Keywords: The “Long Tail”

What keywords do people really search on? There are lots of sources: Word Tracker, Google’s Adwords suggestion tool, Overture’s suggestion tool, and others. Each of these has problems, though: Word Tracker comes from an unnamed engine, but not likely one of Google, Yahoo or MSN, so it is not representative necessarily of all internet searches. The PPC suggestion tools have their quirks too: for example, Overture has a cutoff point of 25 searches per month. If a term is below this number, they won’t show the term and its number of searches.
Chris Sherman has an interesting comment related to choosing terms in a post about Searcher Behavior:
>>This suggests searchers aren’t only loyal, they’re increasingly going out on the long tail, using lengthier queries. For search marketers, this means if you’re not targeting both simple keywords and lengthier keyword-rich phrases, you’re likely missing out on a significant amount of traffic that simply wasn’t there a few years ago.
Implication: when using one of the search suggestion tools, you need to be aware of what they do and don’t give you. There’s no substitute for looking at your log files and using your own intuition to add terms that may be a part of the “long tail.”
For example, on a current project, key modifiers include “buy”, “Purchase”, “map” and “tickets”. (The client is a travel company). When putting together terms, set up a grid of your core terms, and also of modifier terms.

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