Fat head, chunky middle or long tail - get your keyword search aim right.
Poster in CPUT Research Day. 4 December. Cape Town, South Africa.
Weideman, M. 2009. Fat head, chunky middle or long tail - get your keyword search aim right. Poster in CPUT Research Day. 4 December. Cape Town, South Africa. Online: http://web-visibility.co.za/website-visibility-digital-library-seo/
Any website with commercial intent has a motive to appear high up in search engine rankings for certain keywords. This website needs to be visible to crawlers, and much research has been done on the factors influencing this visibility. The correct use of weight-carrying keywords inside webpage content can lead to accurate matching with searchers' queries, which could result in these high rankings.
Popular keyphrases (often short, even single words) generate the "head" of search results - large numbers of clicks producing potential for large income from sales. Less popular, often much longer keyphrases generate fewer clicks, but are much more focussed and could produce better results - the "tail" of search. This project seeks to determine the current status quo of the choice marketers have to make - whether to concentrate on the thick head, the chunky middle or the long tail of search.
A literature survey has confirmed that those searches producing most traffic are the very common, very short keyword searches. Generally speaking, longer keyphrases produce fewer hits. However, these hits "go on" for much longer, producing an estimated 75% of all hits. The tendency has been to focus financial outlay in marketing campaigns on those short, high-traffic searches. However, it was claimed that around 20% of all searches on Google per month are brand new - keyword combinations never searched for before. These new searches are longer, less often used but focussed searches.
In conclusion, it is proposed that the two main traffic-generating systems should be focussed separately. Pay per click should be applied to non-branded and generic searches (the long tail), while SEO resources should be focussed on optimising a webpage for branded searches (the thick head). This approach will cover both extremes of the search spectrum.
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