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What is the Long Tail?

You may have never heard of the term “long tail” in regards to search, but you’ll soon know more about it than you ever wanted to know, and it will help you tremendously in all of your search engine optimisation efforts. Knowing about how to adjust your search engine optimisation keywords in the face of an increasingly niche marketplace is key to becoming a master of your chosen niche.

The first question that you are going to have is what exactly is the “long tail?” Well, to be concise, the long tail is the items that sell in small quantities, but take up a larger amount of the graph of items sold. In theory, it’s the items that are not high-volume sales, which are often also high competition. An example of a high-volume and high-competition search term would be “music shops.” A search for music shops would encompass all music shops in the world, and if you are trying to market a small, local music shop in Melbourne, you probably won’t rank high in that search term. However, if you focus on the low-volume and low-competition section, which would be searches like “Where can I find a music shop in Melbourne?” you will be more likely to have a higher turnover rate and get more customers.

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What Value Comes From Knowing About the Long Tail?
Knowing about the long tail allows you to learn how to market yourself to the niche sectors of your community. Taking, for example, the idea of a music shop we previously mentioned, there are a number of good ideas to use keywords for in your search-engine-optimised content. Some of those search terms are things like “music shop that sells vinyl” or “music shops with Beach Boys albums”. If your music shop simultaneously has the largest variety of Beach Boys albums on vinyl, you should easily turn those searches into sales.

How to Focus on the Long Tail

So, how do you then focus on the long tail as part of your internet marketing strategy? The first step is to figure out what niche markets you excel in, like for example, the music shop with beach boys vinyl albums. However, it doesn’t just have to be niche items, it can also be niche searches. Rather than focus your SEO on keywords that are general like “widgets”, focus on more personalised, naturally spoken search terms like “Find widgets in Darwin” or even “widgets for college students.” In the entire realm of searches for widgets, these searches are likely to be less searched for and, as a result, will make it easier for you to turn those searches into sales.

Why Focus on the Long Tail
You should focus on the long tail because it has less competition. While you might have a wonderful online bookstore, it’s going to be increasingly difficult for you to compete with search terms for bookstore versus national chains like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When you focus on the more localised or niche search terms, you can maximise the outcome of your search engine optimisation.