Long tail search engine marketing refers to the practice of drawing vistors to a website by targeting less popular search queries. "The Long Tail" in SEM refers to the bottom 80% of keywords or phrases related to a product or service.
These may include misspellings of popular keywords, variations in plurization or word order, or simply more unusual phrasing. These search terms, though less frequently utilized, have the advantage of being less competitive and are more easily targetable. Marketing to the long tail may seem like a shot in the dark, but it has one very compelling advantage: it's where the majority of the traffic lies. In the 2004 article which coined the term, Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson surmised that the collective market for products in relatively low demand actually exceeds the market for the highest demand products. The lower cost and greater reach of internet business therefore makes marketing to the long tail more profitable to online distributors like Amazon, who generate most of their sales from niche or low-demand products.
The SEM implications of this theory are profound. As the internet marketplace becomes more crowded, online consumers increasingly grow more sophisticated in their search, refining their queries to more easily get what they want. Long tail search engine marketing therefore becomes a bit like prospecting, divining which combinations of keywords users will dream up next in order to effectively capture all audiences and drive them to your business.