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Learning from the source

One of the main tasks in online marketing is making our presence in the search engine results as strong as possible. There are so many tools available to investigate opportunities that it’s easy to forget the best one out there: looking at the search results themselves.

The top results for a specific search often have themes which we can identify. For example, the Google search for ‘blue widgets’ has been taken over by pages from the Pinterest website. This is because ‘widgets’ are a ‘thing’ on Pinterest, and Google knows that.

The Google search for ‘how to make cake’ has also changed over the years, and is now dominated by video results. And so on.

If a theme across the top results isn’t obvious, take a look at the sites (not just the pages) being linked to. Perhaps these have a theme?

Google claims to be great at understanding what people want when they make specific searches, and that’s largely true. So maybe we can reverse engineer the thinking. If the results from a search that we’re targeting aren’t what we’d expected, maybe it’s because people making that search aren’t after what we expected either. For example, it’s likely that most people searching for ‘blue widgets’ actually want to find mood boards on Pinterest. They’re not people who want to buy blue widgets, even if selling them is how we make a living. The people who want to buy them may be instinctively searching for something like ‘buy blue widgets’ or ‘blue widget suppliers’. So maybe we might be better off revising what we consider to be the important searches.