Google’s John Mueller answers the question about ranking for head term keyword phrases

Google is one of the most powerful search engines on the internet, and it is important to understand the way it works. One of the most important factors in that equation is the ranking of a phrase as a head keyword phrase. If you have a website that focuses on the currency exchange market, you may want to be sure that Google’s technology is the way to go, or else search engine visits may not be what you are hoping for.

We found out that the biggest question SEO’s have is to answer was “How do I rank for head term keyword phrases?” I was recently asked about this very question by a friend, so I decided to take a look.

Google’s John Mueller provided some pointers on how a new site should go about ranking for long-tail keywords.

The query came from a publisher who was dissatisfied with what he considered to be a low-quality web page. Mueller explained why that specific search result looks the way it does.

Phrases with a Head Term

Head Terms are search terms that have a high number of searches.

Search queries with a low search volume are known as long tail terms.

It isn’t about the number of words in the search query. It’s all about the number of searches.

One thing Mueller points out regarding head words is that their definitions are often ambiguous.

Search Engine Rankings for Single-Word Search Queries

The individual who asked the inquiry was worried about the search results for a single-word search term, where the top-ranked site was thought to be of poor quality.

That individual inquired as to why their better-quality web page did not rank higher than what they considered to be a low-quality web page.


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This is the issue:

“I do a Google search and the results aren’t promising.

There is just one video and hundreds of comments in the first result. Why does that one website have such a high ranking?

…Not just me, but there are other outcomes that are even better below that result.

I looked over the website and saw that they had a lot of authority in their field… “And the question was about programming,” says the narrator.

Mueller Discusses Google’s Head Terms Ranking

John Mueller of Google talks about how to rank for head keywords.

Search Queries That Aren’t Clearly Defined

Mueller began by pointing out that the individual who asked the inquiry had used an unclear search term. That’s an issue since the purpose of a single-word search query may mean a lot of different things for different search terms.


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John Mueller’s response:

“So, first and foremost, I believe that a query like “programming” is so vague that there is no ultimate right or wrong in ranking anything there.

So I’d expect the outcomes to be mixed, and it’ll be difficult to simply say, “I’m going to produce a piece of material on the subject of “programming,” and Google will rank it number one.”

Mueller advises focusing on keywords that are less ambiguous.

Instead of concentrating on all of the high-volume terms, Mueller recommends that the publisher concentrate on keywords with less competition.

John proceeded with his response:

“My advice is to avoid inquiries like “programming,” particularly if you’re just starting out.

Instead, concentrate on something that you are very good at, something that you can do well, and something that doesn’t have as much competition or as much other material currently out there.

…so that you can get some experience and learn how things operate, how people really respond to your material, which kind of content perform well for search, and which types of content work well for users over time.

And as you build it up over time, you may find yourself concentrating on more head terms,…shorter queries that people often look for.

But it also provides you a basis to expand on, where you know that, for example, I get a lot of inquiries about this particular area of programming, which is why I have a lot of excellent material on and where I rank very high.

Then, as time goes on, it may make sense to branch out into a larger subject.

Or maybe you discover other subject areas where there isn’t a lot of material out there, but there are enough individuals looking for this information that it’s worth your time to produce it and keep it running on your website.”

Search Engine Rankings for Specific Keywords

Mueller is correct; concentrating on specific terms with clear purpose is a smart approach.

One-word search queries are becoming less popular, which implies that they are no longer considered head keywords. They’re just hazy and unclear.

The Google Trends tool, for example, indicates that the search trend for the term “programming” is decreasing. Today, 50 percent fewer individuals are looking for the term “programming” than five years ago.

There used to be a lot of search inventory for one-word and two-word search queries. However, the way people search has evolved, so just because it’s a one-word inquiry doesn’t imply it’s a popular search phrase.

Google also employs query refining tools to help searchers find more precise search searches.

Because a searcher is more likely to discover what they seek on a web page on something very specialized, Mueller’s method may be more rewarding for users and publishers.


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More sales, more clicks on affiliate links, and overall higher ad performance have all come from a more precise search query in my experience.


Google’s Mueller Talks About Head Terms Ranking

At the 38:55 minute mark, John Mueller responds to the question:


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