Why Doesn’t Anyone Talk About the Keyword Long Tail Anymore?

Remember the Long Tail?

When Google removed keyword referral data from analytics in Sept 2013, the SEO industry took a big hit. You can debate about the merits of this move, as many have. What it did was effectively transform the SEO and keyword industry. Without seeing how nuances of wording and phrases affected behavior, it was now a blind strategy to reach the right people with the right content.

The basic premise of the long tail is that while many basic terms get attention for being the most popular, such as cars, insurance, etc. There are exponentially more related terms that are being searched with more intent and detail, such as “certified pre-owned bmw-i7.” While these terms are searched less in in individual numbers, the make up the vast majority of searches. Most importantly, these are also bottom of funnel searches – the searcher is ready to make a decisions and is likely to convert when they find the answer to their search. It has always been more profitable to focus on this aspect of keyword optimization.

Andreas is a former Googler who learned the power of the long tail during his time at Google and applied it to many other businesses. He since created LongtailUX to capture the power of the long tail and monetize it for his clients success.

Show Notes:

Why no one talks about the long tail anymore

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

My book review of The Long Tail from 2006!

Do you want to get more out of the Keyword Longtail?

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[00:00:00] Andreas Dzumla: Everything is measurable, you know, how the algorithm works, and you can target keywords and everything, everything is transparent. Then I, I also then took over, so, when I, when I was working for this vertical search engine, I was responsible for, for all traffic and we didn’t have money. So, well, it was obviously SEO.

I was just, I don’t know, flabbergasted or whatever is the word. I was just amazed how, how intransparent SEO was. And so, yeah, and then Google took those keywords away there, as well. But like, you, you don’t come measure the ROI. Like, there’s no keyword reports. If you have all this content, you want to target that. And so, if you spend a lot of money, that’s the other thing.

[00:00:43] Bumper Intro-Outro: Welcome to Endless Coffee Cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture, and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.

[00:01:04] Matt Bailey: Well, hello, dear listener, and welcome to another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. And today we are going to talk about a fundamental part of search. And this goes back years, but yet it’s, it’s a fundamental part, but you know what? No one talks about it anymore.

And that’s what led me to today’s guest, Andreas Dzumla. Andreas, you are the CEO and founder of LongtailUX. And, uh, as soon as I got contacted by one of your employees, I knew we just had to talk. So, Andreas, could you take a few minutes and just introduce yourself and maybe a little bit of your background, as well.

[00:01:46] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, sure. I’m well, thanks, Matt. And yeah, as you said, I’m the co-founder and CEO of LongtailUX, uh, so that’s a startup that actually focuses on the long-tail. So, that topic, we talk about. My background, I worked at Google back in the day, I joined pre-IPO, worked there as a product specialist in Europe, working a lot with, uh, people in the U.S. with engineering team on some really early, early products of what was called AdWords back then. So, we launched AdWords editor on the first version, the first, first mobile ads, that was before the iPhone and, and a few other, few other, few other early things.

And then I, I worked for a startup for a vertical search engine that was in Spain, but it was like a, well with 12 websites in 12 countries, and that was an aggregator for real estate. And so, we had a lot of content, but we had to compete with our own partners, right? We were aggregating all these different real estate ads, portal ads, but didn’t have the, as much main authority, didn’t have any money for paid advertising, and so the only way, actually, how we could work was focusing on the long-tail.

And so, that’s where the whole, whole saga started. It took a while to figure out how we do that. And then it was, it became very successful. After that, so, that was in Spain. I’m originally from Germany, as you probably guessed from my accent, can never hide it. And yeah, and then moved to Australia, and over here, I work for VistaPrint.

[00:02:58] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:02:58] Andreas Dzumla: So, worked on their, yeah, like, um, search marketing, translations, or for like JPEG markets, managed like a small team there, and then ended up working, managing an agency, a digital marketing agency, and, and the density just grew. And that’s where the long-tail caught up with me again, because that was in 2012-13. And it was still important, and well, still important today.

[00:03:22] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And for any of the listeners, if you don’t know what the long-tail is, think about how you search, and you know what, Andreas? This was just posted yesterday on LinkedIn. Someone took my course on SEO keywords, and I was just amazed because usually people just post, “I took this course,” and, and there you go. What she did was she actually looked at her past searches, such as “How to maintain, uh, a coat for a certain dog,” or “How often should you wash a dog?” or “Where are local,” and I made a comment.

I said, “Not only did you outline a typical day in the life of a searcher, but you also showed great examples of long-tail searches.” the very specific, 4+ words, that highly detail, what it is you’re looking for. And we don’t talk about it much anymore, don’t we?

[00:04:23] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, no, we, we really don’t talk about it a lot anymore. It’s, it’s a bit like search as a channel, as well, is sort of like its old school, it’s been there forever, I mean, 20 years now. And this sort of, I mean, obviously there’s also more and more automation built into, into everything and um, yeah, but the, the reality is it’s still there. I mean, so, The Long Tail book we talked about this, this came out in 2004 or ’05 was the, the article in the Wired, and then the book. And I mean, the long-tail was dead before. The long-tail is, was dead afterwards, as well. I think that the, the special thing about search is that it makes it visible…

[00:04:55] Matt Bailey: Yes.

[00:04:55] Andreas Dzumla: Because you have, you have, you have consumers looking for something very specific everywhere, like, all the time, but in the search channel, they actually do you the favor of typing in what they want, and you can actually then identify, “Oh, that’s full words,” all of this very specific. Like, you wouldn’t know that when someone clicks on, um, a display banner ad or, or, or email or whatever.

And search is, but then obviously, the funny thing happened that the company that brought keywords to light took a lot of them away again. So, when we talk about SEO, obviously that was actually the same time where we started, uh, LongtailUX and suddenly keywords disappeared from organic search, uh, reports. So, maybe that’s, that’s your reason why people don’t talk about it as much anymore.

[00:05:33] Matt Bailey: That could be, because I look at that as kind of like the Black Friday of SEO, that one day I, and, and that’s the thing, I, same as you, I read that article in Wired and I went and looked and it was, yeah, October of 2004 that the article came out. Then the book came out. And it rocked, I think the whole SEO world, but yet, I was seeing this in analytics. It was just amazing. And we were seeing where, yeah, 80% of the keywords that were long-tail were providing most, it was, it was like 80% of the keywords were providing 80% of the business.

And the 2 or 3 word phrases that, you know, the CEO wants or the stakeholders want, they didn’t produce anything. And so, yeah, we were seeing that early and that was such a fundamental part of SEO was finding that those magical long-tail phrases and groups of phrases, and then it just disappeared.

[00:06:37] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:06:37] Matt Bailey: And I, I, to this day, I’m still not satisfied with the answer we’ve been given, that it’s for privacy.

[00:06:44] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:06:44] Matt Bailey: Oh man. I, that could be one of the biggest reasons, but yet, it still exists. You can find it in keyword research tools. You can find it in Google Trends…

[00:06:55] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:06:56] Matt Bailey: …shows that. So, it’s still very much a reality.

[00:06:59] Andreas Dzumla: You, you know what my theory is, why it disappeared actually? It’s cost. It’s just so, just, when you imagine that this space, I mean, Google made it really cheap and they have all this data centers, but, but imagine like, we, we were on, well we work with large enterprise, uh, clients, and we, we got our lots, lots of our long-tail data from, from the search term report from paid search now. But literally, like, you’re on like a one month paid search search term report for a large, large company, and you, you get like a million rows. Like, it’s ridiculous. It’s just, it’s just then they spend a lot of money, obviously. And imagine that that still makes some sense in Google Ads because that’s a paid product.

[00:07:35] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:07:36] Andreas Dzumla: So, sort of getting this information so then people can bid more on those keywords and pay more money to Google, that makes sense for Google, but SEO is not a, it’s not a monetized channel. So, giving all this information, storing that, processing that, and actually giving it back is actually, when you really think about it, you actually don’t want to do that. So, that’s, that’s my theory. Um, there you go.

[00:07:55] Matt Bailey: I, I think that’s a legit theory because that’s also my theory behind Core Web Vitals, you know, the newest thing that they’ve done, where they want everyone to go skinny and light on their websites. Well, think about the storage space that it takes to cash every website and every page.

[00:08:13] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:08:14] Matt Bailey: It’s all, it’s space that someone has to pay for. So, I could see that…

[00:08:17] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:08:17] Matt Bailey: …and, and yeah, it takes a lot of processing time and a lot of space to give us all those keywords. But man, that’s gold. That is such gold.

[00:08:26] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, it absolutely is. Theory actually, why people don’t talk about the long-tail anymore is it’s just so hard work. And, and, and that’s actually one of the, that’s one of the reasons why we started our like, automation or like, what we call it, a customer acquisition platform is really, we focus on the long-tail in a more automated way. It’s so hard work.

Everyone talk like, the people who still talk about the long-tail talk about it as a niche opportunity. So, they’re basically saying, “Ah, if you have a new website, new product, that’s where you find like, how people ask questions and then you can build out your manual content. But when you think about that, what I just said, like one of our, our clients or our customers, they have, yeah. There’s like a million search terms. We actually looked at the year. It was 27 million…

[00:09:08] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:09:09] Andreas Dzumla: …long-tail queries on paid search.

[00:09:11] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:09:11] Andreas Dzumla: 27 million. That’s a lot, right? What do you do with that? Like, if, unless you can automate stuff? Like it’s, it’s impossible. So, you can’t like even, even, even in, in ads where you can actually build all those campaigns, there’s just so much work.

[00:09:25] Matt Bailey: Absolutely.

[00:09:26] Andreas Dzumla: It’s rewarding when you do it, but you really, like, without automation, it’s, it’s almost impossible. So, I think that’s, that’s one of the reasons, I guess.

[00:09:32] Matt Bailey: That could be. I, yeah, I mean, at that scale, yeah. It’s going to take something to manage that, but let me, I want to, I want to kind of get back, before we get to your solution and what you’re doing, which I think is exciting.

[00:09:44] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:09:44] Matt Bailey: What was it about the long-tail that, you know, you’re an ex-Googler, you were in it, what was it that captured your attention and, and, and really just draw, drew you in to want to know more about that?

[00:09:59] Andreas Dzumla: I mean, first of all, I, I just like efficiency. So, so basically, so my first job at Google was I was working for, for, for some European markets optimizing campaigns for, for large advertisers. So, it was like, uh, comm strategist I think it was called today. Before then, after that I moved into, into product.

[00:10:00] And it’s really just, if you want to help them, and if you want to help them find the best bang for buck, right? Optimizing campaigns, well, you just it’s, it’s a long-tail. That’s where you find it, right? Low cost per click, high conversion rates, happy day. It’s like, if you connect it in the right way, it was, it was work.

Why? Because you have to, well, you have to have the right ads for the right viewers, the right landing pages, et cetera. But it was just, I just found it so powerful when you basically have a campaign and then you focus on the long-tail and suddenly you, you just double the ROI and, and then people can spend more money and they can make even more money.

So, I just, I really like that and actually the ability that you can do it. And then when I wrote the article, so, the interesting bit here is my background’s actually I studied social science, nothing to do with the internet or anything. It’s like, like social systems, political systems. And, and so, we’re not just looking at this as just, this is so democratic, you know?

Like, it’s almost like, like, like searches are votes and, and oh, their tiny, right? Like all, any long-tail query in itself, it’s just, I don’t know. They don’t have a lot of traffic, but overall, it, they make the majority and they can swing, like, whether your business is successful, but you can also take the information. They’re basically votes for new products as well, or new directions of products. I, I just liked, I don’t know. That fascinated me, as well.

[00:11:23] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. I, I think what fascinated me was one of the examples that Chris Anderson gave in the, in the article, as well as in the book, and that was on music. That at the head of the tail everyone, we like to say, everyone is searching for that, the popular, you know, the top 5, top 10 artists. But yet, I remember myself as a teenager, and this was back when we went to the record store. Uh, we didn’t have streaming, but I never went, you would go to the big record stores to get the popular stuff, but you’d have to go to these out of the way, you know, small business entrepreneur record stores that were, you know, little seedy, little sketchy, but that’s where you found the good stuff.

And that, because, and, and that was the long-tail. That was the amount of people that were searching for these obscure hits. You know, you weren’t going to make a living off, you know, a few of them, you needed to have an inventory, and that just wasn’t possible in that physical…

[00:12:24] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:12:24] Matt Bailey: …realm. But once it hit digital, that changed everything.

[00:12:29] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, so really the power of, of technology to connect that and then actually to, to create markets, I mean, for, for, for all of these, well, more niche, niche, uh, musicians and, and other types. The other thing I saw was, I mean, I worked at Google then when all that happened and, uh, just so Amazon just being so powerful, and really for me, Amazon basically like, well, they, they, they, the long-tail was their business model in some way.

[00:12:54] Matt Bailey: Right. Yeah.

[00:12:55] Andreas Dzumla: I mean, that’s number one. But then on the other side, seeing like, coming back to see my family in Germany and everyone’s complaining, “Oh, Amazon, they’re just destroying our bookstores. And do you think like…” well, I sort of get that, but it’s, it’s just, they actually deliver, well, people get what they want, and they get more, and, and they actually can do that. So, maybe just have to adapt somehow. I don’t know. I just saw that, and I found that incredibly powerful, as well and when they were growing crazy. They still do.

[00:13:21] Matt Bailey: Well, it allows that small singly owned bookstore to sell its books around the world, whereas what the books they have may not be in demand in the local area. And, and again, it, that digital connection enables that. I, I understand completely where you’re at with, you know, some people don’t like it, but yet, it revolutionized the way things were sold in a digital world. And, and it’s funny because I think that that long-tail kind of existed, but like you said, now we can quantify it.

[00:13:52] Andreas Dzumla: Yep.

[00:13:52] Matt Bailey: Now we can see the impact. And for me, it, it kind of gave me hope that not everybody likes what’s number one on the charts. That was, that was kind of this vindication that, “Oh, thank God,” to know that most people are still looking for good quality content. It’s not always the head of the tail that, that is, it gets the headlines, but it’s not, what’s going to pay your bills long-term.

[00:14:17] Andreas Dzumla: Exactly. No, absolutely. Exactly.

[00:14:20] Matt Bailey: So, talk about being, you know, in Google and an ex-Googler, while you also were running campaigns that, you know, dug into the long-tail and really kind of expounded what you knew and how you developed what would later become LongtailUX.

[00:14:39] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, it’s, it’s a funny story of how, so, I, I, I optimize campaigns for, for clients, but also that was really like, I mean, early days, right? 2004 when I started there and there were still, I think there was just off got rid of the, the, the, the, the top ads. I think just before I joined, there was still, there was still paid on impressions.

[00:14:57] Matt Bailey: Oh.

[00:14:57] Andreas Dzumla: So, there were, there were, there were basically selling CPM on the top of the search results to large brands, and then realized that these tiny ads, those, those ad-words just made them so much more money. And then that, so, that was really early days. And, um, there were, I don’t know, I think there were 600,000 advertisers, like, like worldwide, right? They had 600,000 accounts, and that was a, that was a big problem. Like, there’s a lot of data to process. I don’t know. It’s probably 600 million right now.

So, so that was early days. And so, we actually, we had our own test accounts and we, I think Google gave you like a five day, $5 a day accounts, like free budget to just play around, right? Because we had to learn ourselves also like how you optimize, like all those campaigns. And then, yeah, I, I played around and then some of my colleagues played around very successfully, and then they spent like some of their own money, and becoming affiliates and, and running long-tail campaigns for Amazon, with affiliate things and making a lot of money. So, yeah, we did that as well.

[00:15:52] Matt Bailey: I, yeah, I played around with that probably around the same exact time. I started a hobby project blog about a niche, niche and I would review books. And in this niche, I would put ad, ads for Amazon on there and get those…

[00:16:07] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:16:08] Matt Bailey: …affiliate payments. And it, it, it worked well for a number of years. It was really amazing to see that you can build this community around the very specific niche.

[00:16:18] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:16:18] Matt Bailey: And, and make money from doing it. It wasn’t bad.

[00:16:22] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we shot, we did, we didn’t have a shortcut, right? We basically just put the affiliate codes into the Google Ads, so we’re basically bidding on them, but the ad would directly land on Amazon or on, on others. And so, that’s, and then you would basically just capture the traffic directly, and there were not a lot of people bidding on those long-tail keywords. Like, you would have like 5, 10, uh, cents and then you have a pretty high conversion rate.

And I took, like, one of my colleagues in the ads, he came to the office for the Mercedes. I said, “Okay, thanks to some of those campaigns.” I mean, that was later, then they shut it down, et cetera. But yeah, so, that really shows you the power when you know that, and you focus and others didn’t. Um, yeah, obviously now, like campaigns, everything is much more automated. I mean, Google has dynamic search ads, and so, they tried to cover that because even if people don’t, don’t, don’t focus on those long-tail campaigns directly, try to capture that with automation. It was different then.

[00:17:13] Matt Bailey: How, how, yeah, exactly. It’s very different now, and it seems like when setting up campaigns, Google doesn’t want advertisers to focus on long-tail. It seems like now it’s kind of this black box of, “Give us an idea of what you’re selling, and we’ll connect you with people,” and, and it’s almost, now I’ve, my, my long-tail is taken away like Google saying, “We really aren’t interested in this.” How is that working out?

[00:17:42] Andreas Dzumla: I think, I think that’s again, because it’s expensive. Like imagine now maybe, you have to take millions of accounts of everyone focused on the long-tail. You have just have so much data to process and the ads have to appear immediately. Like, that’s just, just costs a lot. Whereas when you’re on like, dynamic, uh, search ads, like USA campaigns automation, um, or Google Shopping, yes? She can better it. Give me your product feed and I’ll take care of the rest. Just pay me money, I’ll do the matching.

That’s much easier for them from a technological perspective and cheaper. So, I think that that’s, that’s what, what’s happening. Obviously, you can still target long-tail, but it’s, yeah, you, it’s a bit harder. Like very often, like you have those, those really, really long keyword lists and not a lot of them get traffic because the account doesn’t have enough history, et cetera, et cetera. So, it’s tougher. But, but yeah, long-tail is still there. We have ones who, well, automation is cheaper for them. That’s pretty much what it is.

[00:18:34] Matt Bailey: It’s interesting getting the perspective of a former Googler because your responses is, see now, when I talk to SEOs, you know, they fall into two camps. One is the, “I hate Google and everything they do is to make my life difficult.” The other one is, “I love Google and I’m going to try and reverse engineer the algorithm and do whatever I can.”

And it’s interesting your perspective coming in is, is a very, how do I explain it? I’m trying to think of the word, it’s a very efficient method is, is they’re making decisions based on business expenses that, that processing time and power and, and the cost for that would negate what we would make by doing this. I, I like the, the, the way you are approaching this, and I think this is a great lesson for any one of our SEOs that are listening is Google’s not always trying to make your life difficult. They’re trying to make their life easier, as well, just like any other business.

[00:19:34] Andreas Dzumla: Exactly. I mean, my first answer to, to that is always if Google wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have a job.

[00:19:40] Matt Bailey: Correct.

[00:19:41] Andreas Dzumla: I mean, let’s face it. No, honestly, I think, I think that’s completely underestimated, the amount of innovation Google dropped by just having the search engine and having, and actually like, I mean, the amount of businesses that would have never started without being able to start with keywords, targeting a specific audience, and then building the audience, whether SEO or, or paid search, in search, like, it’s it’s, it’s, it’s massive.

[00:20:00] Like, like all the other businesses who then have to innovate because these new businesses suddenly were there and stealing their traffic and their audience and their revenue base was stealing, be more efficient. So, I think that’s underestimated. Yeah, and there’s an SEO, like, without Google. Well, what would you do? You wouldn’t be there. You would probably sit somewhere else and have a boring job.

So, that’s one, but I think it’s really, it’s really important to understand always, like, why does, why do you think Google does something? Not, not so much at what do they want, but like, what’s actually, what, what would be the reason for, for, for doing that? Right? Like, if there’s outrage, who actually wanted, I, I think they’re doing this, right? They’re, they’re taking away like a big part of the search term reports, as well. So, I think when you don’t have clicks and only have impressions, like for a certain amount of time, you will not find just impression-only keywords in, in the report anymore.

Again, it’s just space. Just makes, it just, it’s just, I think it just gets rid of like 75% of, of the search terms, but they didn’t, you get a negative click anyway, and you didn’t make money. It was almost useless for everyone, but there was outrage. “Oh no, they’re stealing us, stealing the keywords from paid search, as well. What will we do?” They’re rational decisions in the end, and it really helps if you, if you try to understand that. It’s like when you have a boss, right? You, you better understand what he wants and why he wants something. You can complain. It’s still your boss.

[00:21:16] Matt Bailey: I mean, that’s just good, yeah. Good business sense of, if I understand why they want it this way, then I’ll be able to better plan ahead, prepare, develop my, you know, how I’m going to position what I want to do or any initiatives I want to enact if I know their motivation.

[00:21:34] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:21:34] Matt Bailey: And yeah, I think, uh, a lot of people misread Google’s motivations for some things.

[00:21:40] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah. And there’s so much noise out there, as well.

[00:21:42] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:21:42] Andreas Dzumla: That’s the problem, right? There’s so many blog posts about a blog post on a blog post about SEO. So, so the amount of, like blog posts on the algorithm changes…

[00:21:50] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:21:50] Andreas Dzumla: …just talking about it, but actually not even, not even trying to interpret what the change actually means. It’s just, “Oh, that was a change. We saw, like, big movements.” Okay, thank you. Like, what exactly? What aspect do you think and what do we learn from this? Like, it’s, it’s hard, but then you can, you can keep yourself busy a lot with that, but yeah, if you don’t align, if you don’t align what you do with like, the long-term what you actually, well, it’s still an interpretation what you think Google wants, right? But if you don’t do that, it’s going to be really hard because you’re not going to outplay, uh, a company with, I don’t know how many engineers do they have?

[00:22:23] Matt Bailey: Oh…

[00:22:24] Andreas Dzumla: A thousand?

[00:22:25] Matt Bailey: Tens of thousands. Yeah.

[00:22:26] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah. They’re pretty, they’re pretty good, too.

[00:22:29] Matt Bailey: They are. And…

[00:22:30] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:22:30] Matt Bailey: And, and that’s the thing I noticed, yeah. Whenever there’s a, an algorithm change, headlines everywhere. But I think even with the major algorithm changes, it’s taken almost a year or more for people to figure out, “Well, what did they want?”

[00:22:45] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:22:46] Matt Bailey: “What were they trying to do for just about every major algorithm change?” But, you know, I’ve been doing this, I hate to say how long, but it, there is a core set of what I would call SEO techniques that never change.

[00:23:03] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:23:04] Matt Bailey: It’s, it’s give people what they want, and the search engines will be happy. It’s, it’s, it’s a real simple calculation of if you meet their needs, if you, if they’re looking for something and you have it.

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[00:25:14] Matt Bailey: That’s the essential part of it. You try and chase the algorithm, and you are going to run around in circles.

[00:25:21] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, there’s a few basic principles as you say, right? Like, like it’s like and, and really, you have to think about what’s a search engine? There’s something it’s, it’s, it’s an engine to find documents that are relevant to a search query and, and the page is a document, right?

So, first thing is document relevancy. How relevant is that page actually? And then the next thing is like, it’s authority, right? And then that’s where the links come in, internal, external. And then the next, the third one is, and that’s, I think where Google is special, I guess, to others as well, then how do users interact with it, right? So, one thing is it all goes together, but then of course, do people stay on the site? Do they bounce? Like, what’s the click rate, et cetera. So, that then accumulates over time. But that’s pretty much the basics, and, and yeah.

[00:26:00] Matt Bailey: Let’s, I, I want to shift gears here because, so, I want to give a shout out to Millie. Millie actually contacted me and about an article she wrote, and she must’ve seen where I’ve talked about it and written about it. And so, Millie Davies, thank you for contacting me because that connected me with you, but she wrote an article, “Why No One Talks About the Long-tail Anymore,” and that got us talking.

I, I thought it was a great article because you’re explaining it, diving into it, but then I started seeing what you’re doing to monetize that long tail, and as you said, help people automate and take advantage of that. So, I, I, dear listener, I’m not turning this into a commercial, but you need to hear this. It’s good stuff.

[00:26:48] Andreas Dzumla: Oh, thanks, Matt. Yeah, I, I promise, I explained the concept, uh, more, more than anything. So, I, yeah, so, really with the long-tail, so I came from the patriarch side, right? Everything is measurable, you know how the algorithm works, and you can target keywords and everything, everything is transparent. Then, I also then took over, so when I, when I was working for this vertical search engine, I was responsible for, for all traffic and we didn’t have money. So, well, it was obviously SEO.

I was just, I don’t know, flabbergasted or whatever is the word. I was just amazed how, how intransparent SEO was. And so, yeah, and then Google took those keywords away there as well, but like, how, you don’t come measure the ROI. Like, there’s no keyword reports, but you have all this content you want to talk about, and so, if you spend a lot of money, that’s the other thing. You, you make money on those long-tail keywords in Google Ads very often, but you don’t appear for the same keywords on, on, on organic search.

So, clearly you must deliver a good user experience because otherwise you couldn’t afford those ads because people then buy, but in organic search, like, you can’t be there at the same time. How do you do that? So, this was really like where we, where we started thinking, “You have to have more control.” And that’s where basically with this vertical search engine, we found a way, it’s a very simplistic way, basically saying, “Okay, first of all, I want to know what my keywords are I want to target,” and all those keyword tools for the long-tail, they’re not really very good.

Like, they don’t give you data or like give you bogus data or, or, or literally, the Google keywords, well, any keyword, very like 4, 4 words or more, you just get, “Oh, there’s zero traffic.” It’s not true. It’s there. So yeah, so we, we basically developed a system where you create a page for every keyword you want to target. The important thing is you can’t do this for millions of pages.

[00:28:32] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:28:32] Andreas Dzumla: So, so we, we did that starting, that was before all of these product aggregators who created like millions of pages for everything. You don’t want to do that. So, you actually want to know what’s your core set of long-tail keywords, right? Like, if you have like 100,000 products, maybe take 10,000. Still a lot of keywords. And so, once you know those keywords, you create a page for each of them, and then having the relevant content and, and put the content on there, so that you basically, you need to search like an internal search engine to match, right? You have a keyword and then you want to match your products to it or your listings or whatever you have.

So, then you have a page that’s hyper-relevant for the long-tail keyword. That’s amazing. Now, the next problem is okay, now I have 10,000 more pages. What are you going to do? Are you going to put a link in the footer and then hope that Google somehow crawls it? That does, that’s not how it works, right? Like, those pages need to be seen as an integral part of the website, but they also need to be seen as contextually relevant. So, you need linking.

So, so what do you do then? You change all of your menus and try to put like 10,000 links into the menus? Well, that, you can’t do that either. So, we then developed a system where you basically have, we call them, um, smart links where basically it’s like the links that could be like at the bottom of the page or, or below the navigation, but they have to be somewhere in the main, main text.

[00:30:00] The contextual interlinking. And then suddenly you have a system you can target long-tail keywords, you deliver a great user experience, you can integrate them contextually into the website, and then you actually can run a monthly landing page report and you actually know which one of those pages got traffic, conversion rates, et cetera. So, you created your own keyword report for SEO, which you didn’t have before.

[00:30:06] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:30:06] Andreas Dzumla: So, that’s in a nutshell what, what we call, what, what is LUX organic or solution for organic search. It’s a way to be able to target long-tail keywords and to measure your ROI and to measure everything end to end, and you deliver a good user experience.

Well, that’s how it works. So, that started in 2008, then came Panda, then came Penguin. Penguin, it still worked because it was, it was always focused on, not on traffic, not on rankings. It was focused on people being, well, one, seeing the page and wanting to pay you money, like, like, like buying something.

[00:30:36] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:30:36] Andreas Dzumla: And user experience. So, that’s why it’s LongtailUX.

[00:30:41] Matt Bailey: Well, and, and, and it’s great how you’re doing it. I, I, I love the idea because it’s very similar to the search results page, where Google is suggesting different, you know, “Based on your search, other people have asked this,” or, “Do you want to know more about that?” And what you’re doing is if you don’t see what you want on this page, here are links or descriptions of what you might be interested. And so, it’s a, yeah, very natural user-oriented method of…

[00:31:12] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:31:12] Matt Bailey: …guiding people into clicking, and when they click on it, you’re getting the search data because, and, and that’s the thing. I always love to capture the search data on a website, but people don’t always use that. I, I feel like…

[00:31:25] Andreas Dzumla: No.

[00:31:25] Matt Bailey: …I did my search on Google. I’m not going to do it on your site. That’s the attitude I think people bring.

[00:31:30] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, and people behave very differently, as well. So, when we look at internal search term data, like how people search on the website, but then look at, at your search term report from Google Ads, how they search on Google to get to the website, it’s all so different way, how they…

Our, our biggest treasure trove is really, we work with large enterprises that spent millions on Google Ads. We look into those search engine reports, and that’s actually where we find most of the terms that we want to target, right? We basically, but it, that only works if you actually spend a lot of money, then you have all those reports. But then it’s guaranteed, right? You know, here’s, then actually know that it’s traffic ’cause otherwise ads would never be heard.

And you know, actually, it works for the website too, because otherwise people wouldn’t have bought, so, that’s your criteria. And then the next thing we can match that, “Do we have enough products?” and, “Can we do a ranking?” et cetera. Yeah. So, it’s, it makes SEO, it actually turn, turns into performance channel. So that’s…

[00:32:19] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:32:19] Andreas Dzumla: …that’s the exciting thing. It’s a cost center, normally. It’s a cost center, you don’t know the ROI, it’s all about beliefs. Suddenly here you have a tool that, that converts the, the search, the organic search into a performance channel.

[00:32:32] Matt Bailey: That’s amazing. That is absolutely amazing. I, and I, I love the examples that, you know, you provide in the article because I, it, to me, it, it solves that problem of, “I don’t have access to the keywords, and even if I did, how do I optimize for them?” There, there’s that other side of the equation.

[00:32:50] Andreas Dzumla: Exactly.

[00:32:50] Matt Bailey: And I optimize without making it look spammy. I, you know, I, we’ve…

[00:32:54] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:32:54] Matt Bailey: …seen websites that try to put in 200 links to make themselves look, look like, “We’ve got the content…”

[00:33:01] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:33:01] Matt Bailey: …but it’s not usable. It’s not attractive. And the engines usually will knock that down.

[00:33:06] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah. And that’s, that’s a challenge sometimes you have to get your head around as an SEO specialist, as well as like, you know the keywords and you, you want to target it, and you, you know there’s an opportunity, and like, traditionally, what you would do is like, “Oh, let’s write some content for that keyword.”

Really when there’s a commercial query, people want to buy something. They will no longer want to read a post. But traditionally, that was the only way to actually get out there in an easy way, because it wasn’t, just can’t go to a website and say, “Oh, here’s keywords and I want pages for that matching products,” right? It’s like, most of those web platforms don’t do that.

So, yeah. And then, so, sometimes we talk with the SEO specialists, “Wow, but this is just a list of products. There’s no content. Is that what…?” The products are the content, that’s actually what they want. They want to buy. So yeah, that’s the difference.

[00:33:51] Matt Bailey: That’s amazing. So, what kind, so, what happens when someone goes from paying for those terms to naturally ranking? What is the shift from, you know, profitability, return, what are you seeing when that gets, when someone implements that on a, a large-scale e-commerce site?

[00:34:11] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, so we, we see, so, so we also have, the prog also worked for, for paid search. So, creating pages for every single keyword you target, or for shopping ads, trading pages to actually show more products, just the, even just the one. But if, on the organic search side, we deliver uplift like 30% more, more non-brand traffic and revenue. Like, for large websites, like we’re talking millions of dollars per month, here.

[00:34:34] Matt Bailey: Wow.

[00:34:35] Andreas Dzumla: That’s powerful. So, what happens is basically, well, it’s amazing, right? Because businesses suddenly say, “Wow, no, actually organic search is a channel I can measure.” Do they stop spending on, on, on paid ads? They said no, they don’t. They’ll basically just take this, and they might even spend more money. So, so what happens from a business perspective, it’s just, it opens a new channel. That’s, that’s, that’s what it mainly is.

And it makes it measurable, because that’s really the biggest problem for like a CMO or like a marketing department. Like just, you know you spend a million, two, or even more per month on paid ads, on, on, uh, Google Ads, you would never spend the same amount on SEO. Not because, well, well, the only reason you don’t do it because you can’t measure the return on investment. Like, Google makes it so easy on the ad side, “Oh, you spend a million dollars, you run whatever conversion reporting on Google Analytics, you guys get 10 million in revenue. That’s a 10x ROI.”

[00:35:26] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:35:26] Andreas Dzumla: SEO you can’t, and so, we basically, we opened that up and suddenly you can actually measure that, and then you can start investing. So, we actually have clients who spend more now on, on organic search than on paid search.

[00:35:38] Matt Bailey: That is amazing. Yeah. It’s kind of flipped things upside-down. So, how, how, does this, so, most of the examples, and, and we’ve given so far, I think have been e-commerce and one of the, one of the things I’m always hearing, and I always try to focus on is my, is the B2B side. Are there people using this for lead gen and, and business to business, uh, lead generation?

[00:35:59] Andreas Dzumla: Absolutely. I mean, long, long-tail becomes relevant for lead gen for any website. You basically need two elements. You need, on the one hand you need content. Like, if you don’t have enough content, what do you do? So that, but then you also need people searching in different, we call it dimensions. So, imagine like, we have region clients, for example, I can send, they are like a logistics company. So, there’s 100 franchise locations across Australia. And so there you have one dimension, right? Sending from.

Then you have, they sent to, right? They ship to everywhere in the world. Those countries you ship to, there’s your second dimension. Then the third dimension is they ship like, was it flat, fragile, large, awkward, and valuable products. So, they have like bikes, pianos, like household items. So, there’s, you have a lot of different, different items they ship, and then the beauty is people actually search in those three dimensions.

[00:36:51] Matt Bailey: Yeah. Wow.

[00:36:52] Andreas Dzumla: So, suddenly it’s like, “Oh, we only have a hundred locations over ship,” right? So, it’s the same thing, right? How, how, how, how many, how many different words you can say, “Shipping sending something?” But suddenly you realize we’re actually, we get to 32,000 combinations here, because you, you, you say, “I want to send my bike from Melbourne to Sydney. I want to, uh, send household items to Germany,” or like, did this, all these different things.

And then when you match that, if they have the content, then you can, then you can create the system that matches the demand in different dimensions and the content you have. But that’s important. So, there’s some, some other B2B areas where it’s not as easy, but that, that, that’s a good one.

Another ones, like we have like business insurance clients, is, is an aggregator. So, they have different products, again, there’s different locations, and then you have all these different types of businesses, like cafés, gyms, and they all have very specific insurance needs. Again, you have those three dimensions, um, and you can work with that. So, that, that’s, that’s important, right? Do, do search, does the search markets and do people search in different dimensions? That’s the main question.

[00:37:52] Matt Bailey: I love it. I love it because what that focuses on is using the available keyword data to find out how people search and the words they use. I, I love that, the essential of SEO, but what you’re doing is, I like the classification of, “We’re here. They’re there. This is what they need, or this is how they describe it,” and then the fact that it just exponentially increases when you start looking at locations or other…

[00:38:27] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:38:27] Matt Bailey: …factors. That’s what blows my mind about the long-tail. It’s just so powerful and it grows so quickly.

[00:38:35] Andreas Dzumla: Exactly. Exactly. And here’s another one, maybe not so intuitive like, with clients. American Addiction, Addiction Centers, drugabuse.com in the U.S. is actually one of our clients, as well. And so, they, that’s actually really rewarding to work with them because every lead, they call it a rescue, which is pretty…

[00:38:50] Matt Bailey: Oh, wow. Yeah.

[00:38:50] Andreas Dzumla: …and people with drug addiction. Again, what other dimensions? You have people in different locations, and then you have all those different drugs, and then you have symptoms, and then you have different types of treatments. And again, like, I mean, just looking at those reports every month is amazing because you really see actually that like helps people immediately. I mean, it’s nice to sell more…

[00:39:08] Matt Bailey: Yeah.

[00:39:08] Andreas Dzumla: …sporting goods and more TVs, et cetera. But yeah, that’s a, that’s a very special client of ours in the U.S.

[00:39:15] Matt Bailey: Well, that’s what, you know, just you describing that about the long-tail, it’s personal. It’s personal and specific to that individual at that time in that place. And there’s no way really to quantify that because you, you, it is so unique at that point in time to that person. And really, there’s no way to capture that…

[00:39:38] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:39:39] Matt Bailey: …unless you understand or have the capability of being everywhere at once and being able to optimize for that.

[00:39:47] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, exactly. And here, here is another interesting thing when you think about like websites and how are they optimized, I mean, and personalized, most of the personalization on websites like to cater for your needs, the person that’s going to the website. Happens with cookies, right? So, when you’re a returning user, so they have some information of, of what you previously were looking for.

[00:40:00] And, but when it comes to the search channel, you usually start a search with something new in mind. I mean, how often have you started searching for something, and then you maybe see some like, like some ad somewhere based on your past behavior or what you want, and it’s like, “I don’t want this this time.”

So again, like websites aren’t built for that, but like this long-tail search, so that’s why we see this as a huge opportunity. It’s basically, it’s cookieless personalization. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s like, it’s catering to your intent now and not your previous one. So yeah, there’s, there’s a huge, huge opportunity to do this at scale.

[00:40:41] Matt Bailey: I’m writing notes here because I love what you said. It’s cookieless personalization, which, I, I mean really that’s where we’re have to, that’s where we have to go. I, these…

[00:40:51] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:40:51] Matt Bailey: …these third-party cookies aren’t going to last and first party cookies, themselves, are somewhat questionable, what people will allow when you give them the freedom, uh, and different browsers treat it differently, and, but yeah, like you said, this, it’s unique to that person at that time and that specific need and, and I love the classification of dimensions.

It, it, I think it’s also healthy for a business to, and, and this is one thing we, when I had my agency and we would, our keyword research projects, we would probably involve three or four people about three or four days, and that’s all we would study with the keywords. And I just remember learning so much about that company, their business, what their customers wanted and what the problems were, and…

[00:41:39] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:41:40] Matt Bailey: …not just with the company, but in the industry. We would come out of that after a week knowing more about that industry than the client did and about what, what the attitudes and the intent of people were. And I think that’s what’s so powerful about keywords. And you can’t just have the marketing department evaluate keywords. I, I feel like it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s an enterprise-wide idea of looking at keywords because they apply to the different aspects of the business. Looking for support, looking for, you know, frequently asked questions or how does this work, or how do I download this? It’s not just for selling products. It’s, it’s across the entire business spectrum.

[00:42:24] Andreas Dzumla: Absolutely. No, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s such a powerful market research and, and, and your own customer research, uh, tool, actually, those, and again, especially those long-tail terms, right? Like those conversation queries as well, people looking for help or whatever, but what we also see, and as exactly as you say, every client we work with, like, we have to understand their business and how people search and then buy on their site at least as good as they do to actually, to be able to then make our suggestions and then help them implement the system.

But what we, what we also see is like, sometimes you actually, you can discover new opportunities and actually clients increasingly ask us, as well, they basically say, “Okay, where is opportunity you see? But we don’t have enough products because we want to, like, where do we need more products?” Like, wow, this is so, that’s what I mean, what I found so powerful when I looked at it the first time in 2004, and we still don’t have enough tools for that.

And we’re, we’re building a solution for it, but there’s not a lot out there, really, where businesses can see, “Okay, here’s my demands. Here’s how I fulfill it currently, and here are the gaps in, in my, in my, in my supply.” And this is the new opportunity because the market’s moving faster and faster. And, and the beauty is also, if you have a system like that, you can actually make money with it at the same time. So, it’s almost paid research, right? You’re selling, but you know, there’s, if you actually make, you, you, you’re generating revenue, but then you realize, “Hey, I could generate more revenue.” I mean, that’s what Amazon does, right?

[00:43:45] Matt Bailey: Right.

[00:43:45] Andreas Dzumla: I mean, they’re basically looking at what’s selling on, on their, on their platform. What do people search, and then what products they can develop themselves to compete with their own customers, but you can actually do this on, like, on your own site. And every, every business should be able to do that.

[00:44:00] Matt Bailey: One of my favorite examples is we’re working with a business and, and not only were we working on the, the keywords, but we were looking at trends, and we were seeing that for a very specific product group, that the demand was at its highest in January-February time frame. And when we shared that with them, we were asking them, “Well, what’s your, what’s your marketing schedule? What’s your calendar look like?”

And boy, you, you know, all of a sudden, we could sense a little bit of tension in the room. And they were saying, “Well, we don’t start marketing those products until, that’s when we start, you know, our initiative.” But now they’re seeing the data where people are searching in January and February, and we’re looking at the data and, “Oh, they make their decisions in April. They start their research in January,” and, you know, and I, it was one of those great meetings because the, the CEO was just sorta like, “Well, we’ve always done it that way, so let’s keep doing it…” no. And, and he says, “Maybe, you know, let’s try.”

The next few years they shifted their entire marketing schedule to align to the trends they saw in the search data. And it was amazing the difference. I, I, I mean, I think they doubled sales because now they are ahead of the rest of the market, and this was like a traditional…

[00:45:18] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:45:19] Matt Bailey: …B2B industrial company. And just being there when the conversation was happening…

[00:45:27] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah.

[00:45:27] Matt Bailey: …just transformed the entire business.

[00:45:29] Andreas Dzumla: Oh, absolutely. I mean, and then the other thing when it comes to organic search, you have to be even a few months earlier, right? Because the amount of times, which, I mean, you would have, you wouldn’t know that from your own experience, like the amount of times you talk to people and say, “Oh,” in, in October, “We, we need to create all these new things, and then for Christmas.”

And then by the time it’s live, it’s like November. It’s like, “Well, now have a month to start ranking. Don’t think that will work.” Yeah. So, you actually have to be even, even, even earlier. Yeah, no, that’s powerful. Of course, you want to be ahead of the market.

[00:45:56] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. And, and so, yeah, I find keyword research to be an amazing source of, of searching for opportunities. It, it, but you know, like you said, it’s, it’s the amount of time and the investment to do that. That’s a little difficult sometimes to rationalize.

[00:46:13] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. To, the amount, the amount of data first you have to just process that, and then the next thing is you have to do something with it at scale. That’s, usually it’s hard.

[00:46:22] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Absolutely. Hey Andreas, this has been an amazing conversation and I really appreciate your time today.

[00:46:30] Andreas Dzumla: Well, likewise. It was really, really great to chat. Um, we have, we should have those chats more often.

[00:46:34] Matt Bailey: Absolutely. Andreas, if people want to find out more about LongtailUX, how can they find you, and, and go ahead and now give me your pitch.

[00:46:43] Andreas Dzumla: Yeah, we’re, we’re, we’re basically we’re customer acquisition platform that’s changing how businesses, uh, connect people to products and you, you can find those on longtailux.com. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, as well. So, Andreas Dzumla, D Z U M L A. There’s not a lot of people with that surname. And any questions I’m really happy, so what’s also really rewarding. So, we work with lots of large, uh, global enterprises because that’s where the biggest opportunity is. So, that’s my, my mantra, the bigger the business, the bigger the long-tail.

And it’s really, it’s really what I, what I’ve personally found very rewarding is did you really get into business strategy, you’re really talk, like, you, you have all this really, really deeper conversations. So yeah, I, I, like those conversations or the ones we have today, so yeah. Please feel free to reach out to me personally as well, but otherwise longtailux.com if you want to find out how you can take more control of your organic search, but also make your, uh, paid search and troubling ads, uh, much more efficient. Um, we’re happy to help.

[00:47:40] Matt Bailey: Great. Great. Thank you, Andreas, and, and listener, it depending upon where you are, I’m going to have a lot of links in the show notes. I’m going to have a link to, if you’ve never read the original 2004 article on the long-tail, I challenge you to, to read that because that’s the foundation. I’m going to link to Millie’s article on why no one talks about the long-tail, and then I’ll have some links to Andreas and to LongtailUX, as well. Andreas, hey, thanks again. This was such a great conversation, and yes, let’s talk again in the future.

[00:48:12] Andreas Dzumla: Sounds good. Thanks Matt. It was awesome.

[00:48:13] Matt Bailey: Alright, thank you.

[00:48:14] Andreas Dzumla: Thanks.

[00:48:16] Matt Bailey: Dear listener, thank you so much for, uh, tuning into another edition of the Endless Coffee Cup, and I challenge you to go read those articles about the long-tail. It will blow your mind, and hopefully motivate you to find out more about how people are searching and what you can learn from keywords.

So, thanks again. Again, make sure to tell someone else, give us a review, it always helps with getting the podcast in front of more people and getting a little more visibility. And always, thank you so much, listeners. You guys are great, and I love hearing from you. Bye.

[00:48:52] Bumper Intro-Outro: This podcast is heard along the Marketing Podcast Network. For more great marketing podcasts, visit marketingpodcasts.net.

Featured Guest:

Andreas Dzumla

Co-Founder, Longtail UX

LinkedIn profile: Andreas Dzumla

LongTail UX

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