May Day: Refining Long-Tail Keywords Results

With Google’s constant changing in its algorithms and ranking factors, it’s not efficient to be fixated on a particular signal and construct your site around it. That’s why most webmasters don’t read too much in the updates and just try to ride the tides when it comes to SEO. However, the May Day update in May 2010 was substantial enough to have caused a stir in the webmaster community because of its impact on long-tail keywords.

What’s It For

Long-tail keywords are search terms that consist of three to four words which are specific to your brand. These are longer queries that a minor portion of the market search for individually, but still provides a large percentage of traffic in total. Google admitted that the algorithmic changes for May Day are geared at displaying higher quality sites for long-tail searches. Specifically, it was a rankings update and not a crawling or indexing change.

What Were Its Effects

Google’s confirmation on the nature of the May Day update implied that websites whose traffic volume suffered during the rollout still have their pages indexed, but these are no longer taking the top spots as before.

The change reportedly affected large e-commerce sites with “item” pages that:

  • Don’t have inbound links
  • Don’t have unique and value-added content
  • Are several clicks from the home page

Others speculate that the relevance algorithms have been tweaked to prioritize high-quality signals in favor of high relevance. The pages that ranked well at the time were believed to have come from higher-quality sites that increase user engagement and conversion.

What It Means for You

Long-tail keywords are crucial for SEO since consumers who use them are the ones who will most likely convert into a paying customer. As search engines become more sophisticated, natural language search has become increasingly pervasive. Users are asking complete questions as opposed to the early days of Google when one or two search terms would suffice.

Here are some reasons why long-tail keywords are essential for your SEO strategy:

  • Outrank the Competition Often, long-tail keywords are specific to your industry, and it’s highly likely that your competitors are using them or their variations. If you’re in the women’s fashion niche and want to rank your site for winter boots, you want to focus on search terms like “best winter boots” since potential customers will be looking for footwear that offers them the best value for their money.

These are the ways to find long-tail keywords:

  • Take Advantage of Google Suggest – Google’s autocomplete feature in its search box is a valuable tool for keyword research. You just type in the main search terms you plan on using and check the search engine’s suggestions on what users typically ask.
  • Scroll All the Way to Related Searches – You can find the related searches section at the bottom of SERPs. It works in the same way as the autocomplete feature, but it displays eight relevant queries for your key phrases.
  • Use Google Trends – The search engine provides a lot of valuable tools for webmasters like Google Trends which allow you to discover what topics are hot right now.
  • Think like a Consumer As mentioned above, today’s search engine users are using natural language search. This means that they’re typing in specific queries instead of using just a few generic keywords. The more precise they are in their search, the higher the possibility that they will get the information they want. You can meet your target audience by having a definite objective in each piece of content you write and using the right long-tail keywords for it.
  • Give Context to Your Content Long-tail keywords were emphasized to strengthen Google’s search results. It’s easier to understand what a post that contains the search terms “best winter boots” is all about rather than just “winter boots.” The precise nature of this type of keyword is what Google maximizes to provide quality results to users.
  • Get Better Conversion Rates Because long-tail keywords are used by your target audience to acquire specific information, it implies that they already have an end goal in mind before they even type in the query. With this, they’re more likely to convert or become a paying customer if your website provides the data that they expected.
  • Hit Two Birds with One Stone This type of keyword allows you to rank for generic or single search terms because the latter is already incorporated in them. Focused content in each of your pages can lead you to rank well for individual keywords. Plus, it also provides search engines with an idea of what your blog’s general theme or topic is about.