The Psychology Behind Search

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.

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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 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’. It is because of this translation that search gets deeply complex as each person interprets events differently and describes scenarios in a different way, which leads to an extensive list of possible 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 is the practice that allows you to gaze into the minds of searchers and see how 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.” So once you have compiled the information regarding which keywords drive the most traffic to your site, you can begin to interpret searchers’ motives and make a more accurate estimation of what they hope to see on the web page they click.

What You Should Do About It!

In the blog post, The Psychology of Search Engine Optimization, you can find a couple

great examples of how various types of search queries can indicate the various intentions of a consumer. The general gist is that more vague terms such as ‘bathroom fixtures’ or ‘antique furniture’ denote an interest in learning about products and gathering information as opposed to actual purchase of a good or service. If you choose to optimize for a term of this nature, be sure to include research information on your landing page as well as some general contact information in order to maintain communication with this potential buyer and hopefully turn that person’s curiosity into a sale or a referral. However, if you choose to focus SEO efforts on a specific term such as ‘victorian velvet sofa’, you can assume the searchers for this term are later in the buying cycle and 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 in order to rev up your conversion rate and obtain a better standing with consumers.

At the most fundamental level of human nature lies the fact that people are trying to resolve conflicts of all sizes and varieties. This is what drives them to search for knowledge and purchase goods and services. With the proper understanding of this depth that drives a consumers search, your business has the potential to tap into a fresh source of conversions from your website and provide a knowledgeable means for consumers to settle those detrimental conflicts using your product or service.

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