CHAPTER 2: HOW PEOPLE REALLY INTERACT WITH SEARCH ENGINES
Build your site around your users, not Search Engines
If you are going to build an internet marketing strategy using SEO, you must understand your audience. Find out what your preferred audience is seeking and deliver it!
Do not build for search engines, but instead build for visitors if you want to succeed. You must understand that people are often going to be making one of three kinds of queries listed below:
1) Those involving something that they want to do, like buying a ticket
2) Those involving something they want to know, like finding the location of a city
3) Those involving navigation, like wanting to know how to get to the home page of a business
When someone gets to your site after typing a search query, are they going to like what they have discovered and find it useful? That satisfaction is what a search engine is seeking to fulfill billions of times daily. So you must understand the process of the average user, which goes a little like this:
- The user first discovers that an answer or piece of data is needed.
- The user makes a query, which is just a phrase that expresses the need.
- The query is put into the search engine.
- There are results that the user must browse through.
- A result gets clicked on.
- The site is scanned by the user to see if it solves the issue or provides a link that does.
- The search engine will be returned to if this is an unsatisfactory site, and new browsing commences.
- The query may be refined if the right info is not produced by the first few sites.
The New Marketing Necessity: Search Engine Optimisation
Not all websites are created equal. Some do a better job than others in converting visitors to customers. It is also no secret that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can avoid wasteful expenditures in sales and marketing where internet traffic is simply not getting directed where it needs to be. SEO provides a cost-effective means to get that traffic focused.
Perhaps the best way to get this point across is to present the results of studies that illustrate customer patterns, the influence commonly-used search engines have on internet traffic, and how businesses are spending their money in internet marketing.
- A Few internet study in 2011 has shown that the percentage of adults who use search engines daily has steadily increased from about 33% in 2002 to about 59%. The figure is closer to 61% for those who use email on a daily basis.
- Similarly, Burke’s 2011 report proclaimed internet searches as the “New Yellow Pages,” where three-quarters of those surveyed preferred search engines to printed listings. The report by Burke went on to say that two-thirds had used search engines in the past thirty days for local information where only a quarter said that they had used other sources.
- Internationally, StatCounter Global Stats reported on the five biggest search engines sending traffic the world over. Google comes in at a tremendous 90.62% followed by Yahoo, Bing, Jeeves, and Baidu at 3.78%, 3.72%, 0.36% and 0.35% respectively.
- Another notable occurrence is the percentage of people visiting a website who access a link to a particular advertisement. This measurement, known as click-through rate, has heads turning as well. Slingshot SEO conducted a study in 2011 that indicated that Google searches result in an 18.2% click-through rate. Bing produced a respectable 9.7% click-through rate.
- As if that’s not enough, as it’s said, money talks. According to a 2011 Forrester report, online marketing costs approached $77 billion or about 26% of all advertising budgets combined. Search engines are becoming more and more important to marketing and sales in each passing day. Marketing is no longer a visual experience with banner graphics, ads, signs, and posters. It has become highly technical and intertwined with how people use the internet, namely, through search engines.
Given this emphasis on search engines, when a customer does a search, businesses want their name to be at the top the list. That is where SEO comes in. SEO provides a systematic approach to optimising one’s websites such that the top of the list is attainable. It is becoming evident that when it comes to bang for the buck in internet marketing, optimising one’s website for search engines is definitely the way to go.