The term ‘long tail’ comes from the shape of a line chart that reflects the habits of groups of people when searching or buying.
Here’s an example – books people buy. The most popular books sell the most, and less popular books don’t sell as much, but there are many more less-popular books than popular books.
The quantity of books sold in the long tail adds up to more than the best sellers peak at the left.
The long tail concept is used often when analysing website visitor statistics, especially what words people used to search for something before they land on your website.
In search, the long tail tends to contain more specifics, targeting niche subjects, which generally means more targeted or qualified leads landing on your website. The generic searches can be a hard sell.
Imagine you’re selling websites on the internet (I have some experience at this). A lot of people will do general searched like ‘websites’ or ‘website design’, but there will be a lot of more specific searches, such as ‘how do I get a website that works’ or ‘the biggest website designer on the sunshine coast’.
At the end of the day, all of the specific searched added together will amount to more than the more generic searches. In addition, because the people are using more specific keywords, they are more likely to know what they are looking for, and therefore be more likely to convert into a sale.
Have a look at your business and consider how you can more effectively market to the long tail.