A recent study by Hitwise, the search industry’s leading source of search behaviour data, reported that whilst the usage of one and two-word searches has declined, the use of three, four and five word searches has increased.
In fact, these ‘longtail’ searches of three and above words account for the majority of searches made so far during 2009. The actual figures for searches are: 20.4%, 23.6% and 45% for one, two and three and above words respectively. The one-word search figure represents a reduction of 4.1% from 2007 statistics.
The results of this study make a great deal of sense. Internet users are more savvy now than they were even two or three years ago – and are well-rehearsed in searching online for information or products they require. People know that when they use one word search queries, the results they get back are going to include everything under the sun relating to that keyword. In this world where time is of the essence, searchers know that in order to find the specific information or product they are looking for, they have to search smarter.
The implications of such knowledge are far reaching for both pay per click and SEO.
For pay per click, this is great news because as a general rule, long term keywords are less competitive, and therefore cheaper to bid on. So by restructuring your campaigns to use less one and two-word keywords, and adding more longer tail three and four-word keyword phrases, it could be possible to reduce your monthly Adwords spend.
And when it comes to SEO, this is also great news for the client. Longer tail keyword phrases are again less competitive – so it is possible to achieve more first page listings.
And at I-COM, we always say that the keywords of two, three and four-words are much more likely to convert into sales – as people know what they want, and are therefore closer to the point of purchase.