We all use search engines from time to time, and if you are a frequent searcher you will know that at times the results returned can be quite frustrating. Is it the fault of the search engine, the websites, or the search engine optimization programs that are in place?
They are all to blame to a certain extent. You could also throw in the searcher too since their search phrase may have been vague. At present, this is the system we have. Users of search engines will be vague in their search terms. Search engines, particularly those that place a heavy emphasis on age, will often return stale, outdated or perhaps even irrelevant content. I can’t tell you how many times I have personally made a search and received results from 2005 or even older outdated information.
I often get a friend or colleague to undertake searches for me so I can monitor what terms they use and how they phrase their searches. This information can be important and very valuable to understanding the psychographic of your visitor that you might be targeting for your site.
One of the reasons that many website owners fail in their search engine optimization strategies is simply because they are too close to their own business. When they start to define keywords, they are naturally drawn to what is familiar to them. Searchers do not have that inside knowledge. They are not necessarily going to know jargon or technical terms.
A good example of this is when a customer rings up with a problem. Just getting to the seat of the problem can be a real lesson in how customers (and internet searchers) use our language to find information. If you have ever worked a customer service desk you will understand this issue.
Imagine the conversation:
“The machine isn’t working properly”
“Can you describe the problem to me”
“It makes a knocking noise”
“Where is the knocking noise coming from?”
“Somewhere inside the machine”
I could go on but you get the general idea. When searching for help this person would properly use a phrase such as “knocking noise in motor of ****”. If you have a page that handles problems and one of the problems is the knocking noise, the perhaps a long tail keyword phrase like this might be a good place to implement this.
People who use search engine seem to fall into two categories. They either enter in one or two word searches, or then enter detailed (often too detailed) phrases. Monitoring your own search activities, particularly when you are frustrated with the results, may help to define how you can best optimize your own site to snare those search terms.
Search engine optimization is often best developed by those who can stand back away from the business and develop keyword phrases on what users are likely to use; not based on what you would like them to use.