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In the world of Search Engine Optimization there is a very important term that you may have heard of before called the “long tail” of search, or most likely you’ve heard of it in the context of a ‘long tail keyword’ search phrase.  So what is it?

What Exactly is A Long Tail Keyword, And Why is It Important?

Well, first off it’s important because the last word from the Google boys was that approximately 20% of all keyword queries conducted on a daily basis are keyword searches that have never (ever) been entered into a Google search before.

Please take a moment to digest that.

Literally, 1 out of every 5 searches conducted each and every day is a keyword search query that has never been previously entered into the Google search engine before!  If you take a moment and really think about that statistic, I think you’ll agree it’s pretty amazing.

So Anyway Let’s Define What the Heck a ‘Longtail Search’ is?

As you most likely have guessed, a long tail keyword search is a search query containing multiple words in a string that relates back to a shorter keyword phrase, but more specific.  Example would be the general broad keyword phrase of “plastic surgery” and then the longer tail would be searches for:

  • most common plastic surgery procedures of 2011
  • plastic surgery before and after photos for breast augmentation
  • plastic surgery before after photos in san diego california

Any long string of descriptive words that are used to describe what the Google Search Engine user is looking for.  It’s called the long tail in reference to the increasing distribution of available keywords (along the x axis) and the limited volume available (on the y axis) thus forming a stretched line that emulates a “tail”.

And again, in case you forgot 1 out of every 5 keyword searches conducted each and every day (according to Google) is a long tail search that has literally never been entered into a Google search before.  Pretty amazing, huh?

What Does This Mean?

Anyone familiar with mathematics and Calculus knows that computationally speaking (is computationally a word?) this long tail can theoretically be infinite with hundreds of thousands if not millions of permutations of keywords.  Natural human behavior offers us a huge opportunity to grab A LOT of low hanging fruit in terms of keyword search volume and new patient acquisition.

If 1 out of every 5 search queries conducted on the Google search engine each and every day is a “long tail” keyword search, you better have a long tail SEO optimization strategy.