Customer queries can be loosely classified into the head, body, or tail, depending on how often the query occurs. In other words, how popular is the query based on how many people search for the same thing within a time period. Most large retailers focus on optimizing head queries (the most popular ones). It’s a good place to start, and necessary, but if the tail is not being optimized then a lot is being left to chance and that makes us nervous. Very nervous.
Each tail query may only get a handful of searches per month, but if you study tail queries and find a way to fix whole groups of them in one or two broad strokes then customer satisfaction and revenue goes up. It’s not the one specific tail query that is important (a common point of confusion with this topic), but it’s the elements contained within a poorly performing tail query that we use to fix search and data patterns.
After we identify a specific issue we can look across the entire query stream to see how big an issue it is (how many queries are affected) and prioritize fixes. By fixing tail queries and showing you’re listening to your customers, they will be encouraged to keep searching specifically, telling you exactly what they want.