Category Archives: Mark Sprague Search Engine Land

How Potential Clients Search For An Interactive Agency

The search behavior associated with businesses trying to find an interactive agency is very different from other models that I’ve looked at in the past. Generally, informational searches dominate search behavior.

In this case, informational searches are very small compared to the number of types that businesses specify when looking for an interactive agency. The type category is fairly complex with 13 sub-categories, which is the most I’ve ever seen in single high-level category. It’s interesting that businesses describe the type of agency they are looking for in about a dozen different ways that describe a single need.

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Insights For SEM Service Providers: SEO vs. Search Engine Optimization Queries

Is typing in “SEO” the same as typing in “search engine optimization“? Not according to the data in AdWords. The queries in the search engine optimization data set are quite different than the data in the SEO data set. This was a bit of a surprise even to me.

It turns out that there is much more variable traffic in the search engine optimization data by a 4-to-1 margin over an SEO search.

  • Search engine optimization: 125 million monthly searches.
  • SEO: 30 million monthly searches.

The Search Engine Optimization group has 25 categories of behavior. The SEO group has three fewer search behavior categories.

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How To Model Search Term Data To Classify User Intent & Match Query Expectations

Query data is the first tool in every search marketers arsenal – it serves as a launch pad for developing information architecture, understanding market opportunity to creating landing pages with carefully worded ad copy to maximize conversions. To fully understand query data in any market segment, it is extremely valuable to understand and creating a model of search behavior.

A search behavior model is a data-driven process for classifying user intent for each search query to a specific source, type or subject. It’s a reflection of the total consumer search experience for products and services in any single market segment. Read more about Search Behavior Models here.

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Decoding Searcher Intent: Is “MS” Microsoft Or Multiple Sclerosis?

Consumers conduct about 90 million multiple sclerosis related searches each month. They spell out the words, but also use the acronym MS 508K times a month. MS is an ambiguous acronym, and has many meanings depending upon who is using it in a query. Currently there are over 200 definitions for MS in the marketplace, but the most common meanings are:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Microsoft
  • Mississippi
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Masters of science degree
  • MySpace

This is something to think about because it reflects how people and search engines process information differently. People can see “MS” in context and get the meaning, but search engines have a harder time figuring out what it means. For example, do a search on MS and look at the results. As you can see, you end up with a search results page co-mingled with results from Microsoft, Morgan Stanley and Mississippi. I think this causes consumers to do a second search spelling out multiple sclerosis which returns a rich set of search results.

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How Searchers Find The Perfect Family Restaurant

Last month I took a look at consumer search behavior for restaurants. This was a high-level analysis, and I mentioned in closing that I would contrast those findings to a model that has consumers searching for a particular type of restaurant—in this case family restaurants. Since this is essentially part two of the analysis, you may want to review How Consumers Search For A Perfect Meal. To quickly summarize the previous analysis, the restaurant search behavior model looked like this:

Family Restaurant ONE

In comparison, the following model is the family restaurant hierarchy of categories displayed more or less in descending order by search volume with brand having the most traffic and games having the least.

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