11 September 2017

Are long tail keywords still a valid SEO strategy for 2017?

If your organization has an online presence you want to get a high score in search engine results (SEO). The better your ratings, the higher the number of visitors and sales (conversions) you can get. The theory is simple but putting it into practice is a major website marketing challenge.

Long tail keywords still valid strategy for seo for 2017.png

Anticipating search data choices

SEO strategy experts try to get into the mind of the person likely to support your organization. They attempt to foresee why the users are coming to your website. From this information they define which keywords your users are most likely to enter in the search engine. Based on this analysis they offer SEO tips, and in particular advice on improving your existing web content.

If you include enough of the right keywords in your website you maximize its search ratings. At the same time you must be careful not to deluge your websites with keywords. The search engine operators, such as Google and Bing, know this trick and downgrade websites who use it. Yet with everyone now focusing solely on keywords, getting your organization rated becomes more difficult. Thus comes into play the seo techniques of using long tail keywords.


The role of long tail keywords

Online marketers appreciate the advantages of keyword phrases, or long tail keywords. A single keyword relevant to your cause or business gives you a place in the search engine ratings, but where? Think about all those other similar organizations likely to appear in these ratings. One entry way down in thousands of search results is not worth a great deal. You want your website to show in the first page.

You need to enter into the user’s mindset. Are they going to search with a single keyword or use a string of related words?  In today’s age of asking Siri or Alexa a verbal question, your user is more likely to use a similar browsing method.

Long tail graphic from Yoast

Saving the Orangutans

To maximize your website’s position you can use more specific keyword expressions. For example, suppose your nonprofit promotes a refuge for orangutans in Indonesia. The keyword “orangutan” gets you found by large numbers of searchers.Most of them might only be seeking general information. It is enough for them to click the Wikipedia entry, or whatever else comes up on the first page, but they may not be interested in your specific mission. If you use a long tail keyword such as “refuge for orangutans in Indonesia,” fewer people may find your website. Yet those who find you are much more likely to support your cause.


Only Conversions Count

The expression “long tail” comes from the way search results display on a graph. With a specific keyword expression fewer searchers find your website. If you plot this trend on a graph it shows how finds “tail off” into a long tail as keyword use becomes more specific. The aim after all is not to get your website found by the largest number of people. You want to get the most conversions, for example, the number of visitors who buy a product. The conventional online marketing wisdom shows how long tail keywords improve conversion rates.


The Best SEO Methods Debate

Recent search engine algorithm changes bring fresh challenges for SEO experts. In 2013 Google moved revised their search mechanism to use a “semantic” approach. Google search is now programmed to guess the searcher’s intention. For example, suppose a searcher types “a safe place where apes in danger of extinction can live.” This search could improve on the ratings achieved with a standard long tail keyword. Jason DeMers believes that this change encouraged wider understanding and use of a phrase. All the same, he warns how the picture has become much more complex. In light of recent changes “including a keyword or phrase verbatim isn’t a surefire way to optimize.


Where long tail keywords are no longer relevant

Wesley Parker brings data that shows how they do not help for Pay per Click (PCC). In one study he quotes, shows that only 2.4% of conversions came from long tail keywords of over five words in length. A different analysis found that of a total of 1252 conversions 14.63% came from six word search entries. In contrast 15.92% of conversions came from single word search entries. He believes two words may be better than five or six, and in some industries single keywords “perform well”.


A Dispute for SEO Experts

The controversy over the value of long tail keywords continues. The evidence suggests that the right answer is going to vary for different kinds of websites. It requires thorough analysis and testing to see what work best for you. Yet it is generally recognized that if you do not plan to use PPC or other paid marketing, long tail keywords boost your website visitor numbers.

No matter if what marketing technique you use, you should monitor what works and what doesn’t. Download now our free, Analytics Manangement Audit Excel sheet.


analytics management audit excel


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Hayley is a freelance British writer who specializes in hi-tech, web development and telecom. Born some time in the 60s (full details protected by the Official Secrets Act!). For relaxation enjoys reading Brontes, George Elliot, Elizabeth Gaskell and Arthur Conan Doyle.