Over the past several years, Google has been changing the rules associated with keyword and search results. When the Internet was young, search engines were not very sophisticated and a website could get a lot of traffic by cramming as many keywords as possible onto a page. When users started to complain about content quality, Google responded by banning keyword stuffing and altering keyword rules. When users still complained about content quality, Google decided it was time to demand quality content from a website that was pertinent to the website's chosen theme.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the words that users utilize in search engines when looking for websites in your industry. If you sell bowling balls, then putting keywords such as "ball" and "alley" in your content would improve where your website ranked in the search engine results. But as Internet marketing companies found ways to manipulate keywords and generate traffic without creating useful content, Google started to focus on long-tail keywords.
What Are Long-Tail Keywords?
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are commonly used in content that is pertinent to your industry. With long-tail keywords, Google is not looking for an exact match when it comes to getting users the content they are looking for. Instead, Google searches your website's content for words that fit into certain long-tail keywords that are common in your industry. When Google can match up significant portions of your content with the right long-tail keywords, then your content gets more exposure on the search engine results pages.
Why Do I Care About Long-Tail Keywords?
Instead of relying on lists of short primary and secondary keywords to determine the value of content on a website, Google has shifted to complex algorithms that are constantly generating and evaluating long-tail keywords. If your content is not finding its place among the long-tail keywords in your industry, then you are going to have a hard time getting good search results for your website.
So What Do I Do?
Utilizing long-tail keywords is something that is best left to Internet marketing professionals. The science behind Google algorithms would take a Ivy League graduate to figure out, but the way those algorithms work is the domain of the Internet marketing expert.
The primary purpose of long-tail keywords is to make sure that the content on your website has value to users. Google also uses long-tail keywords to make sure that your content is relevant to your business. If a baking website starts posting personal finance advice, then Google will know and Google will punish that website.
The challenge with long-tail keywords is that they are constantly changing and there is no real concrete rules about them just yet. Internet marketing experts spend hours each day analyzing content from various industries to determine what kind of content appeals to users the most and will click with Google's search algorithms.
For website owners, it is important to focus on relevant and valuable content and start to forget about keywords. Google wants you to inform users and offer them information that they can use as opposed to manipulating keywords just to get traffic. Focus on quality content that is relevant to your industry and you will start to make some headway in the new world of long-tail keywords.