The Long Tail Search

People search for absolutely everything (take the fact that Britney Spears was the most searched keyword last year for example!). With 9.4 billion searches on Google US, the average Google search is just as likely to be three or four words long as it is the common one word search of old.

What is long-tail though? Long-tail search terms are the longer more specific keyword searches. For example; a long tail version of ‘camera’ could be ‘buy Sony DSC Digital Camera online’.

Avinash Kaushik from Google spoke publicly on long-tail trends for the first time this year. His main message was that average Google searches is now a lot more likely to be 3 to 4 words per query.
If you look at today’s Hot Trends on the Google Trends site, you can see that at least twenty of the keyword searches are more than two words long.

People will often do a little Google Insights data to discover their one word “trophy term” and pursue this with real zeal. In certain situations this can be particularly tough though. In many circumstances hunting the tail will provide more meat than catching part of the head.

Does the tail weigh more than the head?

Using our database at Intelligent Positioning we found that 4 word search queries were more popular than 1 word queries. This was especially true for really large sites.

One of our clients received 20,000 organic clicks for a ‘trophy term’ (position 4 in Google) in January 2008. They also received almost 50,000 organic clicks for sixteen 2, 3, and 4 word derivatives of this ‘trophy term’. ‘Stemming’ has a part to play here but the figures show just how many clicks you can gain from long tail searches.

The Advantages of Long Tail Search

So, what can the advantages of long-tail optimization include? Here are two:

1. Even if the searches for a particular term are quite low, the fact that it is a such a specific search term means you often get a high conversion rate

2. Getting a small amount of hits for many long tail searches all adds up

Knowing what tactic to pursue obviously takes expertise, research and the right data. Good SEO companies can do this for you.

Intelligent Positioning use an inside-out approach based on an advanced data system. This means we are able to make the correct decisions when it comes to keyword pursuit. You don’t have to flip a coin to choose heads or tails!

Author Chris L