It is well known in SEO that the long tail of search holds significant value from a traffic and conversion viewpoint. The long tail generally converts better because visitors enter the site on terms that are more detailed thus suggesting they are further along in the buying cycle and more prepared to make a purchase.
With regard to traffic levels, the effect of the long tail is largely dependent upon the nature and size of the product range. The two main determinants of traffic will be the volume of product pages within a site as well as the search friendliness of the product names and descriptions. If for example your product range includes lesser known brands or has poor awareness then your long tail is less likely to generate significant value unless you take extra efforts to position your products correctly. For this reason websites that stock well known brands and products with strong awareness are typically much more likely to benefit from the long tail of search.
Although such websites are naturally in a stronger position this does not mean that the rest of us should take a long sigh and give up. It is all about understanding what terms your potential customers are likely to be using to search for your products and then changing on-site SEO content accordingly. For example say you are a new start-up selling perfume and currently your product names are (don’t laugh):
So I may be wrong but I’m guessing that (apart from loyal customers) not many people will be searching for these product names when they are looking for their next high end perfume purchase. So another way to name these products would be to use descriptive words that describe each individual perfume. For example:
Lost summers: Vibrant and zesty perfume
Underarm Charm: Quality deodorant
Floral Fantasy: Luxurious lavender and mixed flower perfume
Adding descriptive words such as these to product names, URL’s, headings, page titles and Meta descriptions will maximise the search impact of your product range and help you earn money from product pages.
One handy technique to optimise to continually improve your long tail is to undergo monthly audits pinpointing the top 20-50 long tail search terms. Once this has been achieved simply tweak the content of these pages to ensure they are even more focused towards the long tail terms they are getting rank for.