Online Search Behaviors: Tips to Help People Find You

, , ,

When people search online, regardless of what browser they use, they will end up on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and must sift through the results to find what they’re looking for. How do they do that and, more importantly, how do they find you? If they know about your organization already, then they will know how to find you. Otherwise, there are several online search behaviors they may engage in to help them locate for which they’re looking. 

Pogo Sticking

The first and one of the most common online search behaviors is called pogo sticking. This is when someone does a search, clicks on a result, doesn’t like what they see and goes back to the search results page. The good news is that Google says this does not affect how your page may be ranked. However, this does mean that the user doesn’t feel like your page meets their needs. This could be for several reasons and most of these you can address. On the technical side, a bad experience with slow site speed, too many ads or auto-play videos that make the page difficult to navigate can drive users away. These are technical attributes that you can fix with good website design that is user-friendly. The other side is how your content is framed. Your content needs to address what the user is looking for, be well written and be free of grammatical errors, difficult to read fonts and clickbait terms.

Pearl Growing

Another common search behavior is called pearl growing. This is when a user enters a search term and don’t see what they’re looking for in the search results page. Much like a pearl adding on layers, they will start to tweak their term by doing more research until they find exactly what they’re looking for. Almost 20% of searches result in a change to the search term without clicking on any results. Your organization can address this kind of behavior with your own research. Figure out what search terms people are using to find you. They may be different from what you think. We all have company and industry jargon that we use on a regular basis. This kind of research may help you figure out if you need to move away from those terms or lean more into them. 

Narrow Focus Search

The last online search behavior is called a narrow focus search. While many people start broad and then narrow their search terms, others start with a narrow focus. Maybe they’re looking for a private school that offers a STEM program and study abroad opportunities or a credit union with a vacation savings plan. This search is very narrow from the beginning since the user knows what they are seeking. While these long-tail keywords may not bring you millions of hits, they will bring you more qualified hits. Nearly 25% of all search volume happens outside of the top 100 million keywords. Focus on your niche and share what makes your organization unique. This is the time to show what sets you apart from your competition. 

There are many search behaviors that people engage in when searching online and each come with their own challenges. Regardless of which behavior they choose, by creating a user-friendly website that runs efficiently and includes content with user-centric terms that shares what makes your organization unique, you can help increase your website’s ranking making it easier for customers to find you. If you want to learn more, please reach out to Chartwell Agency. We’ll be happy to help.