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.

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