The Long Tail of Search is Much Longer Than Expected

We’re still discovering that the depth of search has yet to be determined, which should provide comfort to those who believe that keyword search is but one part of an eventual landscape that offers multitudes of opportunity for startups. Having said that, the dynamics of mass market brand recognition still exist and it will be increasingly difficult for a search engine to break out without having a strong distribution partner to help them.

Building a new user base for a search service is a tough prospect, taking search to an existing user base much more appealing.

According to Woodard, the long tail of search is in fact far longer than most other reports have assumed. The top 100 search terms account for 5.7% of all search traffic and include keywords like ‘myspace,’ ‘google,’ ‘bank of america,’ and ‘ yahoo mail.’ Those numbers are not unexpected. However, the top 1,000 search terms only account for 10.6% of all search traffic, and even the top 10,000 search terms only drive 18.5% of all search traffic.

[From Hitwise - The Long Tail of Search is Much Longer Than Expected - NYTimes.com]