How Google is changing the way customers search

Google Instant is something that we’ve all become accustomed to and to be honest it’s a pretty nifty little feature which saves a ton of time when searching. But have you ever wondered how this might be influencing customer search behaviour?

We have noticed a lot of difference in plural and singular search volumes since Google instant was introduced back in 2010 and we often get asked about this by our clients. Let’s take treadmills as an example. If we look at the Google Trends data, we can see a clear divide between the popularity of the word ‘treadmill’ vs ‘treadmills’ over the last 5 years in the UK. Surely the volume for the singular and plural version should be similar?

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When we look at the recommendations Google is making when we start typing, we get some clues as to why this might be happening. There’s no sign of the word ‘treadmills’.

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Why you should care?

Understanding search behaviour is one of the fundamentals of SEO. If you want your content to perform in natural search then you need to target the right search queries and understand the trends. In this case you really need to be focused on the word ‘treadmill’ rather than ‘treadmills’ and adding this to your product titles, headings and copy.

Admittedly, Google is getting better at understanding content and matching that to a closely related group of terms. In fact you’d probably think it treats singular and plural terms the same but that isn’t always the case. In our experience there’s no substitute for targeting the right keyword.

Opportunities

You can use Google’s search suggest data to mine for valuable keyword sets and explore strategies for content creation. This can be pretty time consuming but luckily there are a couple of really good tools out there that make short work of this process. Both Ubersuggest and Keywordtool.io offer quick access to this data and you can even get API access if you’re a fancy pants who likes to automate this kind of thing. 

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In fact this is something the SEO team at NetBooster does at the start of its SEO campaigns during the opportunity analysis phase. By combining data from Google’s keyword planner and search suggest keywords, as well as Webmaster Tools, we can create a rich tapestry of search query data which allows us to gain valuable market insights and identify opportunities in natural search.

NetBooster, Your Digital Performance Architects 

If you’d like to talk to NetBooster about what our digital marketing campaigns can do for your business, get in touch!