Why Google is killing the long tailFebruary 28, 2012 8:53 pm Organic Search
The long tail: the ability to get your website pages visible in Google organic results when a fairly ‘niche’ phrase is typed.
Why the long tail is important: Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is going to get increasingly costly for businesses. Being visible in organic search results for various phrases helps to cut down costs. If you can be visible in organic listings for the phrase ‘red metal widgets with spots’ for free, even though levels of traffic may not be high, it may still gain you some traffic. Multiply that up by numerous ‘long tail’ keyword phrases and you get lots of free traffic to your website from organic listings.
The long tail doesn’t benefit Google because it allows companies to become visible in search results for free. This means that those companies don’t have to use PPC advertising at all, or as much.
As I bore even myself repeating over and over: Google is always going to do whatever it needs to in order to keep gaining increasing revenues from PPC advertising. Quite simply, it is dead without companies who pay for PPC adverts.
Over time, but seemingly gathering pace, Google has been introducing little tweaks to the way it works, which helps to stop people from capitalising on being visible for ‘long tail’ phrases. As examples, this can be the way it shows suggested results with Google Instant, to how it displays PPC listings so that they’re much more visible than they ever have been before, to how it hides keyword phrases from website analytics systems, with the exception of Adwords advertisers.
There’s a nice infographic on this subject, which can explain it a lot better than I can, which you can see at http://www.stateofsearch.com/google-killed-the-long-tail/. I don’t suggest trying to absorb it all – just be aware that bit by bit, Google is going to reduce your ability to be visible in search results when ‘long tail’ phrases are typed.
Notice that I say ‘search results’. This doesn’t just apply to organic Google listings but also to PPC listings too – for some time now Google has been ‘playing God’ and stopping advertisers from using more ‘niche’ phrases within their PPC campaigns, purely to make advertisers pay for visibility under a more generic search phrase.
Perhaps though there’s an opportunity here for other search systems such as Bing.com. If they allowed companies to become more visible in their organic results, under more long tail phrases, then those companies would be happier to use Bing, especially when they see (from their webstats) that they’re getting traffic from Bing. Then Bing can upsell some of them to their form of PPC advertising (or whatever else).
It never fails to stun me as to how blinkered Google are. They really do think they’re untouchable and have no concept that they’re gradually poisoning themselves.