What Online Search Queries Reveal about Consumer Behavior

Is the number of search engine queries for a specific brand name, or branded keywords, such as iPad considered a good indicator for sales forecast on iPad units? Research shows that it is far more involved and complicated than this assumption.

The paper, “Brand Attitudes and Search Engine Queries,” which appears in a 2017 issue of the Journal of Interactive Marketing, poses the following findings that online marketers can leverage by using Google Trends. The free application shows the frequency with which people search online for numerous famous brand names. This information can help digital marketers understand sudden jumps in search engine queries for branded keywords they are monitoring online.

Two types of users generate online search queries for a brand name in question: active shoppers and people who already own the particular product. To accurately interpret the latter, you should know that the more owners there are of a certain brand, the higher the total search volume for that brand. This fact, however, has nothing to do with the general attitude consumers have toward the brand. Among active shoppers doing online search queries, their main tendency is to find any brand name under the category of the product they are interested in buying.

The search query volume for smartphone brand names is another issue entirely. Research indicates that a positive attitude toward the smartphone brand is the primary driver for a consumer searching for that particular brand. A positive attitude, as it relates to brand name search queries, involves these five attributes: intent to buy, purchase consideration, brand recognition, brand recall, and familiarity with the brand. Therefore, in the smartphone category alone, the frequency of online search queries for brand names can be a reliable indicator for predicting sales in any particular smartphone brand.

Some product categories generate more search engine queries before consumers decide on buying (or not buying) the product, including appliances, cars, financial services, furniture, and smartphones. Additionally, some familiar brand names (like Coca-Cola) that enjoy consistently high sales volume do not turn up a significant number of search engine queries.

Search data, which is freely available via Google Trends, is incredibly helpful in keeping an eye on the health and general marketability of a brand. Nothing replaces commissioned surveys in effectively tracking the health of a brand. However, conducting those polls may be cost-prohibitive to some business owners, as can getting enough respondents to answer them. However, passive methods of gathering information, such as interpreting analytics and brand search data, can be increasingly useful when trying to understand consumer behavior and won’t cost a ton.  I continually sign-up to receive Google Alerts on a host of branded and unbranded keywords to maintain an up-to-date view of keyword trends and recent mentions.  It’s free, so why not?

How to Target Keywords When You Already Have an Established Website

Targeting Keywords When You Already Have an Established Website

Finding the right keywords is critical in the early stages of building an eCommerce website. SEO can be a time-consuming endeavor, so you don’t want to waste time on excessively difficult or poorly converting search terms. For many site owners, though, they already have an existing website with a lot of published content. Various posts could be ranking for certain keywords, while others only require some extra promotion. Established sites can still benefit from a good keyword strategy, but the method you follow will vary from a brand new property. Before you begin, it is important to look at existing rankings. The following techniques can form the basis of your keyword strategy.

Find the Keywords You Are Currently Ranking For

Finding your current search rankings will let you prioritize your workload. There are a number of paid tools that offer detailed keyword information at the push of a button. Mondovo, Moz, SEMrush, SpyFu, and KeywordSpy allow you to input a URL and gain access to every keyword and their current and historic positions. There are various other rank tracker tools, but you may need to add your own keyword list and manually check your analytics data. For large sites with frequent content updates, ranking for a great deal of long tail terms is highly likely.

Look for the Best Opportunities

From your keyword list, decide which keywords are worth pursuing. You may have a limited number of options, but larger keyword lists can require further research. Using one of the keyword tool options, or by accessing the free Google Keyword Planner, look at the search volume for each keyword. The first page of Google, particularly the first few options, will gain the bulk of the traffic, so analyze whether you stand a good chance of beating the top ranked sites. You could install Chrome or Firefox plugins like SEOquake, MozBar, or Majestic Backlink Analyzer to study page authority and backlinks for the top listings.

Discover Long Tail Keywords

While you should find many keywords your site is ranking for, there could be various other long tail keywords you could benefit from. The Google Keyword Planner will provide a number of options, but you might need to look deeper. UberSuggest is a free tool that uses data from the Google Suggest service. There should be forums within your niche that can be helpful, with some of the questions readers ask providing titles for posts. Finally, your search facility should feature a number of less obvious search terms people are looking for,

Monitor Events Related to Your Niche

While most niches will have a number of popular keywords, there are often events that lead to new searches taking place. A news or current events story could lead to a number of new searches, providing targeted traffic with low competition in many cases. You can use the Google Trends tool to look for new activity, but it is also important to stay on top of events using industry blogs, forums, and social media accounts. These trending keywords won’t always bring long-term traffic, but can lead to a burst of activity.

While a new site allows the opportunity to develop a keyword strategy from scratch, established sites also have their own benefits. The initial research stage might uncover articles ranking for desirable keywords. Some additional promotion could then lead to one of the top search positions for a number of keywords. A new site can be more focused, but it will usually take longer to attain any prominent search terms. Selecting the right keywords can make or break an SEO campaign, so it is important to follow a strategy that works for your individual website.

Do you have anything to add on targeting keywords for an established site? Comment below.