Chances are you're chasing the wrong tail.

Most search marketers associate search's long tail with large keyword lists that include the lesser-searched phrases, not just those obvious popular phrases that are easier to research and select.

In truth, keywords are only one of many ways to segment target audiences based on what they are truly searching for (their needs). Most important, as advertisers we must understand all the segmentation opportunities that will predict how well searchers will convert and whether these searchers will be good customers (high-value lifetime customers) or not.

I've had the honor of speaking at three major online/SEM (define) conferences this month. Even though the mix of attendees was different at all three conferences, a common concern among participants was they haven't expanded their keyword lists sufficiently to cover the tail. The reality is phrase match and broad match can be used intelligently to capture much of the tail without knocking one's brain out.

Instead of thinking about the tail purely from the perspective of keyword searches that are increasingly rare (infrequently searched), look at additional targeting methods that can slice and dice the traffic in the search distribution head in new ways.

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