The long tail of organic search…

Over the last little while I have doubled down my efforts to make sure that everything is in order with all the different websites that I operate in my spare time. Whether it is my most popular property – The New Paperclip… or some of my newer projects about the Zoom H4n or Yammer.

As part of the process I have been focusing on the basics. For example, getting into Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster tools to ensure that my content is actually being indexed. I haven’t really spent much time in Google Webmaster Tools – I usually just focus on the stats available via Google Analytics.

Something struck me when I was looking at the search queries for The New Paperclip. Most of us would be familiar with the idea of the “Long Tail”. In the context of the web usually we talk about the Long Tail of content – you may have just one or two pages on a blog responsible for a big chunk of traffic, whilst the other 80% of your traffic comes from the other 300 posts you made.

This is pretty much how the traffic flows on The New Paperclip. I get a lot of traffic from people searching for how to create a signature in Outlook, how to Center Across Selection in Excel, how to set up PowerPoint to use A4 sized slides, or how to change line spacing in Word. All of those search queries had appeared many times, and had multiple clicks from the search engine.


Here is the really interesting thing though. Of the 2367 unique search queries typed into Google where The New Paperclip was displayed as a search result… only 34 had resulted in more than one click. About 1500 more clicks were from unique search queries.

The lesson here? Targeting one key word or one search phrase in your content could have a negative impact on how discoverable your long tail is. Focus on good content that is easy to read for humans (not search engines), cover a lot of the different angles, add a few more sentences than you might think are necessary to ensure you explain the concepts you are trying to communicate… and chances are you will see more from the organic search long tail.

One week in with my new toy – the Zoom H4n

(Long time, no post!)

As some of you will know I am doing some research at QUT, and it has come to the time to do data collection.  I’m no Quant (I pretty much scraped through maths in high school) – so my study into how people use technology to manage their boundaries between work and life is qualitative.  Using interviews to collect data is the usual fair in qualitative studies.  As I need to do 30 interviews, and that could potentially mean 30 hours or more of vivid, deep stories from the research participants, I needed to get a hold of some kind of voice recorder.  Enter my new friend – the Zoom H4n.

WP_20140701_005I bought it from Amazon when I was in Seattle the other week for work.  I may have ordered a few more accessories for it (a couple of microphones, some XLR cables etc) as I am keen to dabble in a bit of podcasting with it as well.  It has already got a workout.  Earlier in the week it was used at work to record a new voice over for a piece of video we plan to use for an upcoming event.  I used it for as the voice recorder for my first few qualitative research interviews.  And yesterday we had a live all hands video conference, where the Zoom H4n and my microphone were put to good use capturing some high quality audio to lay over the PowerPoint presentation for consumption later.

I always thought that you could get away with recording audio on a mobile, or using the built in microphone on a laptop – it was always good enough to Unlock iPhone 6 .  But I have quickly come to realise this week that there is a big difference between “good enough” and “really easy to listen to” audio.  I love it so much I have started to build an online shrine to the Zoom H4n Voice Recorder.  If you have a few different needs for an audio recorder you should definitely check it out!