Chapter 4. How Searchers Work
Management Would Be Easy…If It Weren't for the People is the whimsical title of Patricia J. Addesso's excellent book (American Management Association, 1996). Similarly, search marketing would be a lot easier if we did not have to worry about those pesky searchers.
You know the best search query to use to find your hit product, but searchers might not. Searchers might not know your product's name, or might not be able to spell it. Or they might not know that you call them "notebook computers" because they think of them as "laptops." If you optimize your pages for "notebook computers," you sure are going to miss a lot of those "laptop" searchers.
Searchers are not experts. They are not experts in what is on your Web site. They are not even experts on how to search. If you are expecting them to be, then they will continue to use search to find their answersthey just will not find them from you! One of the hardest things about any kind of marketing (and search marketing is no different) is to put yourself in your customer's shoes. You might know how to find the information on your site, but searchers do not. Your searchers are probably not like you, because you know a lot more than they do about searching and you especially know more about your Web site.
The preceding two chapters examined how search engines work and how search marketing works, but this chapter examines how searchers workhow they think, what they do, and what you can do about it. Not surprisingly, any effective search marketing program requires a solid understanding of the Web searcher. This chapter covers the following topics:
Anyone who spends time studying people realizes that they interact with the world in unexpected and complex ways, and searchers are no exception. Let's start by examining the basic principles of how Web site visitors behave.