Search behaviour hasn’t changed
We expect too much of Google
“Why isn’t my site number one on Google?” is a popular question. Occasionally, it’s because of poor content or mediocre meta-content, but usually it’s because the site doesn’t have a traffic building or awareness program behind it. The site is just…there.
It is a strange question to ask because it sounds like this, “well, I’m on the web, so I should be found.” It’s as if we expect Google to be perfectly accurate with immediate and fair results for everyone.
A marketing analogy is this: just because you’re on the shelf, doesn’t mean the shopper is going to pick up your product. The best product, or website, will die a lonely death without something to help people learn about it, and most importantly, share their views about it.
Does ‘search’ matter as much as we think it does?
Remember libraries? I remember learning the dewey decimal system and how to use the card catalogue. Cards are now computers. Either way, it doesn’t matter; few of us have the time to search and separate the wheat from the chaff (like content farms). What did we do in libraries? We ended up asking the librarian, or our friends; and if we’re students, we look at the reference list at the back of a book, which is another type of referral.
Social search is way more important
I only search for things when my existing resources are limited. The majority of websites I visit are bookmarked in my browser or are recommended links from Facebook and LinkedIn connections.
We search the Internet like we searched libraries: by recommendations from our social network and experts.
We’re surrounded by high technology and, sometimes oddly, expect much of it; yet social search and social bookmarking show that we ultimately prefer to rely on the word of peers, not Google.
A website is like a book in a library. Just because it’s there and in the record, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to ever get read. It’ll get read when someone tells you should read it. Or when it’s stumbled upon — but that’s hardly ‘search’, is it?