In their drive to make search results not only more relevant but easier to obtain for their users, the major search engines are constantly seeking to innovate and change.
Sometimes it’s something ‘invisible’ (such as an algorithm change) which the ordinary user may not notice but may affect the search results profoundly. But other times its something much more visible and design-based that affects the way the user interacts with a search engine at the most basic level, and which webmasters and seo professionals would do well to pay attention to.
No, not the fact that if you type ‘let it snow’ into Google it… well type it in, you’ll find out. We’re talking about one of the most recent trends in the search engine user experience – single word searches.
Why one word can make all the difference
According to data from Experian Hitwise, the number of search queries that use just a single word have risen from 20.3% of the total at the start of 2009, to 27.2% of all search queries in October 2011. Between September and October 2011 alone, the number of one-word search queries grew by 3%. In comparison, the number of searches containing more than three words declined significantly over the same period.
seo experts have been trying to understand the trend, with a variety of explanations being offered such as the effects of Google Instant, which produces search results before you finish typing. There’s a good explanation of these various arguments at http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2132861/One-Word-Searches-Search-Engines-Doing-More-With-Less.
So far, any suggestions for this change have been inconclusive, but what webmasters and website owners should take away from this is that it IS happening. While it may not be cause to ditch all those long-tail key phrases (yet), you might want to pay extra attention to single keywords that are relevant to your site and create additional content accordingly.
The second search engine trend to take into consideration for next year is that more and more people are relying on the Internet to find local businesses and services. A survey by Pew Internet revealed that 51% of people who are looking for information about local restaurants, bars and clubs ‘turn to the Internet’, and 38% of those surveyed relied on search engines to do so. This was more than those relying on newspapers, word of mouth or TV for information.
Even those who weren’t looking for restaurant or bar reviews were dependent on the Internet for local business information, including 36% who said they rely on search engines for such info.
Jonathan Celeste invites you to join the rest of his clients at the top of the Google mountain with a Search Engine Optimisation campaign from Onit solutions. http://www.onitsolutions.co.uk
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