Slogging For The Long Tail

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of the Wired magazine, introduced the notion of the Long Tail in a book that appeared last year.

He suggested that most markets were not mass markets where customers largely had similar tastes. In a mass market, if you did a distribution pattern of customer preferences, you would find them all grouped together in those bell curves that sociologists love to talk about. Instead he suggested that many markets had consumers whose tastes varied widely with no clear groupings. He likened this to the long tail of a statistical distribution as shown below.

Another way of thinking about this is that the market is made up of very many micro-markets, each with different tastes. The way microbrewers survive and grow by supplying their own specific niches is often quoted as an example of this.
Long Tail

Anyone who has looked at the visitor traffic to most business websites can confirm this long tail phenomenon. Visitors coming via search engines are looking for all kinds of keyword variants. It is often said that Google is particularly useful in helping all these different visitors in the long tail to find exactly what they’re looking for. Indeed there’s even a variant of the Google search engine that is specifically designed to help these long tail searches.

If you’re selling something where your prospects are on the long tail, how can you ensure your website gets on to their radar screens. One important tool here is a business blog. As Lee Odden has pointed out, there are many SEO (search engine optimization) benefits with blogs. The nature of a blog, which creates many inter-related web pages, is particularly visible for these long tail searches.

One way is to make that blog a seamless and integral part of your website in what has been called a Slog. If you’re looking for those rare customers that are to be found out on that long tail, then slogging may well be your best approach.

Related: Slogging For Luxury Villas

6 thoughts on “Slogging For The Long Tail”

  1. Great info Barry. I’ve never heard of a slog and I visit SEOmoz often. Indeed these are excellent ways to catch the long tail. Using blogs in whatever form is a great way to also create micro sites, another way to catch the long tail community.

  2. Thanks for visiting, David. I’m hoping the word ‘slog’ will bring added visibility to business blogging and bring to mind what I believe is the most effective way of doing it.

  3. Like David, this is the first place I’ve heard of a ‘slog’ but it makes perfect sense in the context of the Long Tail.

    Chris Anderson makes the case that the Long Tail will give rise to more content aggregators whose purpose is to expose people to content farther down the Tail (and farther into obscurity). Splogging (mixing blogs with social networking) seems like a natural way to do this…

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