SEO And The Long Tail – How Jon Hamm Keeps Bringing New Visitors To My Site

by Randy Murray on September 23, 2010

On October 15th of last year I published a piece about Using Photos And Illustrations. I thought it was a good piece and it garnered a pretty good readership at the time. In it I used two sample photos: one of Steve Jobs and one of the actor Jon Hamm.

What has caught my eye since then is how many times this article shows up in my web logs. And it’s not because of my suggestions on how to properly use photos and illustrations. It’s because people are interested in Hamm and the AMC TV series Mad Men. In fact, I mentioned Hamm by name five times in the article. And the photo itself is extensively tagged, too.

I was not intentionally using Hamm’s name as a keyword, but for some reason, it’s taken on a life of its own. And when the Emmy awards came around this year, traffic spiked for several days. Every week people search for “jon hamm” and find their way here. I’m not really sure how people searching for Jon Hamm are finding my site. It ranks VERY low on Google – I can’t even find the listing. But people are regularly finding their way to my site because of it. I’m sure they’re as confused as I am.

But what this does show is how the Long Tail works for search and SEO. While most people will concentrate on clear search terms and take the first results that Google delivers up to them, others will search with what makes sense to themselves alone. And because of that, they find themselves here. That means that those who optimize their search term for a vary narrow search are missing out. People are searching in the oddest ways and using their own ways of thinking and writing. The only way you’ll get to your desired audience would be to publish really good content as frequently as possible. Publish no less frequently than once a week and ideally, five days a week or more.

Here are the top three searches for my site:

  2. iPad Universal Remote
  3. Jon Hamm

The Spend Nothing Game, my most popular post and series, is number five in searches, just after searches for “First Today, Then Tomorrow”.

I have no ideal why someone would search for “” rather than just go to the URL. It’s like searching for “Google” to go to  Some are searching for “jon hamm” and Jon Hamm iPhone”. But even with that, they’d have to page through results to get to me.

But no matter. I’m not writing a blog about Jon Hamm, Mad Men, actors, or guys in hats (although that is a particularly nice hat). So all of those people who find their way to this site because they’re interested in Jon Hamm will likely be disappointed.

So I’m inserting another Jon Hamm picture here for those of you who came here for that. People often stop me on the street and tell me that I look nothing like him.

For the rest of you, pay attention to what you include in your content. You don’t have to shape everything to your list of keywords, but you should be aware of not only what your potential readers or customer are looking for, but how they’re looking for it. And expand your horizons. There’s more than one way to look for Jon Hamm. I suspect there’s more than one way people can look for you, too.

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The SEO And The Long Tail – How Jon Hamm Keeps Bringing New Visitors To My Site by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eddie September 23, 2010 at 11:25 am

I, too, am fascinated by the ebb and flow of search traffic. One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that your blog never ends up being about what you initially meant for it to be about.

I also notice cyclical patterns with search traffic. It’s not unusual to see spikes for posts after some of the big blogger boys and gals publish something relating to a topic I’ve already covered — or if a meme relating to one of my older posts gets momentum.

Google is a powerful force in the world. Ultimately, their algorithms, along with your readers and inbound links, decide what your blog is really about. You don’t get to, but that’s okay. It’s just how the knowledge economy works. :)


2 Randy Murray September 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

That’s a keen insight: you don’t get to choose what your blog is about.


3 Mari September 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

What a great post. Just like Dickens: you’ve woven seemingly unrelated information into a strong fabric. Your words are sure to be adored by the search engines. Plus you made me laugh. Thanks!


4 Randy Murray September 24, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Thanks, Mari (Jon Hamm)!


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