The death of the long tail and it’s impact on discoverablity (infographic)

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If you don’t know what the long tail is it would be good to read this book. The book written by @chr1sa outlines several important things but has a tremendous impact on Google’s search.

  1. ~1/3rd of searches on Google are terms that had never been seen before.
  2. The last section of the long tail generates a significant amount of revenue for Rhapsody. 30% if memory serves.

Needless to say, I was a little shocked when I saw the infographic at the bottom of this post proclaiming that Google killed the long tail. The standout reasons (for me)  from the data below are Google Instant, Google Places & Location and Large Listings for Official sites. These are all great additions to business search and makes search much more usable and business centric. The thing that interests me is how these things may impact small business and specific products.

I posted about large businesses with products needing SEO as much as small business way back in 2009 and the point was, I may not know that a shoe that meets my needs is a Puma, because I’ve never bought from them. So if people search on “super cool shoes for VERY hip people”; Puma may in fact come up. If the long tail is truly dead and a search occurs (that has far better search terms than mine) the opportunity for discovery thru search could be severely hampered.

So what happens if your a small brick and mortar business with some online presence? Luckily for you, due the increasing amount of mobile searches happening these days, Google will be able to bake location into your search and come up with relevant results. What if your a small online business with no locations? Well . . . I’ m not sure. It will be tough given retailers such as Amazon may offer a compelling product. Hopefully Google will optimize searches with long tail attributes over time. Remember, they just added these search features and Google’s kinda known for optimizing things.

Either way if your a small business you need to expand your online footprint with Google Places, Foursquare, Facebook Business/Places, etc. These have always been a great idea but with these changes, they could prove to be essential.

By Michael Myers

I am an Associate Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I'm currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, biking, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive and/or surf. I'm passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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