Keywords Have Evolved: Now Is Your Opportunity to Shine With the Long Tail

Quality Content Still Reigns

It’s over! The preoccupation with understanding and using keywords is no longer a battle for new and experienced content creators and Expert Authors.

What’s changed?

Article writing and content creation for online users has undergone a major shift from the early days of keyword discovery and later aggressive keyword regulation. Many of us have collectively breathed a sigh of relief as the emphasis is back on quality content over keyword-riddled junk because search engines have improved their ability to connect a user’s conversational long-tail queries with quality and original content.

What does this mean for you?

You have an opportunity to shine.

Before we get into the “how to,” let’s take a quick step back in keyword history.

A (Tongue-in-Cheek) Brief History of Keyword Usage

Many content creators have wisely (and not so wisely) used keyword practices as a part of their content marketing strategy over the years. What began with good intentions to increase their ability to be searched by their target audiences soon became a hotbed of questionable black hat SEO tactics as content creators (knowingly and unknowingly) allowed themselves to be drawn in by poor “quick ‘n easy” promises. Let’s take a closer look:

  • Keywords Discovered: “Hey, these keywords are neat and helped me show up on page one. I think I will use more of them.”
  • Keyword Clouds: “I’ll place a widget ‘cloud’ of words on my page to help search engines understand what my page is all about. Look! I can even make the words spin and interact with users!”
  • Keyword Glut: “I NEED MORE KEYWORDS! I’ll just stuff them here, there, everywhere and then I will rule the search – mwhahahahaha!”
  • Keywords Spun: “Quantity is so much better than quality! I’ll write dozens of articles covering the same topic and alter the text ever so slightly. It’s not exactly identical, but it targets the same keywords at least.”
  • Keywords Regulated: “STOP! This is the keyword police. Your content is under arrest. You are allowed one keyword or keyword phrase for every one hundred words. Failure to comply will result in suspension and de-indexing.”
  • Keywords Evolved.

How Users, Publishers, and Search Engines Were Affected

Internet users hated the early days of keyword glut and spinning.

Search became a game of keyword roulette because poor quality would often outrank quality content, but what else could they do? Not use the Internet was out of the question, so they either accepted it as the way things were or they experimented with different search engines and social media.

Publishers disliked it too.

Targeting keywords over providing a good user experience and informative content cheapened the quality and value of the publisher’s platforms. As a result, publishers attempted to fend off spam by establishing keyword checkpoints that blocked poor quality content and rewarded good quality content. Unfortunately, this made it more difficult for Expert Authors to publish.

Search engines were in hot water.

Internet users “putting up” with poor quality content wasn’t acceptable, nor was allowing derivative, spun content driven by popular keywords to game the system. Search engines strived to provide a great user experience and found a way by improving semantic search and rewarding quality content. Their innovation has led to the evolution of keywords.

Current Affairs and the Long Tail

While keywords continue to have their place, the landscape has changed. Through the use of smarter synonym tools as well as the fine-tuning of co-occurrence contextual recognition tools, search engines are now more in tune with the needs of users and are better at understanding the relationships between indexed content, keywords, and user search queries.

For Expert Authors like yourself, this means you have the opportunity for your existing and future quality content to do well. This is especially true if you have strong brand, link, social, and user signals as well as target long-tail user queries, which are ranking higher than ever before because they emulate the practices of natural, conversational speech used by your audience.

The long tail depicts the frequency with which a topic occurs and its demand. Let’s take a closer look.

There are three main parts of the long-tail concept: the head, the middle, and the tail.

  • Head: At the top of the curve, the Head targets a large audience with a high content saturation, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss”).
  • Middle: Connecting the head and the tail, the Middle moderately targets an audience with an average content saturation, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss for Women” and “Weight Loss for Women Over 40”).
  • Tail: The Tail targets a highly focused audience with content that’s in low supply, demand, and competition (e.g., “Weight Loss for Women Over 40: Top 7 Quick, Easy, and Painless Tips to Drop a Dress Size or More!)”.

By targeting your audience and creating content along the long tail, you will increase the likelihood of your articles being seen by readers.

Don’t Dump the Overall Concept of Keywords Entirely

Of course, you shouldn’t throw out good keyword strategies such as integrating great keywords into your titles naturally and writing articles contextually relevant to search queries based on user demand. Find balance. Provide rich, informative content that focuses on the reader both on and off your website. Create strong social signals by engaging with your audience on social media (via discussions, sharing, etc.). And finally, implement good keyword strategies that help (not hinder) your success.

Go on! Take this opportunity to shine by brainstorming long-tail article titles, allow your experience to come forth, and let the keywords take a break. Refocus on writing creative, engaging, informative content that really connects with readers.

Questions? Comments? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

25 Comments »


1
Randall Magwood writes:

I always envisioned a day where deliberate keyword structure in content/articles would get “played out”. That’s why I continue to write articles for readers only – not search engines. And i also promote my articles to my email list, so i get direct traffic from here also. I look at reader experience and if they will benefit from it – as opposed to driving people to a poor, keyword-filled article that doesn’t deliver any real benefit.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM

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Mike Andrews writes:

I think likewise. I try to make the best of a limited number of visits but to get loads would be a bonus!

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2
Hernando Cadet writes:

I am on the way to create content that is based on quality, not on words, because we need to create content for people and not just base our content on words.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

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Mike Andrews writes:

I do not want to write to please and conform to search engines. I want to please readers! That’s what it’s all about!

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3

Good one.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 10:45 AM

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4
Harry Bhanot writes:

This is great. If there is a quality content but have keywords stuffed in it then it still a good content for search engines.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM

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Out of curiosity, I check out other people’s websites, etc., who post on here. I looked for another place to tell you, but could not see one. FYI you have a typo on your site in the title, “Blooging”, when it should be “Blogging”. Perhaps this post of mine can be deleted once you get this message.

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5
D.RaghavendraRao writes:

Qualitative article/content writing is more important than key words. Some times important words used in an article may not find place in the list of key words which are used as significant words and also in indexing or cataloging. Yet we can not overlook the the role the key words play in article/content writing.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM

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6
Salihu S Dikko writes:

I am sorry, I am in woods. I need clarification on these terms. Key words, search engine. As a newbies, who have not gone head deep in the internet need more help, before I pick up the whole ideas.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM

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7
Daron writes:

Your article gave me a good understanding in less than 5 minutes. Long tail was not clear before reading. Thanks!

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

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8
Boluji Olatunji writes:

Keywords are selected words, some times used to make a short form of a long sentence; in most cases are the types of word/s used when you are looking/searching for something on search engines etc.
There two major search engines are Google.com and yahoo.com, though there are many other search engines. For more clarification, type Google.com or yahoo.com on browser window and press enter on your computer keyboard and wait a moment for the page to come up; that page is the Google or yahoo search engine, it has a form where you can impute some words. If you impute the keyword of your choice it will bring you many websites that has to do with your ketword/s.

I hope I made it clear enogh for you. Cheers.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

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9

I love your detailed description of the longtail keywords. makes it so clear exactly what is best to do now compared to even a year ago.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 2:25 PM

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10
Salihu S Dikko writes:

Thanks severally. I do such a things most times, but as I said, and because of technicality or terminology involved, I am always thinking, it is a new thing all together.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM

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11

So the artificial Keyword-spun articles have lost sheen .Good news to All writers who produce original and content-rich articles stand to gain more now.

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 10:34 PM

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12
Gracious Store writes:

Thanks for explaining the best practice of in using keywords

Comment provided November 8, 2013 at 11:10 PM

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13
Esayo Tetteh writes:

Glad I stuck to my guns and continued to write good articles and never got sucked into the keyword stuffing frenzy!

Comment provided November 9, 2013 at 5:25 AM

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14
Eddie Carrara writes:

Keywords will always be important, and long tail keywords have always played a special roll in my articles, but you really need to know how to place them naturally throughout your articles without stuffing. I always write for my readers, I give them rich information based on my experiences, so they really can’t find this information anywhere else on the web. Delivering the best content possible to your readers will set you apart form anyone else who writes just to build traffic, good content lasts forever and grows slowly, keyword stuffing is a short term traffic gain and could possibly get you banned or penalized.

Comment provided November 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM

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15
Vijay Khosla writes:

It is great to know the new developments taking place in the content writing.

Comment provided November 10, 2013 at 4:48 AM

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16
wayne writes:

I am still struggling with this long tail keywords but maybe with practice I will get the hang of it

Comment provided November 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

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17
Matthew Morris writes:

Including sufficient keywords for your readers to find the articles without going overboard is something you learn with practice.

Comment provided November 13, 2013 at 8:28 PM

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18
Atell Rohlandt writes:

It’s great to see a shift from a focus on ‘keywords’ to actual quality. The secret to great content seems to be to write for readers and not for the keywords. PS: Loved the graph, it illustrates the principle behind long-tailed keywords so well!

Comment provided November 15, 2013 at 2:32 AM

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19

This is something that is towards a step ahead in mobilizing content to another quality level. With Google algorithm getting tougher day by day it is must to learn its rules to emerge winner in today’s highly complex situation on web.

Comment provided November 18, 2013 at 12:35 AM

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20
Jenny Rogers writes:

It is nice to read this article about keywords stuffing. I wrote some articles with keywords stuffing on my blog a few years ago. Now, they are not indexed well on Google anymore. Should I change the articles titles?

Comment provided November 20, 2013 at 1:19 PM

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21
Lewis Iyaogeh writes:

The day many SEO professionals hoped would never come, but feared eventually would, apparently has arrived today. It appears that Google has cut off keyword data altogether.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit some of the things we abandoned because they didn’t suit Google’s master plan.

Comment provided November 21, 2013 at 3:10 PM

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22
Ricky writes:

I don’t remembered when the last time I used single word keywords.

Comment provided November 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM

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