My thoughts on Long Tail Search?

My college and search guru Danny Sullivan once said something like this:

“Tap into the tail, and you’ve got sizable traffic, as well as traffic that often is reported to convert better than less general terms.”

There are number of companies that forget the long-tail of search both for SEM and PPC and by doing that they are missing out on great opportunities reaching possible clients, my experience is that the long tail search words often have much higher conversion, do cost less to buy through PPC and there for have much higher ROI (eROI).

Let’s say that you have a big site, tens of thousands of pages. If you optimise 100 pages for the same amount of phrases and all of them are ranking well you will still get the bulk of your search engine traffic through search terms that you have not optimised for, these would be the long tail search phrases.

By understanding what the long-tail of search stands for you can then use that knowledge to reduce PPC cost and increase eROI (ROI). While the phrase; Hotel in central London, returns traffic on hotels central, central London and Hotels London you can but a [ ] around it and then you have a exact match (Google), then there is advanced match (Yahoo) and so on.

By using a mixture of broad mach, exact match, phrase match and negative match you can maximise your conversion and the eROI on you PPC campaign. More here http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6100  

And finally always use web Analytic tools like IndexTools to monitor your campaigns, I can’t recommend using Google to monitor Google and Yahoo, MSN or MIVA will never allow you to monitor their traffic through GA so to get the best picture use a third party solution like IndexTools or Webtrends.

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  1. Great advice. It seems as if the concept of the long tail is really catching on these days. Most people and companies that are taking advantage of it are aggregating with larger conglomerate sites such as iTunes and Amazon.com, but why not try to put pressure on search engines too?

    I wonder if there is a way to build niche target through campaigns that broaden not only search results, but exposure through mainstream sites that niche eyes might be looking at?

  2. Great post and definitely one of my favourite subjects. I would like to comment that when one really dig deep – concepts such as a dropping tail and the fat head are exiting long tail after-studies.

    Cheers mate and see you in London.

    Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools
    http://visualrevenue.com/blog

  3. I do agree with both of you guy’s and feel that the world of search is by far not fully explored, I have some experience building up search marketing strageties around niche markets with great results. never heard of the fat head, that’s a nice one Dennis, will look it up :-)

  4. Hi there,

    I have a basic comment about the “fat head” here.. (sounds rather insulting.. doesnt it? :)

    http://visualrevenue.com/blog/2007/06/do-you-have-fat-head-long-tail.html

    Cheers

    Dennis R. Mortensen, COO at IndexTools
    My Web Analytics Blog

  5. Thanks Dennis great reading!! Now I know everything anout fat heads with long tails in search marketing :-)

  6. Thank Kristjan you for the insight in the concept of Long Tail, thats was new to me, will be helpful. O the web stats tool I am using GoStats.com, they provide comprehensive reports.

  7. Hi AD, I went in to see the GoStats page and it’s seams to be ok tool for very small webs, but for larger sites or at least from my experience “Comprehensive overview of the last 1000 guests” would never give me enough data to understand what is happening on my sites or most of the sites I am working for. The importancy of web analytics is as I have said before the make or break between success or failure and when I choose my tools I always have in mind that there is no such thing as a free lunch. My advice it might be ok to have budget as a criteria but take it seriously and make sure that the tool you choose can grow with you.

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