The rapid evolution of search engines and search technology is leading to profound changes in the ways that consumers explore, discover and buy new products and services online. This is causing immense headaches for search marketers striving to keep their brands visible on the new Digital High Street - the Google Search Results Page. When, earlier this year, we looked around for information beyond the analytics data to help us understand how consumer search behaviour was evolving in response to this digital upheaval, we found very little independent research evidence. So we resolved to plug the gap ourselves. Over a two-month period, we interviewed more than 60 consumers from a range of lifestages, and eye tracked them completing over 400 search tasks. These ranged from looking for a luxury hotel in London for a special weekend to finding a good deal on car insurance…from sourcing new family meal ideas to discovering a nearby physiotherapist. The result? A priceless database of video and interview data that unlocks the secrets of how consumers are using the web – and specifically the Google SERP – to view, browse and sift through search results to assist them in their purchase journeys. We believe it is the biggest, most comprehensive and up-to-date study of its kind in the market.
Our study uncovered ten stand-out strategies for search success – techniques and tactics to give search marketers a competitive edge. While success factors varied across different product search tasks, as Google responds to different types of search with a range of features – offering Maps in response to geo-searches, for example – many of the factors evidenced here are relevant, or can be adapted, regardless of market sector.