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July 4, 2010

The Importance Of Long Tail Keywords Since The Last Google Algorithm Update

Google introduced another algorithm update in May 2010 and many webmasters have seen a huge drop in traffic from Google for keyword phrases that are three or more keywords long, known as long tail keywords.

Google is now able to index longer keyword phrases more accurately. It seems that Google guessed the best pages for long keyword phrases until recently based on other signals and keywords on the indexed pages. The new Google patent indicates that Google now has the computing power to index longer keyword phrases on web pages instead of guessing them.

What does this mean to business owners, webmasters and SEO companies? It means that those who have taken the time to anticipate the need of their customers and Google’s customers will be rewarded.

Whether in SEO terms or in pay per click advertising terms, longtail keywords are highly valuable. Think about what your search process is yourself and you will more than likely realise this.

The average person searching at the research phase will use a competitive generic keyword such as “party dress”. Not long after searching and seeing some high prices they will modify their search to something like “cheap party dress.” Now we are already into long tail keyword territory but it can go further. As the search deepens the searcher realizes that pink is the trendy colour at the moment, or pink is what she fancies wearing on her next night out, so then she is using the long tail keyword “cheap pink party dress.”

The more experienced the searcher the more likely she will start off with this right at the beginning so as not to waste any time. And in general people are becoming far better at searching as the search engines continue to improve the results they show to us.

A long tail keyword means one of two things; either the person is close to making a buying decision or is an experienced searcher. Now with the Google algorithm update of May, combined with the buying profile of a long tail keyword searcher being stronger, and add in here the fact that a well optimised page for a long tail keyword has a far higher chance of getting to the first page of the SERPs then it is what they call a no-brainer.

Think about it logically, when you want to find information online on products, services or for research reasons, you want to find it quickly, you want it to be as precise as possible and give you something extra that other information has not up until that moment.

Long tail keywords can be optimised in this way. The trick here is getting into the mindset of your customer and pre-empting all the possible things they would like to know about whatever the subject of the long tail keyword is and then going at least one step further. You will create a page which is resource, which means customers will like it and sites which see it as an authority may link to it.

On some of the search engine forums SEOs have stated that this algorithm which was named Mayday by some and Black Tuesday by others has had a disastrous effect on some well established sites which did not have enough content in deep pages.

Whether you are a small business owner, or a medium to large business owner, all the signs show that drilling down into your site with niche information across all aspects of your site based on long tail keywords is a good way to go. Long tail keywords are important both to your customers and the search engines; ignore them at your peril!

Jackie is co-owner of CWA Europe which is an International Search Marketing Agency. If you are not already doing it she highly recommends building long tail keywords into your online marketing strategy.