By 7 years ago in Search

The long tail gets longer and the head gets bigger

Via the wonderful Hitwise comes news that the head of the long tail, the most popular search terms, is getting larger.

over the last two years there has been a consolidation of the most popular terms. For example, for the 4 weeks ending in the middle of October 2005, 5% of all search volume consisted of 49 terms, but for the same period this year (2007), that number deceased to just 9 terms.

The reason is apparently down to navigational search which has seen a 30% increase in the UK since 2005. More people are searching for a small number of sites such as “ebay” and “amazon” than ever before.

The good news for search marketers targeting non branded search terms is that people are using a much broader array of search terms for their non navigational queries meaning it is easier to rank for high traffic terms.

By Patrick Altoft. at 11:20AM on Monday, 17 Dec 2007

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


  • spenser

    After reading the Hitwise article, it seems to me that the results suggest two things:

    First, it could be a sign of sheer mental laziness. An expectation that someone or something else should take care of our every need.

    Second, that literacy is on the decline, with the general population unable to come up with good descriptions of their search subject. This becomes blindingly obvious when looking at search terms in search engine referrals.

    Maybe a followup headline could be:

    Search, the new DNS.