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How long you maintain a #1 ranking is sort of irrelevant at the far end of the long tail (i.e. where the number of searches falls to zero), right?
does long tail traffic last longer than other?
In my experience, the answer is generally yes, it's more common for a minor key phrase to stay on top of the SERPs.
As to why that is, here are my guesses: There are few webpages that are really competing with yours, and competing sites aren't likely to fight to hard to beat you in the SERPs on minor terms either.
I was trying to answer the question in the thread title - will traffic last longer. And again I have to reiterate that it depends on what makes the tail long and whether that term is ephemeral or persistent.
Cars - very short tail, worthless unless you're able to rank high and go head to head with Cars.com or Car and Driver or whatever. Unlikely.
Toyota Corolla - still pretty short, probably huge traffic if you can rank, but it's going to be hard to claw your way to the top and hard to stay there
Toyota Corolla Test Drive - longer tail, more persistent ranking, and probably persistent traffic as long as rank holds. Still might be tough.
2003 Toyota Corolla Test Drive - even longer tail, persistent ranking for the term, but traffic plummets when the next redesign comes out. Sure, you still have your ranking, but how much traffic?
Now imagine it's 2021. You still rank #1 for 2003 Toyota Corolla Test Drive - you rock! It looks like you'll rank #1 in Yahoo! Live for that exact search forever. It's totally solid. Nobody is ever going to to touch you. And with good reason. There's no traffic anymore!
Now maybe if you can build off that long tail term and get some rankings for shorter tail terms, then it might help you, but the traffic won't last.
By definition, as you move out the tail, traffic decreases. A long-tail term that has a time or event related component will have its traffic drop to zero.
So I have long tail terms where the things that make the term long will never change. But I have other long tail terms that were related to a given event, and when interest in that event dropped off, traffic disappears. Because it's long tail, it's obscure to begin with. Add to that that the obscure event happened two years ago, and the tail is soooo looooooong that there's not really a tail anymore. You're back to the y axis.
Of course anything (long tail or head terms)for which the public loses interest over time will obviously be searched on less as time passes and therefore yield less traffic over time.
One thing I noticed that they don't have any such thing called "sandbox effect".
In addition, competitive action, algo changes, etc. can still have an effect but are less likely to target long tail searches.
Of the 3 examples that follow is there reason to believe that in the long term 1 of the 3 is more likely to "find favor" with machine/algo - processing?
#1 - Example.com/widgets-green-used-cheapest.htm
#2 - Example.com/widgets/green/used/cheapest
#3 - Example.com/widgets/greed-used-cheapest.htm
Is there reason to believe that a machine might be clunkier when it comes to grasping the "intended meaning" of #2 versus #1?
Just looking at #1 versus #2 it strikes me that the meaning or import of #1 is a bit less "embedded".
Anyone notice any "new site -> speedier ranking" effects by choosing #1, at least "to get started"?
I think, at some point, rational design calls for the "directory approach" but, perhaps at the beginning of a website's life, version #1 might do some good.
Anyone care to disagree?
When I think "long tail" I tend to think "long URIs/URLs"
There's no logical correlation.
rational design calls for the "directory approach"
Yep. Especially if you want a site that's scalable.
perhaps at the beginning of a website's life, version #1 might do some good.
No advantage that I've ever spotted ... and cool URI's don't change so why would you start with something you don't intend to keep?
Note that the general search volume as shown in the google trends graphs semms to constantly shrink over the years for most ordinary search terms (except some highly innovative or trendy terms). For me this has two major reasons:
1) The more competitive the internet becomes, the more searchers have to refine their queries towards two-, three- or more-word-search-phrases.
2) People seem to spend less and less time using search-engines. My children, for instance, spend an frightening lot of time on community-sites like youtube or a relatively new school-children's-community page her. In a few years from now we might be faced with SEs having to announce a dramatic decrease of daily page-visits/search-requests. The question "How long lasts.." HAS to account for this.
> back to the y axis.
Yeah. If you start with googles keyword suggestion tool, competition is quite high from the very beginning. If you start with your content-material (e.g. product data of smaller manufacturers), chances are, noone types in those words. How do you get both match?
Ancillary question about "chasing the longtail": Does one tend to suffer "anchor text erosion" the longer the tail one chases?
For example, I write an article and craft a webpage about "Aftermarket for Cheap Green Widgets in Texas" and use that title as intersite linking anchor text.
Now, everyone interested in my great article may not be so generous when it comes to linking from their site to mine. Ergo, they may craft at link that says "Cheap Green Widgets" or "Texas Widgets" and the competition for those phrases might be a bit more intense.
So, in chasing the longtail can one be the victim of anchor text "weight loss"?
Hope that makes sense. To me, to some degree, IF anchor text matters then it may well be that longer tails may suffer from certain linking side effects.
Thoughts? Maybe "too long a title/target" can work against one?
If the page is well structured so the search engines can clearly discern that its content is about "Aftermarket for Cheap Green Widgets in Texas", then anchor text saying "Cheap Green Widgets" or "Texas Widgets" would support the page just fine.
Maybe I'm missing something but is part of your question Webwork dealing with setting a site up to take advantage of long tail traffic from the start of a site? I ask myself this :
I have a new site and I plan to devote a decent section to cheap green widget and aftermarket accessories. But this isn't going to happen for a year. I know the 5 o'clock news is going to run a story today about the cheap green widget aftermarket in Texas. I'm writing an article now but want it down deeper in my site directory-structure later on. (Most of my long traffic is coming to me from the news...or something similar)
What's the best way for me to build a giant resource an article at a time with a directory-like structure? With a keyword situation (long-tail) that doesn't justify starting the directory now?
RE what makes the tail long and timely topic
>>this phenomenon is not specific to long tail terms. This can be true on head terms as well.
Certainly. I agree with that and wasn't trying to say otherwise. "2008 election" is a shorter-tail term whose traffic will fall precipitously in about 6-8 months. "1956 election" is a longer-tail term whose traffic is probably quite stable.
My point was that if I take a given term, "election", and I want to build pages that go slightly longer-tail, I can try
- "election 2008" which is further out the tail than "election", but the thing that makes it more long-tail than "election" also makes it have less staying power.
- "election reform" is also further out the tail than "election" (and probably further out than "election 2008" although that's irrelevant here), but there's no reason to assume that it will fall off any time soon. So the way you've made it longer tail doesn't hurt its staying power.
- semi-obscure current celebrity gossip article that gets 1000 searches per month
- semi-obscure classic article from a thought leader that gets 1000 searches per month
Both are on the same spot on the tail, but one has traffic that will last, and likely increase as your authority increases. The other will just decline over time.
So that's why I say it's not whether or not something is long tail, it is what is making the tail longer.
As buckie says - a long URL does not necessarily imply a long tail search.
More importantly, and I think this is where people get tripped up a lot, is that a many-term search term is not necessarily a longer tail search than a completely different single-word query.
So back to your example
"Aftermarket for Cheap Green Widgets in Texas" is further out the search tail than "Widgets" or "Texas" but it might still not be as long-tail as "Quatlonikers"
A real-world example:
3 words: microsoft yahoo merger (1m results)
1 word: chênex (55,00 results)
The last one is a village I needed to locate earlier today. Which is longer tail? The latter, though it is only a single-term search.
Long tail is a statistical concept that describes the tail on the curve in a non-normal distribution (that is, in a lopsided bell or, mathematically, a curve where the mean and the median are not identical). An example of a curve with a very long tail is the curve for wealth distribution.
Finally, it's absolutely possible to create a page that by its title and main keywords should be short tail, but if you actually have something unique to say, you may still bring in long-tail traffic because you have combinations on that page that nobody else has. Alternatively, you may have an obscure page on an obscure topic, which for semi-random reasons, brings in the long tail traffic on short-tail topics.
For a while, for example, I had a small but surprising amount of traffic looking for pages on Angelina Jolie. I did not actually have a page about Angelina Jolie, but in a fit of pique complaining about something or other, I dropped her name in some long rant. Despite the fact that the title and snippet in Google showed clearly that the page would not in any way answer the question that the searcher asked, for at least a year I nevertheless got a 100 or so visits a month from people looking for info on Angelina.
Doesn't your longtail traffic usually come first? I mean, for the average site owner who has basic SEO knowledge, they will experience the longtail first. As time passes, then the other more competitive phrases come into play. If I look at it from that perspective, then yes, the longtail traffic lasts longer because it is the first to market and becomes "seated". The more competitive terms are usually volatile and are in constant flux, at the beginning. Again, as time passes, the flux diminishes and you eventually settle into a pattern. That's when the tweaking comes into play.
Longtail traffic is the result of "natural" occurrences. You can probably force long tail terms but I think if you "think" about it too hard, it is going to look forced. Why even fret over the longtail? Isn't it a given for most? And, doesn't the longtail drive the more competitive terms as time passes and you become "established"?
How can you build longtail through other than natural means?
This is where an expertise in statistical distribution is needed.
It doesn't hurt to tell you in general terms.
First is to define your niche. Second is to find the long tail or predict a phrase distribution for this niche. There are thousands of terms in the tail for each popular head. Third is to investigate these terms. You can find some with high frequency of search but lack of sites in the search results. Bingo! How to locate them? Most of them is followed a Zipf distribution and governed by Power law.
Third is to investigate these terms. You can find some with high frequency of search
I have a niche that does well and have looked for more specific topics within it that are searched for more often than others. But you are going into it far more specifically.
OTOH I'm always amazed how many long tail searches come about on what I've already written but never thought of in terms of the long tail.