Many of us have been given a task by a client to make their website appear on top of Google’s search results under a very generic, ambiguous keywords. Our clients often believe that customers who buy their goods use such short, broad phrases. In reality, with the growing number of Internet users, and the number of products/services they are looking for, the length of search phrases has been increasing.
Questions in natural language are starting to gain more popularity and importance amongst the search queries. Users are asking Google questions, just as if they were asking an expert, or their friend. They ask questions like ‘Which dog food is best for my schnauzer’s hair?’ or ‘What is this green goo in Knorr salad dressing?’
Advertising in search engines, either PPC or SEM-based is just the beginning. We need not to forget, that customers are looking for more information, than the one that our product simply exists. If they find or learn about the product, they will most probably want to know as much about it as possible before making the purchase decision. As much as possible – and in most cases they will find get this knowledge from sources independent from the manufacturer’s websites.
Therefore, questions regarding products’ performance, usability, quality, affordability etc. will just keep appearing no matter what, on various web-forums or on the most popular Q&A websites (i.e. for the english-speaking markets – Yahoo! Answers, WikiAnswers.com, Answers.Wikia.com).
From our clients’ point of view we should focus on the Q&A websites. According to Techcrunch and Mashable, these – so called ‘Mega-Content-Websites’ – draw more and more customers, asking even the most bizarre and unanticipated questions. Huge traffic that these website experience makes them very ‘Google-friendly’ – which means that the questions (as well as the answers) are almost immediately (or rather – live) indexed by Google, often at top positions.
It is easy to perform, monitor and accomplish a successful PPC campaign in search engines. But we cannot forget the other, perhaps more important one – the one that is running behind our backs, performed by actual consumers/users & owners of the product – often much more thorough, less biased biased and more credible to the person looking for information, exposing all of the product’s weaknesses (and strengths!)
There is no other way than constantly monitoring users behavior in various social networks. Q&A are amongst the more significant ones when it comes to product information, opinions and satisfaction feedback. A brief and not too thorough analysis of your client’s trade or branch will show there is still much to do. Sign-up on the popular in your market Q&A websites (Yahoo! Answers, Wiki.Answers.com, Mahalo Answers for the english-speaking markets, Zapytaj.com.pl for Poland). Observe, hear and answer. And never pretend to be someone you are not – this will be quickly discovered and used against you.