Insight & expertise

Why Optimising for the Long Tail of Search Is so Important for Ecommerce Websites

By Unknown, blog post 21/06/2009

When millions and millions of searches are performed each day its probably surprising to find that 85% of the search terms entered in the search engines are unique. These unique search terms are gold for ecommerce websites and good optimisation will target the broad range of unique searches as well as the shorter more popular terms. The aim of a long tail search engine optimisation strategy is to increase conversions by being in front of visitors at the point they are ready to buy.

How Consumer Search Behaviour Works

Let’s take the example of Jason who wants to buy a lawn mower and consider his search behaviour as an average online consumer. First Jason might search for “lawn mowers” to research the options that are available. “Lawn mowers” is a popular search term and it would be great to hold that number 1 position for that search term but its most likely that Jason is not ready to buy yet, he is just researching. He won’t just look at one website, he will look at at least 2 or three sites and he’s looking to gather information in order to refine his search.

His next search might be to add another word to his search such as “electric lawn mower” or “petrol lawn mower” and he may be looking for reviews at this point. More and more consumers are turning to user-generated content in the form of reviews and recommendations in order to inform their decisions. Jason’s research leads him to favour a particular brand and so his search term becomes “Qualcast electric lawn mower” so that he can consider the different models and which would best suit his needs.

The final stage of Jason’s search is when he has decided exactly which model he wants and this is the most important search because now he is ready to buy. His search term is “Qualcast Suffolk Punch electric lawn mower”, this is a long tail search because it contains more than 3 words and is not a popular search term that is used often – it is gold to the supplier who comes top of the search engines for this term at the point Jason wants to buy.

Think about your own search behaviour, isn’t this fairly typical of what you do yourself?

Steps You Can Take to Optimise for the Long Tail:

As a site owner, whether you have an ecommerce website or a brochure site you can benefit from your long tail visitors. Your ecommerce sites should have every level of pages optimised including the deep product pages – ensure you have a mix of specific and generic search terms and that your titles and descriptions are unique. On-page descriptions should also be meaty and interesting with lots of relevant information and benefits and of course a competitive price.

At Strategy we research the “money phrases” for your site because this is where you will make most money. We want to get you increased traffic at every level of your site and above all increased conversions – check out our Pay-Per-Results Search Engine Optimisation Services which include usability studies to increase sales.