Real Estate SEO and the Long Tail – What in the World is That?

Ever hear of the “Long Tail?”

It’s the name of a book written by Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson.

Stick with me here because this is really important if you have any plans to see your real estate business succeed online, especially with the help of the search engines.

The basic premise of the book is that the mass market is beginning to dissolve and is being replaced by many, many mini-markets or niche markets.

Sounds pretty obvious right?

If you were to draw a picture of it, this trend would resemble a shape similar to the tail of a comet. There are a few big players (the popular businesses that market to the mainstream) at the head followed by a long tail made up of an almost endless trail of little players or niches.

The long tail is about specialization and the importance of specialization in a market where almost every internet connected individual can get to almost anything they want.

Let’s take the world of internet marketing as an example because the whole idea is very easy to see. The specialization happened in a very short period of time.

Only a few years ago, there was a small handful of internet marketing experts. Believe it or not, these experts specialized in “internet marketing.”

Things are different these days. Now we’ve got search engine experts, pay-per-click experts, article marketing experts, ezine experts and on and on and on…

And another round of subdivision is already beginning. There are experts specializing in just one pay-per-click engine, experts in bid management software, click fraud specialists, etc. It’s almost like a niche within a niche, or as Chris Anderson would say, a tail within a tail.

What the heck does this have to do with real estate, your real estate website and real estate search engine optimization?


If you are new to the internet and search engine stuff, you might not know that most successful websites only get about 25%-50% of their traffic from their main keywords. If your main keyword phrase is “chicago real estate” and you somehow manage to get a top ranking for it, it would still only be responsible for a fraction of your boat loads of traffic.

Where will the other 50% of your traffic come from?

From the “long tail” of course. The hundreds and thousands of other keyword phrases that relate to “chicago real estate.” Those keyword phrases that represent the thousands of niche markets within the giant world of Chicago real estate.

If I were looking to move to the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, would I go to Google and choose a Realtor specializing in Chicago real estate or would I choose one that specializes in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago?

Easy answer…

I would choose the person that I perceive to be the expert. People gravitate towards true expertise.

The whole Long Tail thing is a big topic with BIG potential for your real estate business on the internet. And I can’t really do it justice in one article.

So here’s my quick advice:

You need to pick a point along the “long tail” and stay put. You need to pick a niche and be THE expert. The smaller the niche, the deeper your expertise can go and the more quickly you will rise to the top.

The earlier you adopt this mindset, the better off you will be. Most Realtors haven’t caught on to this idea and probably won’t for a long time.

Use that to your advantage!

You can either lead or follow. (Hint, leaders earn more 🙂

So sit down and ask yourself, “How can I become more of a specialist? Where can I be THE expert? What niche can I completely dominate?”

Jason Leister, the Real Estate Technology and Marketing Guru ™, is owner of Computer Super Guy, LLC, a technology firm that helps real estate professionals market their businesses.

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