Longer search queries becoming more popular with Google

Posted on May 11, 2009


For those people who are obsessed by the vanity of needing to rank #1 for their chosen keyword, Hitwise has revealed some pretty interesting news regarding changing search patterns.

Hitwise is the company that monitors search trends and market analysis on the Internet, and they’ve found that people using Google are moving more towards longtail search queries to narrow down their searches, instead of searching for single words, or even two word combinations.

The report from Hitwise showed that Google had received 73% of all searches from US traffic in April, meaning that if you’re hoping to reach your target market, you need to be found in Google.

Yahoo, once the market leader in the US, managed just 16.27% of search traffic, with MSN and 5.68% and Ask.com coming in fourth at 3.95%.

You might be thinking that this doesn’t leave much else for the remaining search engines out there, and you’d be right. Just 1.36% of search traffic in April was shared between 49 additional search engines.

The real discovery though was the trend for longtail search. The change in search query length year-on-year was revealed as:

  • One word: -3%
  • Two words: -5%
  • Three words: +1%
  • Four words: +3%
  • Five words: +4%
  • Six words: +5%
  • Seven words: +8%
  • Eight or more words: +18%

This shows that website users are optimising their search queries rather than being generic when they are looking for something. For example, rather than search for ‘divorce’, web searchers are looking for ‘divorce lawyers in Leeds’.

You need to think longtail with your SEO.

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