Demystifying the Long Tail

Use this simple strategy to precisely target your ideal Internet audience.

Understanding the concept of the long tail and how it relates to article marketing is key to your article marketing success. By focusing your writing efforts on very succinct and specific subjects within your niche, your ability to put your articles in front of highly-targeted readers and then motivate them to action increases dramatically.

The statistical phenomenon of long tail distribution isn’t very complex – nor is figuring out the best way to capitalize on it. What is difficult for many Expert Authors to grasp is the counter-intuitive nature of the strategy. How can writing for a smaller audience actually increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your articles and the conversion rate of those who visit your site? To many, it sounds like total nonsense.

In this short video, I’ll talk you through the long tail concept and show you how to use it now to turbocharge your next set of original articles.

Downloadable Versions:
WMV Format     MOV Format     MV4 Format     MP3 Format

This video is also available on our YouTube Channel. If you’re more of a reader than a watcher, then download this PDF version [316KB] of the video instead. Please note, however, that the concept is much easier to understand in video form than as text.

Finding the Long Tail in Your Niche:

So how do you find the phrases people are typing into the search engines for your particular niche? One of the best ways is by pretending to be your target audience. Invest some time typing search queries for what you’re trying to promote. Then refine those queries over and over until you identify those that generate search result quantities that are representative of the long tail. You can also use research tools like these:

  1. Wordtracker – Generates words and phrases for search engine and website optimization.
  2. Keyword Discovery – Compiles search stats from worldwide search engines.
  3. Goodkeywords: Downloadable freeware that queries a number of popular search engines to identify good words and phrases.
  4. Google Alerts – Email updates of the latest relevant Google results based on your choice of topic, words or phrases.
  5. Google Suggest – As you type in a search querie, Google offers suggestions and shows the number of results.
    • Example: “Weight Loss for Men” when entered into Google Suggest tells me that I should write articles about “Weight Loss for Men Over [a certain age]” or for women and men combined.

Now take what you’ve learned and put it to good use today by writing a fresh set of articles based on this strategy. Then keep an eye on your Article Reports over the next few months – you should see a considerable increase in readership and CTR for those particular articles.

Leave a comment if you’re still a little fuzzy on the whole long tail concept. Better still, stop back here in a few months and share your success stories with the rest of us. We look forward to hearing them!


tenovjkt writes:

nice tips! well done!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:21 AM


james writes:

Thanks for the video. It was very informational, like you said!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:34 AM


John Chablo writes:

Great explanation! I’ll give it a go!


John Chablo
Internet Marketer

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:37 AM


Dave Perris writes:

Very clear explanation of something I’d heard of but didn’t understand, thanks.
My, you have a large monitor!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:42 AM


Matt writes:

Thanks for the information, I have not yet concentrated on building 20+ articles for a niche, but am taking part in the one hundred article challenge and as such am planning like crazy with material to keep me occupied!

The proposed activity certainly would serve to provide a full overview and demonstrate an individuals knowledge in a particular area more than if they just focused on the niche. The general market talk is equally important.

Many thanks for the video it has certainly provoked some thought.


Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:44 AM


Jonas writes:

Thanks for the video Marc!

There’s one request that I think a LOT of article writers will share with me that I absolutely must mention here.

The limit of a maximum keyword length of 5 in the resource box is just not enough anymore.

You KNOW why we use EzineArticles.. it’s to get exposure and to get backlinks. And the whole long-tail keyword concept is just completely ruined by the 5 word maximum limit.

I propose a 8 word limit.

I would really be interested to hear what you guys think of this?

Thanks for the great articles and videos!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:47 AM



We stopped talking about the back-link value of EzineArticles in 2005.

My gut feeling is the back-link value from the 2nd tier sites that syndicate your articles from EzineArticles is WAY more valuable than a backlink from us directly.

Our value proposition is that we deliver high-value pre-qualified TRAFFIC/Visitors back to your website for free in exchange for your quality original article submissions.

We have no plans at this time to expand the current 3 word limit on anchored text links in articles under 400 words or 5 words in articles over 400 words.

For additional reading on this issue:
Anchor Text Rule Based on Word Count


Jonas writes:


Thank you very much for personally replying.

I also want to say that I completely agree with you and the redistribution of articles is really what makes your own site begin to carry some authority after a while.

The traffic has been fantastic that I get from EzineArticles and so I will always keep submitting!

Much appreciated!


------------- writes:

You are so right about the re-distribution!

That is what really empowers your article!

Hey Marc! When is EzineArticles going to get some decent RSS Feed structures in place!
It would make article syndication so much easier!


Lorraine Craymer writes:

You make an excellent point on the longtail – however – as you and all of your authors probably know, the most effective way to use the longtail – or any other keyword for that matter would be as a text link –
So will you consider allowing more words in the link? the current limit of three words make this strategy just about impossible to execute

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:54 AM



Allowing more words in an anchored text link is completely unrelated to the concept of writing articles that attract the long-tail distribution of user demand.

That said, you can have up to 5 words in your anchored text link if your article is 400 words or greater. If your article is <400 words, 3 words is the max allowed and that most likely will never change.


Jules writes:

Nice video,

now let’s put that in to practice :-)



Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 10:57 AM


Jim Burney writes:


I thought my understanding of long tail key phrases was complete.
It is now.
Thanks for the clear explanation.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 11:07 AM


Dave Whitworth writes:

As they say. ‘When the student is ready, the master will come’.
I have a note to myself about long tail keywords and the need to explore further.

You have just given me the push I needed. Thanks!

Keep Moving
Dave W

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 11:14 AM


Jo Guerra writes:

Thanks for this great explanation. Great information summarized for everyone to understand.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 11:49 AM


Joe Pierce writes:

Easy to understand explanation and right on target to get more traffic.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 11:59 AM


Alfred Trabulsi writes:

Great advice, just this morning I was wondering about how many keywords would be the optimal for an article.


Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:08 PM


Denis Bromell writes:

It makes life so much easier when explanations are easy to understand thanks for the tips.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:15 PM


Angela Wills writes:

I use long tail keyword marketing for pretty much all the online marketing I do including blogging, article marketing, email marketing, video marketing, etc and it is definitely worth the time invested.

Only recently have I been getting consistent with submitting EzineArticles though and I see my traffic growing month after month due to this targeting – which is very exciting!

Great informative post on getting the most out of every article you write.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:17 PM


Ed writes:

This is pure gold and a shining example as to why video tutorials are the future!

Thanks for that high quality info….Ed.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:19 PM


Tamara writes:

Nicely done. Helpful information. Clear and concise presentation.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:19 PM


------------- writes:

Thanks for that Marc. You have just about summed up the value of long tail keywords to all those who didn’t know they were typing them.
I really liked your statistical analogy. This is something we have been teaching on our blog for many a year. We have taken this one step further and defined logical structures for long tail keyword search terms.

There’s three things I can tell your writers about getting long tailed keyword articles to No.1 on Google
(That sounds like an article title!)
(and we’ve had many!)
and and they are….
Know your subject inside out
Write Quality!
Write something different that adds value!

it’s not about quantity!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:28 PM


Mike writes:

This was a great video, Marc, and very well done with great info. Thanks!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:35 PM



Great explanation about long tail key words. Am going to start using it in my articles. Thanks

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:38 PM


Chris Sier writes:

I find your messages extremely useful. In this one, however, not knowing what a long tail is, or if I knew the concept under another name, a short explanation of what it is would be helpful.

I am sure it is explained well in the video. However, I could make a decision on whether I need to watch it if there was a short definition in the beginning paragraph.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:38 PM


Sandie Barrie writes:

Great Ideas! like specifics that can make a difference.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:41 PM


Pocket4s writes:

Great advice, it always helps to be reminded of the basics.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:43 PM


Prieur writes:

Nice video, short, clear and not to quick for foreigners to understand.

Thz speaker is cool, serious and looks convinced. So he conviced me to work not to be lazy.

Thank you so much


Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:46 PM


Zahid Zaheer writes:

Sure the information is worth practicing. I’ll use the Long Tail keywords strategy in my next articles.

Thank Marc for this nice advice!


Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:51 PM


Baruwa writes:

Great article tips and tricks!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:55 PM


Robert L. Bacon writes:

Great info. Wish I’d had it a long time ago.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 12:56 PM


DJ Morris writes:

Thanks, that explained and cleared up a few things for me for sure!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 1:02 PM


byron writes:


this is something new to me

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 1:26 PM


Nelida Kreer writes:

Excellent video, outstanding motivational presentation. You certainly drove your point home. I have been more than a little remiss lately with my article-writing, this sort of gave me a push to face that blank page again…I totally share the view to address a particular niche within the target audience. The larger audience will latch on soon enough, if what you have to offer is worth their while. Thank you for sharing.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 1:43 PM


Aurana writes:

Thanks for that. With the increase in competition everyone is saying to use long tails. Your video confirms this.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 1:43 PM


------------- writes:

Just another thought for your writers Marc.
The great thing about is that it’s rules actually encourage the use of long tail keywords in the writing.
For example, if I was to populate an article with a spammy keyword , say ‘mortgages’ – the article will more often than not be rejected , and rightly so.

However, if I was to do what is called ‘functionally decompose’ or chunk down ‘mortgages’ into the next logical level or middle long tail, I would arrive at long tail qualifiers such as Cheap, Secure, First time etc etc , produce better niche focused content, and still get my mortgage keyword in the text without penalty!

This proves EzineArticles’ quality controls are working and helping to produce better writers !!

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM


Thanks for noticing and pointing that fact out to others. :-)

Often our guidelines are perceived as either restrictive or self-serving, when in fact they’re designed to produce a win-win for everybody. It’s gratifying to see authors like yourself recognizing the benefits.


Terri writes:

Funny you mention weight loss since that is the industry I am in. Can’t even say its a niche, I guess.

So, I appreciate the video and tips and will start to change the way I write articles.

Thanks very much!


Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 3:15 PM



I am still new to this, but if I am not mistaken, the Google searches you demonstrated in the video were
attempts by Google to find those phrases in the TITLES of EzineArticles. I can think of at least three other places
within an Ezine article an author might want to place those phrases. They could be placed in the BODY, the SUMMARY or in the KEYWORDS area (By the way, I always wondered if the KEYWORD area is for single words only or are phrases OK too?).

My point is that if I am right about Google only searching the TITLE, then it’s seems worthy to point out that your long tail keyword phrase can obviously not be more than 100 characters. But more importantly, what to do with the rest of the title space if your long tail keyword phrase is LESS than 100 characters.

Since this is such prime real estate when it comes to the search engines, would it be wise to try and combine two keyword phrases together in order to make good use of all 100 characters. This is provided of course that you can combine both phrases together in a coherent way and so that the title makes sense.

I was also wondering if the order of the words within the long tail phrase makes a difference to the search engines like Google. I am not sure, but I think it does. If that’s the case, then it would seem prudent to use some kind of keyword tracking tool to discover which are the most popular (exact) phrases being used, which contain the words in your long tail.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 4:08 PM



1) You can include keywords and keyphrases both in the KEYWORDS field.

2) Yes, I often recommend using both a PRIMARY hook keyword or keyphrase in your article title and a SECONDARY keyword or keyphrase in your title. Can’t hurt and can only help to increase the relevancy of your readership. Could reduce your volume though of traffic and therefore clicks, but ultimately you’ve got to make peace with whether you want a high volume of broad targeted visitors vs. a low volume of highly targeted visitors. Most want somewhere in the middle.

3) I believe the order is important, yet I have no proof.



I agree, it’s easier to rank for long tail phrases especially at the beginning when a blog or presence is just being established.

@Joseph D. Shiller – set up a google alert for particular phrases and that way you can test where google is looking.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 4:25 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

I use Long Tail theory in choosing keywords. I do not attempt to compete for the top keywords ever, although they will appear in my articles, and sometimes in the keyword form during submission to this directory. My average is 450 article views here per article, with 9 million article views so far. As far as I am concerned this is a winner strategy. Thanks Marc for the excellent explanation.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 4:57 PM



Excellent video and information on long tail keywords. It always pays to repeat this type of approach as I for one tend to forget how important it is to focus on long tail keywords when writing articles.

I will shift my efforts to producing a higher percentage of articles targeted to this audience.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 6:18 PM


Rachel Agheyisi writes:

Another use for those statistical distributions! Long tail — who knew?
Good tips, Marc. Very easy to remember and apply.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 6:20 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

You know I sure enjoyed this book as well;

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 6:34 PM


Good find Lance… That was from about 3.5 years ago. Time flies…but the long tail goes on for almost infinity!


Carl Romain writes:

Well that is very informative indeed and the way it is explained in three phases a person could remember that while writing an article.

Comment provided February 11, 2010 at 11:28 PM


Bruce Mackay writes:

The problem with doing this is if you use the keyword in the url like the marketing courses teach then EzineArticles will not accept the article so I guess this is a little redundant.

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 2:33 AM



We do not reject for this.

Feel free to bring a specific example to this discussion… Do you have one in mind?


Bruce Mackay writes:

I have been rejected for having an url in the article when in fact I spent hours trying to figure where it was in the body. Because I am not making a profit from EzineArticles I found this hard to take. The idea that you can not have a url in the body of the article kills the idea that you can use a long tail,if you use a topic like weight loss any keyword long tail or short the odds of finding a way to write an article with out using a url in it is a joke. Maybe if you pay the hundred a month to EzineArticles you are allowed. I think there are a lot of better ways to find SEO than work at EzineArticles since they went to a closed format.



We don’t reject for having a URL in the article body so long as it is not in 1-3 paragraphs. We do this because it looks better, less like spam, and allows you to deliver quality content to your readers.

If you are going to include the URL in the article body, leave it closer to the end so that it appears to naturally roll into the resource box.

Also, we do not provide our Premium members editorial bias. What rules apply to you, apply to that membership as well. I will look into your account and address this privately with you.


Andrew Areoff writes:

A great article on long-tail keywords there.

I do the same at my website

I write about niche topics within the subject of photography.

As you say in your articles, there’s no point trying to compete for the head-tail keywords like ‘cameras’ or ‘photography’. Even if you do compete with the top guys it’s not targetted traffic at all.

So I focus on things like:

Hasselbald H4D-40 launch at Calumet Photographic

This is a very specific event concerning a particular camera at a particular store. However, within a day of putting this article online I have had several hits containing this long-tail keyword and my post is on the first page of Google.

The monetisation opportunities surrounding this product and that store are obvious.

So a good video you’ve put up there and a very succinct way of explaining long-tail keywords.

Keep it coming!

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 3:49 AM


------------- writes:

You’ve hit the nail on the head with your point about ‘targetted traffic’.

That’s the whole point of article marketing!

if an article isn’t on a niche subject, which inevitably is a long tail keyword, then is it really an ‘article’?


Bob writes:

Great article Marc….that’s something that will definitely improve my articles

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 4:19 AM


Sean Breslin writes:

Long tail keyword optimised articles make sense, liked the video!

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 6:39 AM



This was a nice explanation, really!

Could you give us lists with long-tail titles we could use?

Perhaps you could give us a general lesson about how to use our keywords, and how to take advantage of the traffic search terms at the same time.

I noticed that many times when we try combining keywords that usually dont fit together, the results are poor. How can we change our titles and use different keywords, and different keyword combinations, though?

This is not a simple matter…

BTW, the order of the keywords in a title do matter. I read that the search engines define an articles ranking based on the titles first 60 characters only.

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 8:38 AM


The long tail titles you’d use would be related to your area of expertise.

I’d recommend using your favorite keyword research tool and just look for high search volume simple to complex keyphrases with at least 2-4 keywords in them.

You can also use your TRAFFIC SEARCH TERMS feature in your account to identify many mid to long tail keyphrases to use in future article submissions.


Thank you, Chris!

But this is not such a simple matter…

There are certain rules we must follow if we want to write titles that will attract many readers, and have a very good ranking.

We all know how that the keywords of the titles head (as Marc defines it) are very important and we usually put them in the beginning of our title, but how to make a good combination with more keywords, and at the same time attract many readers?

I thought that the traffic search terms would help me find great titles, but when I started examining them, I saw that they are usually the same I have used in my title, and if I have already written an article about certain specific topic, its already there, I cannot write again about it and use the same traffic search terms in my new title. I may use them while adding something else to the same words used in a previous one, but the results are not so good.

Its not a simple matter to write a perfect title. Many times our keywords are excellent, our article is fantastic, but nothing works. Why?

Because of more than too many reasons… Like: Nobody cares about this information (even though they should) but about other kind of information that can be given when we use the same keywords, with a different meaning.

Or we have mixed keywords that usually dont fit together (even though they make sense and they do describe our articles content) and the search engines cannot find the category they belong to, etc.

I believe that it would be great, especially for new authors, if you could give us a practical lesson, showing us how we should use all the keywords we find when we look for them, and how we can rewrite an old title using the same traffic search terms of old titles, but giving a different information. For example, I already wrote an article entitled “Why do people dream?” I dont need to give this explanation again, so I cannot use exactly the same traffic search terms.

I used the beginning of this great title, writing the title: “Why do people dream but not look for the meaning of their dreams?” It attracted many readers, but not as many as the first one, which is still bringing me a lot of traffic since 2007.

How can we make powerful keyword combinations using all the tools we have at our disposal?


Lisa writes:

EzineArticles are you developing, or have you developed, a lesson as suggested in the above post?

I hope so.



You may find this post helpful regarding Chris Anderson’s ground-breaking book on the long tail:



Pauline writes:

Great Info. Will definitely implement it in my articles.
Thank you.

Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 9:53 AM


John Bump writes:

This was the BEST info I have read this month. I started writing articles 3 months ago and thru all my efforts, I have reached first page of Google in the last month, but just for CERTAIN longtail phrases. Now I will concentrate on Longtail in different ways. One way I was successful in another site was to use longtail AFTER the domain, such as in my site below. I have one with SIX words this way and what a way to climb the ranks

Thanks again for the brainstorm


Comment provided February 12, 2010 at 6:04 PM


Iyabo Asani writes:

This is so awesome! This succinctly helped me understand different pieces of information that I had in my head.

Comment provided February 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM


Helen writes:

Although this is another good video from EzineArticles, you cannot put long tail keywords in your signature box I think your only allowed either 3 or 5 keyword links, so the keyword phrase suggested here cannot be used

Am I missing something? how would you rank for a say 7 word key phrase when you cannot link it up in your authors bio box?

Comment provided February 15, 2010 at 1:32 PM



Put the LONG TAIL words in your ARTICLE TITLE.

Before you get clicks, your article must get FOUND.


This strategy is about getting more VIEWS of highly pre-qualified visitors to COME to your article.


Helen writes:

Thanks for the info Chris, yeh, thought I was missing something here

Many thanks

Comment provided February 15, 2010 at 3:32 PM


Fix PC Freeze writes:

The problem is to select that one special long tailed keyword. I have not been able to decide which one to work my articles on. Often I have ended up spending far more time on keywords with long tail than actually write an article. The Video is really worth watching.

Comment provided February 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM



I have had a long tail out convert a high traffic keyword by astounding numbers. I put one video up once with an affiliate link on it and forgot about it. Checked the numbers a year later and that 1 video with the long tail in the title made me a tidy $1500 USD. Not bad for 10 minutes work!!

Comment provided February 18, 2010 at 3:05 AM


Skin Clinic writes:

Thanks I didn’t think about using Google Alerts to receive ideas on my subject.

Comment provided February 19, 2010 at 12:54 PM


Sara writes:

nice tips Great service.. thanks for the great service I am having hosting my domain

Comment provided May 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM


John Bump writes:

I watched these videos before and I ended up finding a 5 word long tail that got me on Position 4 of Google Page 1 after 45 days, so with organic traffic, you cannot do better than that…jb

Comment provided May 11, 2010 at 11:11 AM



Good – short and precise – thanks Marc once again

Comment provided May 24, 2010 at 4:38 PM


Chris writes:

I’m a SEO consultant myself – this is short crisp and grt info I must say.

Good work Marc.

Comment provided May 30, 2010 at 3:38 PM


sreekumar writes:

Head and tail, long and short, it made sense in reading the article and its comments so far. Let the discussion be continued so that more light is shed on the subject based on individual experiences. It is equivalent to a research on it.

Comment provided June 24, 2010 at 7:48 PM


Allan Ward writes:

Great article. Very short but concise and provides a great explanation of the long tail concept.

Comment provided July 18, 2010 at 6:57 AM



Excellent videos for both beginners and us seasoned writers. I have used long tail phrases in my highly competitive field and it works wonders for dating sites

Comment provided July 19, 2010 at 11:36 AM


Ankit writes:

Hey Marc, another good one. Well, I am happy with the PDF version of the content and really like.
Nice Graphics and detailed knowledge. Liked it :)

Comment provided July 25, 2010 at 4:56 PM



Thanks for your share,i know these tools,but not understand have so great use.

Comment provided October 26, 2010 at 2:46 AM


Frankie Cooper writes:

The light just turned on now I really see the importance and advantages of using the Long Tail method with the above tools.

Comment provided October 26, 2010 at 7:39 AM



another good one! Very short but concise and provides a great explanation of the long tail concept

Comment provided October 26, 2010 at 1:48 PM


William Chaney writes:

Thanks, I need to start using long tail keywords, I just wasn’t sure how to go about it until now. Great help, I’ll start using them now.

Comment provided May 9, 2011 at 6:06 PM



Marc and Penny

I’ve run out of superlatives!

The long-tail video clarified this topic for me at last.

Comment provided October 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM


Cynthia Murray writes:

Thanks, Marc. this definitely makes it much clearer. But I have a question. Do words like ‘a’ and ‘the’ count? for example, would ‘build shed’ work the same as ‘build a shed’?

Comment provided October 17, 2011 at 8:11 PM


Yes they do. I would not recommend using phrases that are not grammatically correct.


Perri writes:

Great information Marc. I would really like to hear more about this topic. Please do more videos for us with this type of information.

Comment provided October 17, 2011 at 8:14 PM


Stacie Walker writes:

I appreciate you explaining the definition of a long tail keyword.

Stacie Walker

Comment provided October 17, 2011 at 10:52 PM


Kirby writes:

I like the helpful information you provide in your
articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I will learn a lot of new stuff right here!
Best of luck for the next!

Comment provided March 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM


Zidiniai writes:

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which
I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.

I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of

Comment provided September 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM


Justin Murphy writes:

Great tips, Marc.

Way to practice what you preach too! Very well written article and I like how you used your main keyword “long tail” in almost every paragraph.

– Justin Murphy

Comment provided May 26, 2014 at 11:55 PM


Jack writes:

Top article tips and tricks! Great information.

Comment provided March 1, 2017 at 4:55 PM


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