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The Psychology of Search

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 12 May, 2015
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How do your prospects really search? New research shows the need to go beyond simplistic keyword lists

This new research from Blue Nile is aimed at helping marketers better understand how people search online and to understand the patterns in how they formulate their searches through questions. For example, do they search using single words or short phrases or through longer questions including words such as 'How', 'When' and 'Which'? The research found that such question-based queries were common:

'27% of respondents phrased their query in the form of a question, with ‘How’ being the most commonly used prefix.'

Can the Google Keyword Planner be misleading?

When using Google Keyword Planner, you need to seed the tool with one keyword or a short phrase. But the results returned often don't include the questions since they are diverse and their volumes are relatively low. So if you limit your understanding of search behaviour to this tool you could be missing out on understanding how people search.

For example, when looking at the term 'coffee maker does not turn on'  it shows short, generic recommendations only:

Coffee query search

After reviewing the findings from the research, respondents who were looking for this type of information, used the search phrases below rather than those provided in Google Keyword planner:Coffee maker examples - keyword research

How did the respondents search by words?

The findings show that using two words was most common when searching, but many people do use more words in their searches. It's important to take this into account with planning your SEO.
Searches By Number of Words - Bluenileresearch

 How do searches look for answers to their questions or problems?

38% of searches use 'How' in their queries and 24% using 'Why'. This helps to understand what consumers are looking for and where they are in the buyer cycle - are they at the exploratory stage with 'Why questions' and need information to inform or educate or ready to buy?

Searcher Query Preference

Read more about the 'Psychology of the Search'.

Image/Copyright: Blue Nile Research 
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