What is the "Long Tail"?
A good way to understand the long tail is take a look at this graph.
In the above graph, we can think of the area under the curve as being the entire collection of classic cars. However, as we move further out on the curve we move out onto the "tail" of the curve. The long tail is the thinking that the curve moves out until there is simple one item left - a unique item.
Google is a master at delivering information that is out on the long tail. This is the essence of Google's business. This means Google will find your business if you set it up will with proper search engine optimization. Google provides the long tail to the people of the world that connect to the Internet. Google can bring anyone, no matter where they may be located, information about your business.
In the distant past, before Google, it would have been very difficult for an individual to find that unique classic car. The car may exist in California and the individual looking for that car may exist in eastern Canada.
It would have been very challenging for the person in Canada to gain knowledge of the car in California. This person could easily miss the opportunity to find this special car - this unique car.
Today, if the owner of the unique classic car in California puts the car on the Internet then an individual anywhere in the world (with access to the Internet and Google) can gain knowledge of this car.
The first drawback is that the books had to be organized in some fashion. It meant that someone (or a group of people) had to define categories and the categories had to be logical. As our body of knowledge expanded and more books were published sub-categories were formed within categories and then sub-sub-categories had to be established as books on more and more topics were written. This system became cumbersome as our collective body of knowledge expanded.
Google has made the long tail of products, services and information available to us.
Let's consider another example of how Google is the best instrument developed to date - in the history of man - for finding something. Think of the Internet as a huge pile of disorganized items.
There is no organizational structure to this pile of stuff. How would anyone find anything? It would be extremely difficult without Google.
Over a century ago (in 1876 to be exact - source Wikipedia - reference found in 0.12 seconds using Google), Melvil Dewey developed a system for organizing the books in a library. It is called the Dewey Decimal System. Each book was put into a category and assigned a number. It was then placed in the library - in a specific section - on a specific shelf - in a specific position on that shelf. If we wanted that book we would go to the card catalog and learn first that the book existed and the card catalog would tell us where to find that specific book. This system worked well but had some drawbacks.
The second drawback was that if a book was put in the wrong place - say in the next aisle - it was effectively lost. It existed but we would not be able to find it. The only real chance the librarian had of finding that lost book was to stumble across it.
Google needs no hierarchical structure to find and deliver things. Google makes sense of the pile of disorganized information and does so quickly. Google has enabled the long tail.
How do you take advantage of this if you are a business owner?
You make sure that you are known by Google. You make sure that Google thinks highly of your information whether it be a product description, your website or your blog. If Google knows your information and thinks highly of it then when someone searches using a specific keyword phrase related to your information Google places your material at or near the top of the list of items displayed to the searcher.
You want Google to display your product or website or blog at the very moment in time when someone is searching for this information. It is the best form of advertisement yet developed. Imagine being presented at the exact moment when someone is looking for you.
A newspaper or magazine ad cannot do this. A radio or TV ad cannot do this a direct mail flyer cannot do this and a billboard cannot do this. SPAM e-mails cannot do this.
The Internet and Google can do this.
- Consider where you should be on the curve with your products or services. Becoming a bit more specialized may help your position.
- Do not place yourself so far out on the curve that there are very few people searching for you.
- Set your position on the curve so that when people search for you and find you they know that they have found what they are searching for.
- Select a set of keyword phases that matches your desired position on the curve.
- Optimize your website and your back links for these keywords.
- Design your website, blog or other online materials to have a message that is compelling for people searching this part of the curve.
- Design an offer and call to action that relates strongly to people searching this part of the curve.
- Monitor results and be willing to make adjustments to your position on the curve, your keyword set, your message, offer and call to action.
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that are keyword-based and embedded in paragraphs with text related to your
business then give us a call.
We will be happy to discuss how linking can help boost up your position in the
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Printable Version: Long Tail Economics - the Essence of Google (PDF).