Yahoo Search Assist: Capitalizing On Long-Tail Search

Yahoo alleges that its recently launched tool, Search Assist, is like a smart friend "who knows how to find the answers to everything under the sun."

That actually seems to be a common mantra among a lot of search marketers today. This idea is referred to as "ambient findability" -- find anything, anytime, anywhere. Sounds wonderful, but as a search marketer, rather than as a search consumer, I am finding this to be less and less true.

I am rarely satisfied with the results pages when I type my search query into Google. I don't remember the last time I felt like saying "ah-ha." But there must be consumers out there in the search world that do. Otherwise, we would all be out of a job. Maybe it's that I am a long tail searcher to the core. Meaning that most of the time I type in a three-to-five word phrase in hopes of a more specific results page. I tend to start with the long terms and when nothing relevant shows up, I am forced to broaden my search.

I feel there are a lot of searchers out there like me. That's why we build out hundreds of four- and five-word phrases. They are inexpensive and are likely to incite that "ah-ha" moment. Although the volume on these keywords is generally lower, often they do generate an action because people like to know you have exactly what they are looking for. Unfortunately, we often dismiss these long phrases due to the lack of volume, and they quickly become the redheaded stepchild.



So when Yahoo Search Marketing released its tool, Search Assist, in October last year, I was optimistic. I thought, here is where we can close the gap between the long-tail term and the simplistic searcher: enticing the searcher to search those keywords with a lower cpc to drive down costs but still giving them something relevant. Unfortunately, I don't think enough advertisers are using this tool to their advantage. Most of the advertisers I saw bidding on these four-word suggested terms were none other than Shopzilla, and Bizrate. That's like having a wide open receiver and throwing it to the guy with two men covering him.

So how can advertisers capitalize on this tool? First, when building out search terms for your campaign, make sure that the terms the Yahoo Search Assist Tool suggests are included . Second, make sure you are in top positions for those suggested terms. You won't be paying as much for them. so it almost certainly will not hurt you. Third, you may see a slight decline in impressions on your one and two word phrases, as impressions are directly attributed to these long tail keywords instead of attributed to broad matches of general terms. . Fourth, check back often. These terms will update regularly, and new variations will make great additions to your search engine marketing campaign.

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