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Google has been encouraging people to search via normal English for a while now and with it has come more focus on “long tail” phrase based SEO. The standard argument is that long tail keywords and keyphrases are lower competition, convert better, and quite frankly they provide for a better user experience.

These phrases are often long, in some cases very long, (one keyword from our blog: “what are some techniques for persuading customers that your product is better than the competition?”) and it’s interesting to see what lengths of keywords are providing different traffic stats. Fortunately for us, this week Avinash Kaushik posted some neat advanced segments that kept me from having to write my own, so here I present to you the means of analyzing multiple keywords:

Regex and Google Analytics

First off we have the standards:

  • ^\s*[^\s]+\s*$ – one keyword
  • ^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){1}\s*$ – two keywords
  • ^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){2}\s*$ – three keywords
  • ^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){3}\s*$ – four keywords
  • etc.

You can also use ranges (remember my post on Regex?) to sort your keywords into groups. Unfortunately, while the range command {x,y} works just fine in filters, it won’t work in advanced segments.

  • ^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){1,4}\s*$ – two to five keywords
  • ^\s*[^\s]+(\s+[^\s]+){5,}\s* – six or more keywords

The Joy of Keyphrases

As I noted in the introduction, people are increasingly using natural language for search. With less competition, it is easier to rank for longer phrases, so naturally there’s the simple “visits” metric to think about.

In this graph you can see that four word keyphrases attracted significantly more traffic that one or two word keyphrases.

But what about when we break these numbers down some more? Here I’ve created filters for each level, and added the word “SEO” as a requirement.

Notice how, as you add words, the bounce rate decreases? Also notice how ATOS jumps up.

Now of course comes the big question: what can you do with this information? I’m gonna cop-out here, and leave that up to you, but some ideas might be: looking at what phrases drive the most traffic, getting ideas for keyword variations and looking at which combinations of words convert.