shoes to buying shoes)


At Leadvertising Solutions we manage small and medium clients, which spend between £500 and £2,500/month. It's always a good idea to have long-tailored keywords, but for small budgets it's the number 1 rule to go for. The lower your budget, the more long-tailored keywords you should bid on. Google sees advertisers bidding on long-tailored keywords as more relevant to what users are looking for, therefore Google offers these advertisers to serve their ads at a lower price.


  1. Big company, well-known brand optimizing towards travel bookings

  1. Small/Medium sized company optimizing towards account creation selling payment devices and competing with the worldwide known companies.

Depending on the campaign goal, we might find useful adding long-tail keywords. For instance, if our main KPI is CTR, we should bid on long-tail keywords, as CTR on those is significantly higher and CPC significantly lower.

If our goal is conversions though, we should be targeting short keywords, since their conversion rate and cost per acquisition are much better.

To conclude, we found at Leadvertising Solutions that the sweet spot is bidding on 3-word-keywords for both brand and non-brand campaigns.


  • You can simply bid on short tailored keywords and negate as much as possible irrelevant ones, so you prevent showing your ads and paying for clicks coming from users, who are actually searching for something else (negating "jobs" or “careers” if you don’t advertise for jobs, negating "for free" if you offer nothing for free, etc)"

  • The best approach for any type of campaign goal and budget would be to add both types of keywords and test which ones work best for you.

Let us know if you need help with identifying relevant keywords for your business. We can always give you a free advise. Get a FREE CONSULTATION or FREE AUDIT NOW!

Your Leadvertising Team

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