Use Your Blog to Attract the Long Tail of Search


Google “chopstick instructions” and the flyte blog ranks right near the top. This despite the fact that we don’t sell chopsticks, Asian cookware or provide instructions on any other eating utensils.

We also get traffic at our blog when people search on:

  • Domain registry support
  • PayPal shipping
  • Treachery of images
  • Online+lead+generation
  • Sexy t-shirts, and
  • National Republican Congressional Committee Leadership Award (You had to be there.)

In fact, in the past six months there were 11,331 unique searches on Google alone that drove traffic to our blog. While the top keyphrase brought 3,227 visits, the next most popular keyphrase brought in only 418 visits. The great majority of keyphrase searches brought only one or two visits each. This majority of less popular searches is often referred to as “The Long Tail,” as coined by Chris Anderson of Wired magazine. [He used it to describe certain business and economic models; learn more at Wikipedia.]

What does this mean to you and your business? Without getting too technical, the argument goes that collectively The Long Tail has more value or market share than the alternative.

In search, this Long Tail can bring more traffic to your site than more popular keyphrases. In addition, many of these Long Tail searches are more specific. For example, “questions to ask before setting up a Web site” or “movie posters translated into French” show that the searcher is further along in the decision making process, and thus a better prospect for you.

While you may be spending a lot of energy writing copy targeting your best prospects and using your most effective keyphrases–in other words, going after the low hanging fruit–you might be missing out on a potentially bigger and better market.

For example, if you’re running a fish market in Portland, Maine, are your customers searching for:

  • Fresh Maine seafood
  • Overnight lobster delivery
  • Things to do in Portland, Maine
  • Swordfish recipes
  • All of the above, or
  • Something else entirely?

No matter how you write your Web site copy, it would be impossible to try all the possible variations that prospects may come up with. However, the nature of a blog makes it easier for you to try out different topics, ideas and page titles to uncover what topics bring in the highest quality traffic.

These posts can later be fleshed out into email newsletters, articles for your Web site, and even new products or services for you to offer. (However, flyte is still not going into the Asian flatware market.)

To make the most of these posts, you still need to write compelling, keyword rich titles. Although the chopstick post was meant to be irreverent–it quoted the poorly translated instructions that promoted the “Chinese glonous history”–I wrote the title to rank well at the search engines: Chopstick Instructions: How to Use Chopsticks.

Maybe next time I’ll write: “Web Site Designers: How to Choose a Web Designer” or “Business Blog Consulting: Advice on Using Your Blog for Marketing.”
In the meantime, start throwing out your own ideas into your blog posts and see what sticks.

Need some blog design or some business blog consulting? We can help.

–Rich Brooks
President, flyte new media