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On Saturday (the day of the week when traffic to this blog is usually at its lowest), I saw a surprising surge in visits. Turned out a particular post had been linked on , and it being a slow day, the link sat on the Techmeme front all day.
When I went into my stats, I thought what I saw would make a pretty good lesson for people who don’t understand and bringing people to your site via search.
On the day in question, 427 visitors came. There were 473 visits and 763 pageviews.
But what did they look at? This blog has (well, had, on Saturday) 697 posts. So a visitor might have landed on any one of those, instead of on the home page.
The home page had 120 views, according to FeedBurner.
The post linked on Techmeme: 145 views (more than the home page).
The third most-viewed page on Saturday: 25 views (a lot less than either one of the top two pages that day).
Two additional pages were viewed more than 20 times. All others were viewed fewer than 20 times.
So here’s the math: 120 + 145 + 25 + 23 + 21 = 334. And 334 divided by 763 pageviews comes out to 44 percent.
That means 56 percent of the pageviews fell in , which is considered the secret to Amazon.com’s success — among other things.
In part, this explains why blogs that have been active longer in the various databases, such as Technorati, that are designed to rank them.
A new blog has no tail yet — or its tail is very short.
News Web sites that lock up the archives behind a paid firewall have cut off their own tail.
Those 56 percent of pageviews that fall outside the most-viewed pages of the day are not individually valuable — you couldn’t hope to get an advertiser excited about buying space on one of those pages. No, their value lies in the aggregate. The more often someone’s Google search brings him or her to my blog site, the more likely that person is to bookmark the site, or add it to an RSS reading list. And the more interesting posts found by someone who comes to the site for the first time — by the Techmeme link, for example — the more likely that person is to return in the future.
How do you build up a habitual audience in today’s information universe of random searches?
You prove again and again that you are the destination where many of their searches end.
And that, my friend, is why the content in the long tail is the most important content on your site.
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