The Long Tail

Keep up with the very latest developments in the digital marketing world

By Guy Levine
on 29/8/08

Naturally I read a fair bit about SEO and internet marketing. Most, particulary what relates to SEO falls into three categories, it's either:

  • So fanicful it makes the Disney film Enchanted look autobiographical
  • Confusing, does the writer even understanding what they're saying let alone the reader
  • Plain incorrect

There's quite a bit I read about SEO, even popular stuff, that either comes with an agenda, makes wildly incorrect statements or covers a lack of knowledge by using confusing names that neither the reader or author seem to understand. Some things alarm me, it's not unusual for me when speaking with a potential client to have to reinvent the light bulb by debugging their knowledge of SEO which in some cases can be nonsense. To be honest it's people like me, that is SEO's, who take the brunt of that responsibility. You here something said enough times, you think it must be true.

What I keep hearing most frequently is that Long Tail Optimisation is always, that's without fail, the way to go. If someone had given me a pound, or even a dollar, for every time I heard this I wouldn't be writing this right now. SEO's have really caught the Long Tail bug haven't they? It's not hard to think why that is?

Don't get me wrong, I love the Long Tail, for several reasons the most important being that it actually simplifies SEO and it used to debunk the very thing I'm pointing out. However it's now come full circle. Long Tail Strategies can often be the most effective strategy in not just SEO but also Internet Marketing, however if you read that statement the truth of it is in the word can and although vital in most cases (not all!) is not always the most effective strategy. I read a post in one of my favourite networking sites recently that made it sound like the first law of SEO is always long tail. Like I say often it is, but is not always the case. Ultimately it depends on many factors including who your market is, the reach, size and other details of a company.

If your new to our blog then let me introduce you to my number one rule, that is if you get the keywords wrong then you get the whole project wrong, if not it's always good to hear it repeated and I don't apologise for that. We're currently building up quite a reputation for fixing messes, quite often the Long Tail is the root of this problem, I wonder if most of the problems with SEO nowadays stem from all we hear about the Long Tail. On several projects that have come in, in the last few weeks our research has told us that Long Tail keywords are not the most commercially viable to use in particular circumstances, this is not just one or two either. Issues with the Long Tail, stem from a poor understanding of what Long Tail actually means and how what it applies. I'm not going to repeat what others more qualified have said, an excellent article on the subject which is transparently clear is here, I highly recommend you read it.