Research Reveals The Distinct Ways Users Search

Although it is among the first tasks completed in the search marketing journey, keyword analysis is arguably its most crucial element. The keywords the marketer chooses will go a long way to defining the success of the program, from visits to engagement to revenue.

Traditional keyword research — using data sources such as our own website analytics, keyword tools such as Google Keyword Planner, and external tools such as Ubersuggest — is an important part of a thorough keyword research process.

In reality, however, this only provides an adjacent look at how others might be searching based on our starting term (or in the case of analytics, how searchers are arriving at our website through terms for which we already rank). This is valuable in its own right, but it is ultimately limited in helping us gain a true picture of how searchers might be looking for our product or service.
Half Search In Fragments, Half In Full Queries

Ironically, the most interesting insight from the study is from a simple 50-50 pie chart. The chart shows exactly half of all respondents search in “fragments” (2-3 words), while half search using “full queries” (4+words). 

This split, and the follow-up analysis of the individual responses across all searcher scenarios, reveals two distinct approaches searchers take in resolving an information gap:

Throw It Against The Wall And See What Sticks (Fragment Query)

This searcher is focused on “speed of search” and inputs the minimum amount of information into the search box. They are willing to peruse the search results, click into multiple links to discover the information they are looking for, and follow up with a more specific search if necessary.

Be Specific Out Of The Gate (Full Query)

This searcher is focused on “depth of search” and takes an extra moment to best phrase their query, with the hopes they will find what they are looking for in one click, towards the top of the search results.
Our Audiences Are Comprised Of Distinct Individuals

When we look at this from a slightly different angle and break the responses down into number of words, we see no single query length represents as much as a third of respondents. This finding strongly suggests that users very much search in distinct, individual ways. This suggests an imperative for marketers to understand the distinct nuances of their own audiences.

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