Thinking About Evolving Search Behavior

birds-thinkingI had an interesting conversation with a friend recently about kids in school in these modern times. We were reminiscing on how we had to collect information for school reports – libraries, old magazines, microfiche, interviews with experts and encyclopedias.

Neither of us have high school aged children, but now it seems kids just need to Google it and maybe purchase a reference on Amazon. Information surrounds us wherever we go.

We. Google. Everything.

We Google things we want to know more about. We Google people, news, questions, health facts, directions, businesses, videos, things to make us laugh, ex-boyfriends, the weather, answers to math questions, recipes and so much more.

The way we search is constantly evolving. In this Search Engine Journal article, the author speaks to Duane Forrester’s (Sr. Product Manager at Bing) breakdown of the new ‘search session’. We no longer type in a ‘one-and-done’ search. Instead, we make a series of searches, open multiple tabs and we rework our search terms until we feel we have found the perfect keywords to show us the best results.

Search is about the whole picture, now more than ever

So if that is how you and I search, why are we still optimizing for the one-and-done search? Each of those modified searches is part of the new search experience. The one-and-done search is now more about the entire experience. Meta descriptions, author markups, social media presence, page load time, multiple pieces of content marketing, user experience and design are a bigger factors than ever in the ‘search process’.

So what can you do to be prepared for new search behaviors?

  • Take stock of the whole picture your company is showing the world.
  • If there is a term you NEED to be found for, be found by multiple sources (your website, news, guest blogs, social media).
  • Be aware of the search landscape, how people find your site and of what makes them buy from you. You can find a lot of information in your site’s analytics to help you get a clearer picture of how people find you and move through the funnel. You also can learn a lot from your customers and your sales team about what value customers saw in your company that made them choose you over your competition.
  • Be clever. This title tag change from Infinum was brought to my attention from our designer. See below (or on their site) how the title tag changes when you click to a different tab in your browser. Clever.
    title-change

Search engines have changed – they have become more personal and show varied results. Searchers behaviors have changed, we no longer do the one-and-done search. What we use search engines for has changed. We need to adapt to these changes or we may be left in the dust. It may be time to rethink your company’s search experience and think less about keywords and rankings.

photo credit: dicktay2000 via photopin cc