It’s critical that you understand the dynamics of “The Long Tail” as introduced to us by Chris Anderson. Seth points out if you have a choice between making a hit (a point in the head of the curve) or an alternate choice well out on the long tail, go for the hit. BUT, he also points out the reality that you usually don’t have a choice. Extreme competition up in the head is indeed harsh.
What to do? Although the competition in the head makes it very difficult to ever have a “hit” … or, more specifically, to plan a hit … the competition down in the long tail is quite light. I may not be able to get a top 10 ranking for the phrase “buy life insurance” (using Seth’s example), but it should be pretty easy to get a decent rank on the long tail phrase “Bolivian Sushi“.
Sooooo, here’s the question; “Which is better? A million visits coming from a single “hit” phrase in the head? … OR, a million visits coming from 950,000 less popular phrases out along the long tail?” I think the obvious answer is, “they’re both the same.” Although the former requires a lot of fortuitousness, the latter requires a lot of content, planning and time commitment.
Bottom line; Tapping into the long tail can be hard work, but you get to control your own destiny. Crossing your fingers and hoping for a hit is much more risky.
Anyone up for sushi tonight?