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Google’s Super Bowl Ad Vs. Real Search Behavior

February 8th, 2010 | | Basic SEO Tips, Search Behavior

The Google Super Bowl ad yesterday during the third quarter was interesting and pleasant. It was a good example of how Google could answer all of your questions. The reality of Google’s Super Bowl ad is that it makes searching look far too easy to the normal user. Those of us in the search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) industry have an advanced knowledge of how the search engines work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “You think like a search engine.” We usually can string together a few keywords that will return exactly what we’re looking for. But, how many Google users actually search like that?

Keywords Give Insight

Looking at your keyword data will give you an idea of what level of users are coming to your site. You could certainly attempt to optimize to phrases similar to these (not these specific phrases, remember you’re already ranking for them). If you compare the level of keywords that converted on your site will also tell you a lot of information about who is really interested in your product. Your business could then adjust the rest of their marketing to that demographic. That may not be the whole answer.

Landing Page, But Then What?

By looking at the keywords, you’ve observed the search behavior of how users got to your site. Now, what happens once they are there and how does that correlate with what keyword phrase they used to find your site? Did they navigate around your site a lot or go directly to the conversion point? When navigating your site, did their choice of pages reflect the keyword phrase they used? What changes in your navigation or content could better assist those who didn’t find what they were looking for initially? This portion of users should be fairly small and drastic measures should not be made to accommodate them, but they are important to consider and will help you understand your customers. Eric posted some great questions a while back to determine the search behavior of SEOBoy’s users.

Brick and mortar business have the luxury of knowing their customers in person. Those of us in the search industry or those who use search tactics need to rely on the insight above to discover what our users are doing. Usually, they aren’t using the perfectly neat and clean phrases depicted in the Google Super Bowl commercial, nor are the results that clear cut. Others in the industry have questioned why Google ran the ad in the first place.

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