• http://www.getmarried.com Chris Horton

    I’m impressed with the level of detail you took on this. However, I am not surprised by your findings. I have SEO on my business cards and 8 times out of 10, people ask, “What does SEO stand for?” Even businesses that own websites ask that question. However, they do know that they want to be optimized on the “search engines”, so typing it all out makes sense to them since most aren’t even familiar with the acronym outside of tech circles.

    I’ve dealt with many of the nuances of even slighter variances in terms. I’ve had clients in the wedding industry who simply couldn’t grasp that “wedding photographer” and “wedding photography” were going to produce two very different sets of results. One was looking for someone to take their wedding photos (wedding photographer). The other was most likely someone looking for tips on how to take good wedding photos (wedding photography). Even the plural versions of terms have very different sets of results (photographer vs. photographers).

    I think it’s a VERY important lesson for anyone in SEO is to consider those differences, if not THE most important lesson. Keyword research is PARAMOUNT. Google ALWAYS takes this into consideration when showing results by trying to understand the searchers intent.

  • http://www.blackballonline.com Online Marketing

    As the Online Marketing space fills up with more and more competition the Google team must cut the semantics razor thin to determine intent. SEO has historically been a cottage industry – but no more.

    As online business gets more competitive the terms Search Engine Optimization and SEO will end up evening out. This is just our opinion but people are inherently lazy and SEO is easier to search for. :) Once Search Engine Optimization goes mainstream – which happens more everyday – these numbers should level out. That being said, the information you provided here is eye opening and thought provoking as well. It’s all in the timing and the trends. Thanks for being so thorough.

  • http://searchengineland.com/giving-customers-what-they-want-a-search-behavior-analysis-45171 Mark Sprague

    Chris – your observations are right on the money. Most businesses in the US are not technology based. They are insurance agencies, restaurants, retail outlets, construction firms and shoe stores – just to name a few. These firms, in droves, are trying to figure out their website strategies, and are having a hard time of it. They often don’t know what what SEO means, nor do they know what a SERP is. Their ability to sort out keyword stratgies is almost non-existent, and many resort to guessing what keywords might be good for them.

    This kind of analysis is exactly what these small businesses need to help them sort out their website strategies, but they mostly don’t know that this kind of help is available.

    You also see behavior differences in many other areas. For example, the Lawyer / Lawfirm dynamic is very differnt. You also see the same thing in the Doctor / Physician data sets.

    Online Marketing – Search Engine Optimization is clearly trending down, and SEO is trending up. I doubt though that they will even out. I think that some of what we are seeing here is how people actually do research. That is they iterate their searches in a single session to see what else they can find. This is why datasets can be so variable – Google clearly pays attention to the behavior in a session.

    Mark Sprague