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The joke of long tail search keywords

On this blog and on Visual Website Optimizer‘s blog, we get a lot of long tail search visitors. The term long tail is borrowed from power-law like distributions, wherein a small number of elements make up for the most volume while a large number of different elements make up for lesser volume. The latter one is called “long tail” and here is how it looks:

You see I love Split Testing blog is all about (duh) split testing. And I expect search engines to send to the blog people looking for things related to split testing. Of course, a bonus for us, search engines can also send visitors looking for related topics such as SEO, online marketing, web analytics, etc. However, some of the visitors we get from Google were searching for completely different things. Sample some of the following keywords where our blog is apparently ranked highly on Google:

  • conversion statistics rodents of unusual size
    (whoa! Why would Google rank our blog for this term? Why would someone search it in the first place?)
  • world optimizer
    (So, now VWO can optimize the world too?)
  • Enjoy a bit of downtime
    (Google, you should read and understand this)
  • why do you split 8s
    (I have no idea what this means)
  • excuses for not performing well
    (We do A/B testing, not self help book publishing)
    (a potential startup idea!)
  • can you have the same website at two different URLs
    (a honest question for sure, but “A/B testing” would have actually scared this visitor)
  • bouncing sidebar
    (Google probably mixed up bounce rate, and sidebar case studies)
  • how can I give feedback to their ideas
    (may be first try A/B testing your feedback on other people?)

The point of this post isn’t to belittle Google’s job. It is a fantastic search engine and does amazingly job in long term searches. The humorous queries above constitute <2% of total search volume we get.

But, still, it is always good to see such queries in web logs. Makes up for a good laugh. Plus, gives a room for improvement in (now) slow-moving search industry.


  1. Splitting 8s pertains to the card game blackjack

    We see a lot of weird longtail too

    Comment by gibbo — May 22, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

  2. If it helps, splitting 8s is related to blackjack basic strategy. Combined you have 16, but you’re allowed to split them and play two hands (requiring an equal bet on your “new” hand). You hope for two face cards to make 18 on each or aces, but whatever you get is a better option than what you started with (even another 8, if they allow to split that again). it’s so basic you have to wonder about this person being allowed to have real money in the first place. :)

    Comment by John B — May 22, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

  3. “why do you split 8s” is a question about the basic strategy of playing blackjack. You always split a pair 8s but it doesn’t intuitively feel right in some cases, although the mathematics of the game support it.

    Comment by biggambler — May 22, 2010 @ 11:08 pm

  4. “why do you split 8s
    (I have no idea what this means)”

    He’s asking about blackjack strategy. :)

    Comment by Bryan — May 22, 2010 @ 11:26 pm

  5. [...] The joke of long tail search keywords ( [...]

    Pingback by Understanding SEO Long Tail Search Tactics | Sue Scaletta Blog — July 17, 2010 @ 6:14 am

  6. Interesting post. Have you ever separated your long tail traffic from your head traffic and measured the conversions?

    Comment by CROchat — August 14, 2010 @ 12:59 am

  7. Just a heads up.

    Bots find websites on Google search. The terms that a bot uses will not, in most cases, make any sense at all.

    I’d like to work out how to get conversions from bots! That’s for another article somewhere!?

    Paul Thomas

    Comment by Paul Thomas — September 6, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  8. How about an update on these – some of them where quite funny :-)

    For my part, one thing I find a bit curious is that danish users sometimes find me by searching for “visual website optimizer”. I haven’t done any SEO or anything, other than having mentioned you in some of my blog posts (e.g. and

    Odd… :-)

    Comment by Michael — February 12, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

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