Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Power of Search

I was going to write this last week, but I'm greatful that I waited. Because I have a second dimension to add to what I originally was going to talk about.

This is about the internet and how it has changed over the last few years.

When I first got online a dozen or so years ago, (with a dial-up connection), Yahoo, AOL and MSN were the big boys.

Advertising on the internet involved pop up ads, banner ads and it seemed like everyone was trying to outdo each other in trying to get our attention.

Then two things occurred.

First, Google simplified the internet with an extremely simple and clean looking web page that was also very good at helping us find things on the WWW.

The flash and pizazz went mainstream with customizable MySpace layouts, and YouTube that gave everyone a chance to claim 15 seconds of video fame.

The way we as ordinary people use the internet has changed. Google is how we find something, anything, everything. And the advertising on the sides of the page... our brains have learned to tune them out.

Instead, we may click on a sponsored text ad on Google to get more information.

But it all starts with the search. And that's not really new.

Before we had the internet, one of the popular activities was a trip to the mall. You may have wanted to buy a gift for someones birthday, and you may have had a couple of ideas but you went into lots and lots of stores.

You may have gone into stores and looked for something totally unrelated to the original reason you went to the mall. But there were things that caught your eye, and pulled you into the store.

This search idea is not new.

When you go to your favorite restaurant, odds are that you will choose one of 5 items, no matter how many items are on the menu. But despite the fact that you are predisposed to a very limited selection, it is still highly likely that you will open and read the menu, even if it is the same menu you've seen every time you've been to that restaurant!

This is the Power of Search, we as humans are looking for possibilities, not advertisements.

This is why the Google format has worked so well, because it is compatible with the way we think and behave.

So, as you try and decide how to build your website, keep in mind that it's not flashy banner ads, or having all the right keywords built into your page that will make you successful, it's most likely tied into the Power of Search.

I have two examples that I'm going to wrap this up with.

Starbucks Advertising. Type those words into Google today, or any day in the past 90 days and at least one if not two or three of my blog posts on my Collective Wisdom site would be on the first page. For awhile, I had the top two links. And I did not pay for these links either.

So I decided to update the posts with more information, and everyday, there is at least one new visitor thanks to the Power of Search and Google.

The other example is how people rely on Google to get information even when it's not available yet.

Back in January 2008, I reported on a story that I read in our local business paper about a longtime Chevy dealership that was abandoning it's family name (DeHaven Chevrolet), and switching to a more generic name.

I spoke against them dropping a name that was familiar in our community for generations, and throwing away the DeHaven brand, which includes a catchy jingle that still rings in my head.

About two weeks ago, people were Googling DeHaven Chevrolet, or Jack DeHaven, and they were landing on what I wrote a few months ago.

It turns out the reason they were looking for Jack DeHaven was that he was ill. I searched for anything regarding the subject and came up empty until yesterday.

It turns out that Mr. Jack DeHaven passed away at the age of 42 at the end of April and his friends were looking for information which was not available online until his obituary appeared in the newspaper over the weekend.

The Power of Search works both ways.

People have come to rely on the internet for answers and they will use Google to find what they are looking for.

You, in turn need to have the information they are looking for available for them to find on the internet.

No comments:

Post a Comment