There’s no denying that Google has come a long way in improving its search algorithms. Gone are the days when blackhat SEO practitioners could manipulate results by simply stuffing their content with keywords. Thanks to changes introduced in the Penguin and Hummingbird updates, well-written and informative content are now prioritized over spammy ones.
That being said, SEO these days is still dependent on keywords. After all, users still enter keywords into search engines when they want information about something. Hence, content should still include judiciously inserted keywords to increase its chances of appearing as a top search result.
How does one choose the best keyword though? If you’re a used-car dealer, it might be tempting to optimize your articles or blog posts with the term “used car.” Unfortunately, just about every used-car dealer has thought of the same thing. If everyone is optimizing their content with the same keyword, the chances of your website appearing in the top 10 is close to nil.
That’s why many SEO experts advocate the use of long-tail keywords. These keywords are essentially synonymous to the main one you want to target but are less commonly used or “competitive”. For example, “second hand vehicle in Baton Rouge” probably won’t have as much competition as either “used car” or “used car Baton Rouge.” Furthermore, people who type in long-tail keywords are usually farther along in the buying cycle, and are more likely to buy products than those who search using a broader keyword.