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.
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.
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.
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:
These are the ways to find long-tail keywords: