Are Long-Tail Keywords Making a Comeback?
Several years ago, many webmasters were revelling in the joy that is the long-tail keyword. At the time, it was quite simple to gain traction for your website through a well-though long-tail keyword, facing very little competition and most likely remaining “off the radar” in some niches for months and years. Over time, though, brutal competition in shorter keywords moved the centre of gravity into the long-tail keyword market, making it more difficult to be competitive. There is however, a balance to still using these phrases, and we will outline below the advantages you can expect from using them.
Long-tail keywords have traditionally been considered search queries that have at least four words in them; “highest rated sushi restaurant in San Francisco” would be considered a long-tail keyword. They are notable for being more complex than short phrases, and thus having less likelihood that a particular site is going to be pinging search engines and competing with you. What is allowing for a resurgence in long-tail keywords is the approach that Google is taking in regards to its future: it wants to be the source for information, and not just a platform through which you can find links to that information.
Reading Your Audience’s Thoughts
Much like how Google is trying to determine the thoughts and intentions of its users, you also must consider the implications of your key phrases and how that relates to user intent. When an individual wishes to search for a particular piece of information, what are they most likely to type? With long-tail keywords, you can focus-group and brainstorm to come up with several phrases that match the likely inquiries put forth by users of Google and other major search engines. Another great thing about long-tail keywords is that they can be incorporated into select content without having the same likelihood of being considered “stuffed” by search engines.
Quality Over Quantity
While larger keywords will result in a smaller amount of exposure for that keyword, you may find that a higher percentage of those searching for the long-tail keyword are coming to your website. Long-tail keywords can allow you to permeate into more search results; each individual result may have fewer people using it to find information, but you can permeate into some niches that otherwise would not be accessible with short keywords. Research shows that the average length of a keyword is increasing by about one word every 18 months, so pinging search engines with these long-tail keywords may prove to be beneficial in getting featured in search earlier than the competition.
While long-tail keywords were once in large use, they are making a stable and consistent comeback thanks to Google’s constantly advancing algorithms. As search becomes more personalized and instantaneous, it will become essential that your website be featured in search results that reflect complex and comprehensive queries. If you have been seeking for a break-out for your website, then considering long-tail keywords is vital in maintaining a consistent web presence and reaching those demographics that are most likely to respond well to your website or brand.