Usually using more words than you would think necessary is the deathknell for social popularity. Unless you’re Oprah. However, this usually reliable idea is being turned on its head by search engines.
A study was recently done that told us something we already knew – searchers rarely use just on word to do a search. Unless it’s something like ‘Cher’. This isn’t the first study of this kind, BTW.
With the amount of pages in the index of Google and Yahoo, one word is going to give you thousands, maybe even millions of returned listings. On top of that, one word can’t fully define what is in the searcher’s mind.
Say someone searches using the word ‘cars’. What are they after? A new car? A used one? A rental? Are they looking for information on cars because of a problem they’re having with their own? The use of two and three terms in a search has taken off in the past few years because of these 2 factors. Still, some haven’t gotten the word. The study found that a significant number are still using one word searches. Some marketers are as well. You’ll find them bidding on one word terms, which is usually a bigger money pit than Enron stock.
These are the study findings:
- Two-word phrases — 28.38 percent
- Three-word phrases — 27.15 percent
- Four-word phrases — 16.42 percent
- One-word phrase — 13.48 percent
- Five-word phrases — 8.03 percent
- Six-word phrases — 3.67 percent
- Seven-word phrases — 1.63 percent
- Eight-word phrases — 0.73 percent
- Nine-word phrases — 0.34 percent
- Ten-word phrases — 0.16 percent
The study was done using 2 million SE users, divided up into groups of 20,000 each in 100 countries. This is important as many studies do not have the global search reach that this does. Most tend to study one country, usually the US, or one continent, such as Europe pr Asia.
As the global economy becomes more and more real, it is important to get the Big Picture. Although this study did not address them, there are a couple of points that usually accompany these types of research. And you should take note of them.
Number 1 – The sales are often within the multi-term searches, meaning those that use 3 or more terms. Why? Because someone using that many is probably trying to get more exact about what they’re looking for; and that’s because they know precisely what it is that they want. That means targetting those mult-term keyphrases, if you can figure them out, might be time and money well spent. Chances are that they will convert very well.
Number 2 – Other studies have shown that people are slowly moving to search keyphrases of more than 2 terms. That means that the next time you see a study like this, the 3 term keyphrase might be in the number one spot. Or at least nearer to the top.
All of this should be remembered when you work on keyphrases/keywords for your SEO or Google AdWords campaign. Time to expand your search vocabulary.
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