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Guide: What Are Medium-Tail Keywords?

by | Glossary, Keyword Research, SEO

Keywords are an integral component of SEO. There are three types of keywords and this article is going to discuss the importance of medium tail keywords (hint: they’re in between the short and long tails).

You’re specifically going to learn what medium tail keywords are, where to find them, and how to effectively incorporate them into your content marketing strategy. Other relevant jargon will be briefly discussed as well.

You’re also going to learn the importance of keyword research. Now let’s get to learning about medium tail keywords.

What is a Medium Tail Keyword?

A medium tail keyword (aka ‘broad match’ or ‘chunky’) is a moderately competitive search engine term that represents medium search volume and medium ranking difficulty (and consequently medium conversion probability).

They strike an ideal balance between cost and traffic. Usually characterized by a phrase consisting of 3 to 4 words (e.g. ‘vintage vinyl records’), medium tail keywords have become favored by marketing professionals for being both relatively cost effective and profitable in comparison to short or long tail keyword.

You can get a decent amount of traffic with manageable competition when optimizing for medium tail keywords. Sites that focus on medium tail keywords usually stand a good chance of performing well.

Just remember that medium tail keywords are more specific and less competitive than short tail keywords, while receiving higher keyword volume than their long tail counterparts.

Short Tail Keywords and Long Tail Keywords

Let’s briefly discuss what short and long tail keywords are along with some other relevant terms that are mentioned in this article.

Short tailed keywords are broad search terms comprising one or two words (e.g. ‘marketing’ or ‘best tables’). They receive a ton of search volume and are thus highly competitive to rank for. These are similar to fat head keywords.

Long tailed keywords are the opposite of short tails. They typically consist of anything more than three words. As you can imagine, the list of long tail keywords is virtually endless and there are countless long tails that are easy to rank for because hardly anyone is searching for them.

Search volume (or keyword volume) is the amount of search queries for a specific keyword within a time period you can expect to get. Search volume is one of the key factors in determining how attractive a keyword may be to rank for.

Keyword competition is simply a measure of the difficulty of ranking for a keyword. Short tail keywords have higher competition than long tail keywords.

How to Find Medium Tail Keywords

Keyword research tools are used to find medium tail keywords. A few of the best will be discussed here (although there are numerous such tools available).

Ahrefs (Paid)

Ahrefs is a popular all-in-one toolkit for SEO and backlink analysis. It also has one of the largest indexes of keywords on the market.

Although Ahrefs specializes in backlink analysis, it includes a very useful Keywords Explorer tool that enables you to analyze competitors or obtain your own medium tail keywords.

Using Ahrefs keywords explorer to find keywords.

One of the best features of Ahref’s keyword research tool is the ability to create detailed reports on competitors and keyword traffic metrics, enabling you determine which terms are right for you based on their level of competition.

Google Keyword Planner (Free)

Google Keyword Planner is a handy little tool for finding out the search volume of any keyword and gauging its competitiveness. Not to mention it’s free.

This tool gives you a list of keyword suggestions along with information on average monthly searches, average PPC bid, and Adwords competition.

Using Google's keyword planner.

There is an alternative to Google Keyword Planner called Keywords Everywhere. It’s a free browser add-on for basic keyword research that allows you to spend more time in the SERPs analyzing search volume and competition data.

SEMRush (Paid)

SEMRush is a popular all-in-one SEO platform for marketing analytics and online visibility. It has great keyword and competitive research functionality too.

Using SEMRush's keyword tool.

 The toolkit makes it easy to analyze paid search competition, CPC bidding rates, and Adwords budgets. It’s especially useful for finding out which keywords your competitors are ranking for.

How to Rank for Medium Tail Keywords

Ranking for medium tail keywords is not just about maximizing traffic but also about choosing the most relevant and profitable terms that your customers are searching for.

It’s generally a good idea to aim for a moderate amount of traffic when targeting a low competition keyword and a moderate amount of difficulty when targeting a high traffic keyword.

Having said that, successfully ranking for medium tail keywords still takes time and effort. The content in which you include your medium tail keywords must be of a high quality, and you’ll need to utilize backlinks if you expect search engines to notice any of it.

Using inbound links in your medium tail content piece, as part of your link building strategy, can prove to have great results. Focusing on one or two medium tail keywords will allow you to invest more effort into specific content as compared to publishing a bunch of content to rank for long tail keywords that have more search terms.

The Importance of Keyword Research

Keyword research is a crucial aspect of SEO and online marketing in general. The success of your digital marketing efforts lies in how well your websites rank, which in turn depends on the right keywords.

You learn more about your customers through which keywords they search for. Keywords represent your product and brand.

Remember that the purpose of keyword research is to find the words and phrases that your customers are searching for and how they relate to your business.

Not only is keyword research an integral component of digital marketing, it’s an ongoing process of searching for new and profitable opportunities. It may seem challenging at first but with practice you can become a keyword researching machine.

Considering all types of keywords (longtail and short tail), along with understanding what your audience is looking for, is recommended for anyone new to keyword research. Your websites will grow and rank better as a result of your dedication and hard work.

Medium Tailed Keywords Wrap-Up

Medium tail keywords represent the best features of short and long tail keywords because they strike a balance between cost and competitiveness when ranking for them.

Short tail keywords have the highest search volume so they have considerably high earning potential, at the cost of investing time and resources to rank for them.

Long tail keywords generally won’t be as profitable as short tails but at least it’ll be easier to gain visibility in the SERPs.

Medium tail keywords fall into a pretty flexible spectrum between short and long tails. You can choose keywords that are more specific, less competitive, and receive moderate search volume depending on how you want to adjust the balance between these factors.

Remember that medium tails take work to rank for, and you’ll need to focus on publishing great content and building quality backlinks.

Contributing Author: Brian Kihneman

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore

Founder/Director

Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of SirLinksalot.co. He has an extensive SEO resume that spans agency building, affiliate and e-commerce development, and of course linkbuilding.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

Nicholas Altimore

Nicholas Altimore

Founder/Director

Nicholas Altimore is the Founder and Director of SirLinksalot.co. He has an extensive SEO resume that spans agency building, affiliate and e-commerce development, and of course linkbuilding.  He looks forward to bringing SEO's informative resources on how to rank websites world wide.

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