Years ago, the internet was kind of this untapped void that we were all excited about. As industry, business, and culture have absorbed more and more of the internet into our daily life and processes, we have a better sense of what the internet might be able to do for us.
We’ve searched, and found. If we don’t find exactly what we’re looking for, we have a decision to make. Do we change the search term in general or perhaps make it more specific? Research shows us that over the years we have done both.
In 2000 I might have searched for “pizza Blacksburg Virginia”. In 2010 if I want pizza I search for “pepperoni pizza specials 23221”. Why? Because in the last decade we’ve all grown more and more accustomed to being able to find what we are specifically looking for. If the search is too specific we can always make it more general – but this model has flipped as usage and growth of the internet has taken place.
Take a look at the average amount of keywords per search query over the last few years. Between 2004 and 2005, 1 and 2 word search terms comprised more than 50%. Since January of 2009, more than 50% of all search terms are 3 words or more. Not surprisingly, research also tells us that user satisfaction increases with the length of a given search term. People know that they can look for whatever they want and most likely find it.
The implications involved with this to me aren’t always apparent to most business owners. To me, this is what that means for any business (especially niche businesses or B2B): whatever you do – it’s no longer a niche because the world has the ability to look for exactly what you do at any moment – and they are! If you have one single competitor, you should probably look into making sure you are in front of the people that are looking for you regardless of how your business has been successful in the past.