Screaming About The Search Tail

Over the years, I’ve done many introduction to search marketing sessions where I talk about the value of having good, descriptive pages. Those let you tap into the search tail, the "onesies and twosies" terms, as I’ve called them, that might come up only once in a month. Add all those up, and they can outweigh or be as important as the top terms you deliberately target. Today, I had to chuckle at one particular query that brought us a visitor that illustrates the search tail concept:

why did google have the scream

That was the query that brought one person in from Google. We currently rank around second for it, for this page:

Munch’s Scream As Google Logo

I didn’t deliberately aim to rank well for that query. I didn’t write on the page something like:

Why did Google have The Scream? You might not realize, but today was the birthday of Edvard Munch. To celebrate, Google made its logo similar to his painting The Scream. So if you’re wondering why did Google have The Scream, now you know why did Google have The Scream.

Instead, this was an unanticipated visitor, a visitor using a string of words I didn’t think of. But that’s not a problem. Good textual content, reinforced by good descriptive title using some of the key terms let us tap into that search tail query.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Search Marketing: General | SEO: General | SEO: Writing & Body Copy


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.stonetemple,com/blog Eric Enge

    This observation is especially important in highly competitive markets. You can’t launch a new web site and expect to win on highly competitive terms out of the box.

    But if you have tons of content on your site, and it’s designed to pull in long tail terms, you can get lots and lots of traffic while you are building your campaigns to rank for the more competitive terms.

    Pays the bills!

  • TheMadHat

    This is especially important after you’ve been in the market for some time and have gained a lot of trust. Long tail terms are much easier to rank highly for and can bring in much more traffic than you would expect. In one of my campaigns, long tail terms account for around 55% of all searches, and the conversion rates are much higher.


    We just introduced a new search engine which clusters the Google search results with popular head and long tail as query refinements ( You can read a press release here

    Have you gave it a try?

  • ★ ★ Search Engines WEB ★ ★


    Here is a related Webmaster blog post released by Google, that touches on this very same matter

  • esoomllub

    I find it a struggle to not go overboard with long tail versus big terms. My failings have sometimes been related to this, and concentrating on long tail terms more proportionately than they should be.

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