Blue Nile Research has carried out research into how online searchers formulate their queries and has come up with some interesting findings.
During its research, Blue Nile found an even split of 50-50 between users who search in fragments and those whose searches are more fully formed in respect of the terms they use. One of the scenarios tested was a health problem, or, more specifically, a swollen ankle. Using that scenario, Blue Nile suggested that a fragmentary search might be the term “swollen ankle” and a term more fully formed might be “causes of swollen ankle during sleep.”
Findings on the use of questions as opposed to statements revealed that 27 per cent of those surveyed entered a query in the form of a question and that the most common prefix used was “how.”
Blue Nile’s research implies no obvious clustering pattern to the way in which users phrase their searches. The implication for online marketers is that they need to understand first how their audience is conducting searches before they can even begin to think of strategy and targeted content writing.
Typically, search marketers deploy keyword research tools – Google’s Keyword Planner being one such example – to find which keywords apply to the industry they are looking to optimize for. This method can certainly help in identifying new keywords, but as an approach used on its own, it has a tendency to come up with phrases similar to the ones used in the first place. As a result of this flaw, assumptions made initially about the way in which a user might conduct a search are replicated across the entire research process. The problem is made worse by the tendency of keyword tools to be substandard at suggesting more specific, long tail queries.
The research shows clearly that diversity in human identity translates into online searches. The challenge for marketers, therefore, is to develop strategies that will appeal to a wide audience with diverse interests and to ensure that writing services compose content that is in line with the answers that the target audience is looking for. Another thing to remember is that the more pages there are on a website, the more likely it is that some page will meet the needs of a particular searcher.