Help visitors find precisely what they want
These days, web visitors don’t search for simple terms like “LAX flight delays.” Instead, they’re more likely to ask a longer, more conversational, more precise question: “Will Flight 457 on XYZ Airlines be delayed out of LAX?”
Indeed, most searchers use three or more keywords in their searches, according to a study of 10 million U.S. internet users by Experian Hitwise.
These so-called long-tail searches — which include three or more keywords or complete questions — help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for in single search, without clicking or additional searching.
Google is making the transition from providing generic results that match strings of keywords and to becoming a knowledge engine that understands the relationships between ideas. With its Hummingbird algorithm, released in 2013, Google focused more on long-tail searches.
So how will this affect SEO for writers?
Long-tail or short-tail search terms?
To choose keywords and phrases for your release, decide whether to go broad or tight:
- Choose long-tail search terms for precision. The more specific your subject or targeted audience, the more precise the language on your web page, post or other online piece should be.
- Choose short-tail search terms to cast a wider net. But if you’re trying to reach as many people as possible or if your story has a broader subject, you may find that short-tail search terms work better.
Long tail or short: Which search terms works best for your web page, blog post or release?