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The Psychology Behind Search

Date published: July 19, 2010
Last updated: July 19, 2010

In the realm of SEO it seems that we often get lost in the numbers, after all, it is a numbers game right? What is this keyword’s current Google ranking? How many visitors did this page receive last month? What percentage of searches were conducted through each browser?

But sometimes it’s helpful to take a step back and consider why potential customers are conducting a search in the first place. The more you know about the psychology behind searchers’ motives, the more adept you will be at converting those leads into sales.

Why The Psychology Behind Search?

According to BG Theory’s, The Psychology of Search, “People don’t go to a search engine to browse the web. They go there because they have a question to be answered.” The questions are limitless but the reasoning is simple. A piece of information is missing and someone wants to find it. However, most people don’t instantly think in words. They think in pictures and concepts that are then translated into words, known as ‘keywords’ or ‘search queries’. This causes search to get deeply complex because everyone thinks differently. This leads to an extensive list of keywords that consumers may search for in regards to your company. Prospective customers are looking for answers and you have the opportunity to provide those answers for the maximum number of relevant search queries.

What Are Searchers Looking For?

Keyword research allows you to see how searchers they have translated their thoughts into actual searches. Brian Clark, author of The 5 Essential Elements of Search Engine Keyword Research, explains, “Being able to take a look at the words and phrases people use when looking for things online is invaluable. Rather than listening to people say what they think they might do, you get to observe what they actually did.” Once you know which keywords drive the most traffic, you can begin to interpret searchers’ motives. You will also be able to make a better estimation of what they hope to see on the page they click.

What You Should Do About It!

In the blog post, The Psychology of Search Engine Optimization, there are examples of how search queries indicate the intentions of a consumer. Vague terms like ‘bathroom fixtures’ or ‘antique furniture’ denote an interest in learning about products as opposed to actual purchase of a good or service. If you choose to optimize for a term of this nature, include research information on your page. Also include general contact information to maintain communication with this potential buyer. Then hopefully turn that person’s curiosity into a sale or a referral.

If you focus SEO efforts on a specific term such as ‘victorian velvet sofa’, you can assume the searchers are later in the buying cycle. Subsequently, you should have “buy now” type of options available. Website organization must be catered to the keywords that are getting the most people to your web page. This is the way to gain conversions and obtain a better standing with consumers.

People are constantly trying to resolve conflicts of all forms. This drives them to search for knowledge and purchase goods and services. Knowing the depth that drives a consumers search will enable your business to have more conversions from your website. Your business will also be able to provide knowledgeable means for consumers to settle conflicts using your product or service.

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