Do you know what head tail keywords are? We tell you in detail and we help you define the best ones for your search project.
Keyword research is the true basis of SEO. We start from it to trace our strategy and monitor our progress, but do you know what kind of terms make it up? Do you know what is the difference between the so-called head tail and the long tail? Do you know precisely what keywords should make up your head tail?
Well, we’re going to do it, because this concept is basic and you should know it.
Different types of categories can be established for keywords using different criteria:
- Branded vs. Not branded: here the main distinction lies in whether or not they are brand terms.
- Search intention: we mean to differentiate between words by the type of result that is sought (informational, navigational or transactional).
- Keywords for voice search or for interfaces with screen: in this case, while the first are complex grammatical constructions of conversational character, the latter are much more synthetic, summarizing a lot the intention of the search.
Normally, we start to work on keyword research, generating the most extensive lists possible, after which we filter and organize the result. You have much more information about keyword research in our eCommerce Dictionary. However, it is necessary to make this introduction before taking the next step.
Difference between head tail and long tail keywords
Now that we have categorization clear, we should go to a higher level, which is what makes the difference between the so-called “tail” of the keywords.
This is, in fact, the most basic form of distinction between terms and the simile of the tail is quite explanatory. Imagine the structure of a graphic that had the profile of a dinosaur as it would draw a child. It would be head, body and a long tail.
Now let’s translate this image to what would be SEO or PPC. In the vertical axis, we would have the volume of searches and in the horizontal the conversion probabilities.
Obviously, this is directly related to the difficulty of organic positioning and bidding of the different terms: the greater volume, the greater the possibilities of conversion and, logically, we will also find more competition.
If we segment “the dinosaur” in 3 different parts, we will obtain the 3 types of keywords that are usually used.
# 1 – Head tail
These words are the most attractive in terms of volume and potential conversion. They also have the outstanding feature of being more generic, so the user who searches in this direction is trying to find market standards.
Another common characteristic is that they are usually keywords with few characters formed by sentences of 2 or, maximum, 3 words.
EXAMPLE: if we have a toy eCommerce, searches for terms like "online toy store" could clearly be considered head tail.
# 2 -Mid tail
We enter the body of the dinosaur that we are using to explain the matter. They are somewhat more specific words and with fewer monthly searches.
EXAMPLE: continuing with the previous example, we would go to similar phrases to "online toy store in Spain". As you can see we are adding vectors that delimit the search.
# 3 – Long tail
As you can imagine, we are talking about the most concrete words. These are keywords that, on an individual basis, generate little traffic but, when adding up everything produced by the global of these words, represent an important amount of visits. It is estimated that between 80% and 70% of the traffic comes from the long tail keywords.
EXAMPLE: let's continue with our online toy store. In the case of long-tail words, we could find complex grammatical constructions such as "toys to give to children of 8 years" or "games of construction with blocks of wood".
What keywords should make up your Head Tail?
Both in the SEO and in the PPC, you have to choose very well our battles when entering into a fight for the keywords of head tail. We have to be very clear that the effort to be made will be worthwhile in terms of time and resources. But how can we know?
In many occasions these keywords are the first that come to mind when we look for our products or businesses similar to ours. In any case, it is highly recommended to avoid self-imposed biases. For example: we know our business very well, with what we can fall, without realizing it, in the use of excessively technical words or directly professional jargon, and this is a very serious error.
Understand that the head tail has to synthesize the way in which the average user does a basic search. Better in these cases is, precisely, to appeal to the average user. Make simple user tests asking people who could fit in that profile to use Google to locate your product or service easily. The results can surprise you a lot.
Throughout the post we are linking Head Tail with greater conversion and, although not everyone likes it, we have a very interesting possibility to know the conversion in a real way in our case, and it is the PPC. The rest are more or less accurate hypotheses that can not be contrasted until they have a sufficient volume of business.
The great advantage of using combined PPC and SEO, especially in new projects that do not yet register traffic, is that in the very short term we can have real conversion data per keyword. Thanks to this investment in paid searches, we will obtain exact data that will help us better map our SEO strategy.