Long Tail Search

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Long tail search. Not a phrase you hear every day. Likely a phrase you never heard. But wait. Before you decide to divest yourself from this “nonsense” I ask you to stick with me for just a few.

Trust me. You need to understand what this means.

Long Tail Search

Remember the 80 /20 rule? Well it applies in search as well. And here’s how it works. 80% of search results are from 20% of the focus keywords entered into search (please read Focus Key Words to learn about this important term).

Though the 80/20 split is not exact, the theory still applies.  To understand what I mean let’s look at a chart. And maybe some 7th grade math?

Seeing Is Believing

The following chart is courtesy of Forbes.com.  Kindly take a look,  then meet me down below to talk further.

long tail search

Hello! Over Here!

Welcome back. What this chart shows is for the example search “law firm” it is highly competitive. Most law firms are going to call themselves “law firm” and hope to be found in search.

Problem is they are competing with every other law firm. Good luck. So in this first example the focus keywords are too broadly defined. As a result competition is high.

Move to the right a little further on the chart and law firm is more narrowly defined to “Utah law firm.”  Less competitive. Not every law firm is in Utah. So less competition and likely easier to be found. But and with a big but, fewer people are searching for that term versus the broad term “law firm.”

Move further to the right and the search term is ultra-defined to “how do I hire a law firm in Utah.” Less competition for sure. But and once again a big but, you are exposing yourself to less users entering that term in search.

So The Answer Is

What do they say, the truth is always somewhere in the middle. Citing the above example, a  typical law firm is likely ill-served defining themselves purely as a “law firm.” And likely too much of a niche to use “how do I hire a law firm in Utah.” Odds are they need to be somewhere in the middle.

If you are a small law firm, who happens to be based in Utah, then you may only want to pull from Utah residents. Or perhaps the Salt Lake area. How do you accomplish that? Simple, move further down the long tail search chart.


The web is global we know that. Some websites have and need a global reach. And also the staff and resources to compete on the left side of the scale.

Others will fall in the middle, while the majority of websites fall to the right. Where the long tail search is far less competitive, just a bit harder to be found.

To learn more about refining search, please read Google Search Trends, What Is It.