Long Tail Keywords and the State of the Search Engines

Posted by + on Sep 14, 2011 in Search Engines | 0 comments

ComScore and Hitwise, the leaders when it comes to tracking the search engines, just released their data on search engine use in the US in August and it includes a few helpful SEO takeaways.

Let’s kick things off with some of the numbers first and then bring it back to SEO. In August, there were 17.1 billion searches on US search engines, with just under 65% of them running through Google sites. Bing and Yahoo! combine for 31% with Ask and Aol fighting for the meager remainders. Bing and Yahoo! are very nearly evenly split in terms of search engine share. Considering that these two search giants have joined forces, they are becoming a respectable threat to Google, and are too big to be ignored from an SEO standpoint. Bing’s growth over the past month actually dropped Google to its lowest search share in two years.

google's search engine share august 2011

Hitwise’s data brings up a great little nugget for SEO purposes: long tail keyword use in searches is rising. Long tail searches (searches of five or more words as defined by Hitwise) rose a significant 3% in August, while shorter, one-to-four word searches dropped by 1%. Shorter searches still make up just over two-thirds of searches, but the rise of long tail terms is great for businesses. Longer searches tend to be more specific in nature, leading to higher conversion rates and overall stronger traffic. From an SEO standpoint, they’re easier to achieve higher rankings for as well, there’s just the obvious tradeoff in the volume of searches.

Search engine use has increased nearly 25% over the past two years and keeps growing. If you need help developing a short and long tail keyword strategy to maximize your site’s search potential, give Optima a call today!

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