THE LONG TAIL PRINCIPLE
Sell a Few High Demand Items or Lots of Low Demand Items? Understand the Power of the Long Tail Principle
Applied to Keywords.
The graph is a popularity curve. Notice that the area is equal for both of
the shaded areas. For websites, this allows niche websites that target long keywords to be successful.
Here is what you need to know:
The Long Tail Principle: Introduction
The Long Tail Principle has implications for
your website, particularly your keyword selection when doing your Niche Research.
It basically says that the greatest number of people are in the “long tail” of a popularity distribution curve (see
In other words, the Long
Tail Principle says that you can do better by selling a higher quantity of less-popular items instead of
focusing your effortson selling a relatively few very popular items. A book that deals with this topic is
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. The amount of
success that can be had by applying this principle can be seen in the business models of
both Amazon and Netflix.
You can buy everything
at Amazon.com. They have central warehouses scattered across the country. I have personally seen some of them.
They are enormous. Instead of having multiple retail outlets that focus on selling only the most popular items
to people, they sell everything. They sell fewer of each item, but they sell more total items. This is the long
tail in action.
Netflix is similar. The
hometown movie rental store has limited space. The carry only new releases and popular older films. Netflix
carries everything. A video store may rent a new release 100 times, but they only have 100 new releases. Netflix
can carry and rent thousands of videos that may only be rented 10-15 times each. But, by having videos that are
appealing to the margins of the market, they end up renting more and profiting more than the local
Warehousing makes this model viable. Most physical businesses can’t adopt such a strategy apart from the internet.
The logistics are too prohibitive. But, if the decentralizing power of the internet is used, the Long Tail
The Long Tail Principle: Keywords
So, why does this matter for your website?
If you are building a
content-based website, which I recommend, keywords are critical.
Some keywords are searched millions of times a day. To capture
traffic from those millions of people, big companies spend millions of dollars. You can’t compete with them just like mom & pop can’t compete with
In order to take
advantage of the Long Tail Principle, you must tailor your keyword selection toward the tail and be a prolific
writer. If you write an article on a topic that has heavy
competition on the search engines already, you will likely get little or no traffic from it. So, write often, publish lots of valuable content, and focus the content of
each page so that it centers on a marginal keyword.
Fewer people will find that webpage, but some will. If you write a lot
of pages, those people add up to a steady traffic stream. Once you
have a steady traffic stream, you will get more backlinks, more PageRank, hopefully become an authority, and then
be able to rank for more competitive keywords. But, the Long Tail
Principle is key.
The Long Tail Principle: Conclusion
If you ignore the principle, the traffic will likely ignore you. Get
the marginal traffic, especially if you are a new website. Put the
statistics to work for you. Make sure you understand both this and
Pareto's Principle Websites as you are starting your online venture, and you will likely have
realistic expectations and achieve your
To tap into the long tail,
however, you need keyword tools. You can use any of the ones on this Free Online Keyword Tools List. I personally use and highly recommend the versatile
Keyword Elite 2.0 for your keyword
Next up: Website Monetization.
Copyright © 2010, Issachar Knowledge, LLC: The Long Tail