Thursday, 18 January 2018

Understanding the Psychology Behind the Why, When, and How Users Search Online

Everyone has a reason for doing the things they do. The same psychology works for user intent and online access. SEO is all part of understanding that psychology. SEO is a numbers game. Metrics play a role too, factoring in things like search volumes, rankings, and organic traffic levels. Understanding the rules and the metrics is all part of the game. There are rules that come with this game. You need to learn the rules of the game in order to accomplish your end goal.

Psychology 101: Understanding Why the User Searches for One Thing and Not Another

I majored in psychology in college, so I understand the how and why a little bit more than others do. You need to understand a user's behavior online. Every user has two search goals in mind when putting in their keywords. They either want an exact search, or they want a more general search.

The first choice is the one users go to most. Why? Searches online can be exhaustive. Users today do not have the time or the interest in spending hours online searching for just one thing. Search engines have always been trying to read a user's psychology. Some of them get and others do not.

Google Hummingbird and Yandex’s Korolyov are two search engines that are getting better at understanding the basics of a user's psychology.

A User's Intention
I can sum this up in an example. Todd wants to look Walmart online to see if they have a product he needs. He does a general search and comes up with a wide array of choices. Todd is feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. Todd wants to see if the Walmart near him has the product he needs. Todd chooses to redirect his search, looking at a more direct approach. He types in Walmart and his zip code. His store pops up and begins his search.

Todd's intent is only one example of how the psychology works. Search engines can tell a lot about a user based on the keywords they use. Those who use ambiguous searches are not showing clear intent. Users cannot expect the search engine to read their minds. A user has to speak out and ask for what they want or they will not get it. I learned that during my first semester of Psychology.

Multiple Intentions
Different words have different meanings. I will use the term "Apple". The term can mean a piece of fruit or an electrical product, such as Apple Computer.

1) The dominant interpretation is when a user uses a clear and concise search to find what they are looking for.

2) The common intrepretation is another word for a general search.

To find more terms related to a keyword search, such as minor queries, click here.

Mobile and Voice Search
Some users will not get their needs met with a general mobile search. The voice search comes in handy when this happens. A voice search clarifies things more for the search engine, giving the exact results the users want.

I learned in psychology class to ask a lot of questions. I also learned the more you understand yourself, the more you will know what you are after. The same thing works with an online search. You need to have a better understanding of what you want before you can search for the results. You will start using the right keywords and the right search engines once you figure your needs out.