The World of Search

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by Yvonne DiVitaLong-tail

SEOmoz is a great site to learn about search engine optimization. The October Newsletter posted two articles from our members and/or speakers, but I thought this particular post was very important, also, so I thought I'd share here.

What follows are a few tips from the transcription of the video on how to take advantage of the long tail impressions on your site, given by Aaron Wheeler. I recommend watching the video – click here. For those who are not familiar with "the long tail" essentially it refers to "a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities." So, when a book is published, the number of people who buy one-offs via Amazon can be in the thousands…whereas, the number that buy in quantity can be in the hundreds. You may look at those sales of several hundred as exciting and wonderful, but in reality, the long tail is sending you more traffic and more profit.

The term was popularized by Chris Anderson in a 2004 article in Wired Magazine. You can read more about it on The Economist's website.

In the SEOmoz video, there is a chart which is explained in the transcript like this,

"We kind of classify these into three chunks. So we have our fat head, our chunky middle, and our How-big-is-your-long-tail long tail. The fat head, in my view, tends to refer to the things that are very popular in your niche. I say in your niche, because depending on your niche, these may be very different in terms of quantity. I've given a rough estimate for SEOmoz. Usually the categories we like to bring them into are something that sends more than 100 visitors each month. If there's a keyword that's sending us more than 100 visits a month, we put that in the fat head. That's sort of a big term for us. If there's something sending between 10 and 99 visits a month, that's our chunky middle. If it's sending fewer than 10, it's our long tail." [image is a link, not a video! visit the site to watch the video!]

Now, seems like the "long tail" isn't doing much for them, right? I can't go into the details here because it would be too long, and besides, you need to visit his post to read it and digest what he's teaching you. The long tail is full of keywords that mean something. As Aaron notes in his video, 20% of the Google searches out there (according to Google) are UNIQUE. Not 'very' unique…not 'purposefully unique'… just unique. That means, 20% of searches contain phrases that have never been created before.

Aaron works at SEOmoz, as might be expected.  Apparently they (he? not sure) conduct a Whiteboard Friday every week… something else to think about. What are you doing on a regular, weekly basis that will keep people coming back for more?

If this article is too detailed for you – or you feel it doesn't explain things in a way you can understand – let us know. We'll do our best to answer your questions. The main reason I shared this is to help open some eyes to new ideas and to the fact that sometimes more is not better.

  • http://petmoz.com PetMOZ

    Great Post/Great site… People often underestimate the power of optimizing for long tail searches. They get so tied up on keywords.
    Trick is implementing these keywords (most of which can come easily in naturally written articles)….
    Take advantage of the low hanging fruit….