By | May 2, 2020

When you are undertaking keyword research it is nice to have data that shows trends – it can validate your own decisions. Sometimes you need to be wary of the data however as it can lead to more confusion.

HitWise has released its latest report on search engines, their share of the market and various other statistics including the use of long tail searches. That section of the report headlines “Longer search queries becoming more popular” and statically, they are correct – just don’t get too excited. Simple headlines are not good enough when it comes to keyword research. You have to dig a little deeper.

If you analyze your stats you may be surprised. In January 2008, 82.44% of all searches were 4 words or less with 67.9% using 3 words or less. In January 2009 this had fallen marginally to 80.75% for 4 word searches and 65.86% for 3 words or less.

Of course, the numbers for five words or more are the opposite. 17.56% in 2008 up to 19.25% in 2009. Long tails are on the increase – but as you can see, only marginally and hardly enough to worry about.

What statistics don’t tell you, and what can be very important for keyword research, is that every niche is different. People searching for books may well use more than four words; if they are searching for a person, they may use only one or two words.

Know your niche. Get to know how people are searching within that niche. Statistics are nice, but they are very general and ultimately serve only as guides. For keyword research, you need to be far more specific.

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