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BizReport : Search Marketing : February 25, 2009

Hitwise: Long tail of search gets longer

Internet users today are using longer and longer search queries, according to Hitwise, prompting some marketers to relook at their long-tail strategies.

by Helen Leggatt

Internet users searching the web are becoming better at finding exactly what they want and, to do so, they're using more and more words per search query, found Hitwise.

Instead of using just 1 or 2 words, users are now employing upwards of 3, perhaps indicating that they are finding less value in results presented when using less and subsequently refining those results with the additional of more keywords.

The number of searches involving just one word has slipped over the last few years from 24.5% in 2007 to 20.4% in 2009. Meanwhile, approximately 23.6% of 2009 queries to date have involved two words. Just over 45% of the searches tracked by Hitwise so far this year have consisted of 3, 4 or 5 word searches.

For marketers, this information opens up opportunities to better search ranking by creating content and ads around longer keywords/phrases. For instance, instead of using a simple head term such as "leather handbag" you could use a long tail keyword to form "brown leather handbag with shoulder strap", depending on what terms your keyword analytics show are bringing users to your site.

For an in-depth look at the long tail of search, check out Glenn Gabe's comprehensive article on Search Engine Journal.

Tags: head term, Hitwise, keywords, long tail, search, search ranking, search results

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