Have you thought about how your audience uses their search engine of choice? It’s an important detail and a set of statistics I came across this week brought that point home quite clearly.
On the one hand, this isn’t surprising at all. Of course the biggest websites on the web would get the most traffic. (I believe that’s what the good folks in the world of the academic arts call a tautology …)
What struck me is how different this is from my experience. I might search the web generally for a video, but usually I’m going to search directly on YouTube, not using Google or Bing. I might search more broadly if YouTube doesn’t turn up what I’m looking for. And if I’m shopping, I’ll search using one of the big search engines, but I’ll also have a tab – or ten – open with Amazon product listings.
And that brings me back to my blog post earlier this week: Forget Your Perspective – It’s Your Audience’s Perspective That Matters. It’s important to remember that they aren’t content marketing experts or web developers. They may not be professional geeks of any kind, so the computer on their desk isn’t something they enjoy interacting with; it either does what they need it to do, or it doesn’t in which case they curse at it and call IT.
Having watched, slack jawed, as a client went to google.com and typed in the name of his own company to get to his firm’s website – and I’ve experienced this more than once – I can say with certainty that you should not assume that your audience, or your client’s audience, is as hip to the same kinds of power user tricks you probably take for granted.
Don’t assume you know how your audience is going to arrive at your site, and don’t assume you know how they’re going to react to your content. Track analytics, survey your site visitors, and most importantly, talk to your customers and prospects.