Owning the highest volume phrases in your industry is almost certainly valuable and each industry has these core key phrases that more people search first when they sit down at Google. Here are some examples of a core phrase for three different industries: “dedicated server”, “IT services” or “New York Dog Walking”. Here are examples of a long tail phrase for the same industry:”Fedora Server leased unlimited bandwidth”, “getting blackberry to work with Outlook San Francisco” or “dog walking service upper east side Manhattan”. Although these sorts of phrases get far less traffic, they often convert to customers better. Furthermore, all the long tail phrases, when added together, can equal or exceed the conversions that you’d get from owning the core phrase. In the graph below, the area under the long tail of this graph has as much volume as the area at the head
One of the reasons core phrases have more volume is simply the nature of how people search. We tend to type one search, and if we don’t find the results we expect right at the time, then we type in another phrase instead of drilling down in the search result pages. For instance, imagine you were traveling to New York and type “hotel new york” and see hotel super sites, hotels in Albany and a hotel in Midtown Manhattan in the search results. You might realize that you need to be more specific. So you type “hotel upper east side new york city” and, even still, the results aren’t what you expect because you’re finding rooms for $450 a night! So you finally type “hotel upper east side new york city inexpensive” and find the Marriott Courtyard near the FDR at 92nd Street and you book your room. So in this case, the core phrase and the long tail phrases were searched, but ultimately, the long tail phrase got the conversion.