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Google: A Year in Search 2017

     
12:20 pm on Dec 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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At this time of year Google gives a summary of the types of searches that were trending in the last twelve months. I guess the "how to" searches are from voice search, and that's a useful thing to know when developing sites.

Here the top trending in 2017, global and by region, and some are no surprise at all. Use the up/down arrows to switch from global to countries.
Google - a year in Search 2017

Of course, what we'd love is a long tail on those, eh! :)
4:10 am on Jan 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Of course, what we'd love is a long tail on those, eh! :)

What?
A long tail?
Do you know what long tail means?
These terms are by definition the exact opposite of a long tail, these are in the head or the belly of the distribution.

Again, for the millionth time...
The term long tail has nothing to do with the with length of the search query. In fact long tail refer to the shape of the statistical distribution and can apply to anything not just search terms. It means a term, any term, of any length, that appears infrequently. If you plot the terms by frequency of appearance in search you will get a few terms that appear very often, some more that appear often, and then very many the rarely appear and finally a huge number that may appear only once or twice. It is this huge number that constitute the long tail, as it is long and thin and looks like a tail when plotted.

There is an unfortunate coincidence in that as a search term increases in the number of words it contains its probability of being found in the tail of the distribution increases. So in the "SEO" world many people tend to use the term long-tail to refer to the length of the search term, but this is wrong, as an increased probability is not the same as saying all long search terms will be long tail terms.

I find it incredibly ironic that "long tail" was used to described the search terms in this video, given that the video outlines the "top trending terms or 2017" these are exactly NOT long tail search terms.

Sorry for the rant.
4:01 pm on Jan 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You have to chop off the end of the tail for the distribution curve to fit on the screen.
11:26 am on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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lol, yeah, what I mean is, wouldn't it be great if we could get something more in depth than these broad terms. It's a resource Google wouldn't ever release, even if paid for, so it was wishful thinking.
4:01 pm on Jan 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Well said NickMNS

The term long tail has nothing to do with the with length of the search query. In fact long tail refer to the shape of the statistical distribution and can apply to anything not just search terms. It means a term, any term, of any length, that appears infrequently. If you plot the terms by frequency of appearance in search you will get a few terms that appear very often, some more that appear often, and then very many the rarely appear and finally a huge number that may appear only once or twice. It is this huge number that constitute the long tail, as it is long and thin and looks like a tail when plotted.