How Humans Use Questions When Searching Online

Did you know that humans use question formats when using search engines 27% of the time? No? Then you need to check out these stats to optimize your content for your target market.

Confused Woman Looking at Laptop

Accordingly to a study by Blue Nile Research, appropriately named the Psychology of the Searcher: Patterns in How Searchers Formulate Queries, such data is valuable in guiding a successful SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. Marketers must be methodical in first understanding how their target audience chooses to search before creating content that converts online.

Humans are Individuals

Every human being has a distinct set of emotional triggers that initiates the first search for a product or service.

When speaking with my Human SEO clients, I often use an example of a new mom searching for a specific baby product. Let’s take the example of 2 moms.

Mom #1: It’s 3am and this stay at home mom of 3 kids has an infant whose screaming cries are waking up the entire house. She runs to the family computer to find a solution ASAP. Her search query may be: “How do I get my baby to stop crying?”

Mom #2: It’s 10am and this CEO mom of 1 infant is between meetings but her kid has been feeling crying a lot lately. She picks up her smartphone to find a solution to make her baby feel better. Her search query may be: “How do I find a pediatrician?”

What is the difference between these two moms? Human emotion. They both may be searching for the same solution – be it product or information – but they are searching totally different. Mom #1 is working on little sleep and is pulling her hair out in the moment. Mom #2 is well rested and is at-ease searching for a solution.

The Implications for Marketers

Which mom would be your target market? Do you know how she would be searching?

Based on the research, people search both in fragments and in full queries.

Fragmented Search

However, it is clear that searchers like short phrases and questions when searching.

Searches by Number of Words

Searchers are Seeking an Answer

When your target market searchers with a question, they are mostly searching to an answer to fix their problem. Humans most often used “How” (44%) the most. This is why “How To” articles and blog post titles are the most success. They want to know how to fix something, not why they should fix it.

SEO Questions by Type

When you create landing pages and content, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Doing so creates an opportunity to connect on a level that your competitors are overlooking. This human connection not only increases your authority online, but also your opportunity to turn customers into champions for further website success.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


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