Now It's Personal: Search Optimization Is About "Me, Myself, and I"

When you need advice, do you turn to your significant other, parents, or a best friend? Or, do you reach into your pocket, pull out your mobile phone, and ask your trusted confidant, Google?

In the booming era of mobile, it’s likely you’re turning to the internet to find your answers. As Google so aptly put it, “we're officially in the era of the research-obsessed consumer.” Just think for a moment about your recent searches. Is it bad for my skin to shower twice a day? How long does ketchup stay good for? Good Italian restaurants near me.

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Suddenly, no decision is too small. Further, consumers want relevant information at the drop of a hat. At this point, the habit of reaching for our mobile devices to ask Google for guidance is pervasive. When it comes to SEO, business owners and marketers need to know it’s no longer just about keywords, it’s about tapping into consumers’ first-person search terms.

Self-Centered Searches

It’s not that we’re all egotistical, but we tend to be highly concerned about our decisions. In fact, “___ for me” and “___ should I ___” mobile searches have grown by 60% and 80%, respectively, between 2015 and 2017, according to Think With Google. In the past two years there has also been a rapid increase in the use of  "me," "my," and "I” in everyday searches.

But what exactly is everyone searching for? Well, it seems that there are three main categories of first-person searches that are on the rise:

  1. Solving A Problem
  2. Getting Things Done
  3. Exploring Around Me

Solving-a-Problem Searches

While our research obsessiveness has turned a significant portion of the population into self-diagnosing hypochondriacs (perhaps around 35%, according to Pew Research Center) searching online for answers to our woes is undeniably convenient, albeit not the most accurate when it comes to health issues. Currently, the five fastest growing categories of solving-a-problem searches are:

  • Auto
  • Beauty
  • Finance
  • Fitness
  • Pet Care

So, how can a business capitalize on this traffic? Well, let’s use the example of an auto body repair shop; we’ll call it Jerry’s Collision Center. According to Google, the phrase, “My car won’t start,” is the fifth highest volume search term in the auto category. If Jerry writes a series of blog articles discussing different reasons why a car won’t start, he has a chance to pull in some high-quality traffic.

But here’s the kicker, consumers aren’t just researching big ticket items like cars or computers, they’re examining the best hygiene products, apparel, and even groceries choices right from their mobile devices. Incredibly, Google found that “best” mobile searches have exploded by 80% in the past two years.

Traffic from solving-a-problem searches is captured by websites that successfully tap into micro-moments by providing content that's highly relevant and mobile-friendly. More specifically, “best” product searches are mobile-centric, meaning they “happen 75% of the time or more on a mobile device.”

Again, no decision is too small. Case in point, Google found that condiment and dressing searches on mobile devices skyrocketed 165% between 2015 and 2017, with rising queries like: How to drink apple cider vinegar? Is ketchup bad for you? Does soy sauce go bad?

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Other mobile searches that increased dramatically between 2015 and 2017 include:

  • 395% increase in bra searches (i.e. how to measure bust size)
  • 375% increase in fence searches (i.e. cheap privacy fence panels)
  • 305% increase in toothpaste searches (i.e. best toothpaste for whitening)
  • 215% increase in salt searches (i.e. where to buy sea salt)
  • 110% increase in lipstick & lip gloss searches (i.e. best lipstick)
  • 110% increase in dolls & accessory searches (i.e. dolls that look real)

Not only do that vast majority of these product searches involve the term “best,” but also “where to buy,” and “reviews.” As a retailer, be sure you’re tapping into this search diction to make the most of your content.

Getting-Things-Done Searches

Consumers are on-the-go, search-engine gurus who are trying to boost efficiency, learn new skills, and find answers on the fly. Whether they’re making a shopping list or updating the apps on their phone, mobile searches are happening for the smallest of tasks. At the moment, Google found that the five fastest growing categories of getting-things-done searches are related to:

  • Apps
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Phone functionality
  • Shopping and grocery
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Can brands to capitalize on this on-the-go traffic? The answer is yes. These searches occur during I-want-to-know micro-moments, and they’re ripe for the picking. In fact, Google noticed 65% of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information, regardless of the company providing the content.

This provides a great opportunity for smaller businesses to outshine their corporate counterparts. To earn traffic from getting-things-done searches, you need to be able to predict what your potential customers might be searching for. Once you have a pulse on your audience’s queries, you can create branded content that provides a solution. For example, Ethos Copywriting often creates blogs that address a specific question that our potential clients may be asking such as: How do social media signals affect SEO? What does a copywriting agency do? Or, what is the difference between SEO and SEM?

Our blog receives roughly 50% of all traffic to our site. Moreover, 62% of that traffic comes from Google searches. While offering information through a blog article may lack the “hard sell” that cut-throat marketers are eager to include, smart brands know that valuable content is what helps cultivate trust with consumers.

Exploring-Around-Me Searches

Exploring-around-me searches often occur in an I-want-to-go moment. With the world at our fingertips, just about every consumer is filled with a touch of wanderlust for destinations both near and far. When it comes to exploring-around-me searches, Google found that fastest growing categories include:

  • Auto
  • Beauty
  • Fashion
  • Home and Furniture
  • Tourism and Travel

Whether they’re searching for hair salons or hotels, consumers want to know what’s in their vicinity. According to Google, 30% of mobile searches are related to location (i.e. late-night pizza places near me). If this stat doesn’t make you want to produce more content, maybe this one will: a staggering 76% of consumers who conduct a local search on their phones visit the store within a day!

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To be sure you’re capitalizing on mobile traffic that's happening in the vicinity of your establishment, it’s imperative that brands creates a Google My Business account that’s optimized for their specific geographic location. Moreover, if it’s in your budget to combine local SEO with pay-per-click campaigns, the cost may be worth it: According to Google, 10-18% of clicks on location-specific search ads lead to an in-store visit. The search-engine giants also noticed that “near me” searches have grown a staggering 3,400% since 2011.

Searches that occur during I-want-to-go moments are particularly valuable to new restaurants, stores, or service providers that are trying to make a name for themselves. This is because during an explore-around-me search, convenience is almost always more important than brand loyalty.

To better understand how you can capitalize on “near me” traffic, let’s use a fictional example of a privately owned hotel called Lakeside Suites, located in Grand Haven, Michigan. First off, when it comes to tourism and travel, Google found that “hotels near me” is the number one search term.

If Lakeside Suites is hoping to implement a smart marketing strategy, creating a website with keywords that are germane to the location is going to be critical. These phrases should be included in the metadata, header text, and body content. For instance, you might might write the following SEO components as:

  • SEO Browser Title: Lakeside Suites │ Lake View Hotels In Grand Haven, Michigan
  • Header 1 Text: Affordable Suites Right on the Shores of Lake Michigan
  • Meta-Description: We offer affordable one to three bedroom suites stunning views of Lake Michigan. If you’re visiting Grand Haven, be sure to book at stay at Lakeside Suites.

Beyond these technical SEO elements, it’s important that business owners keep their websites fresh with content. To do this, write blogs about local restaurants, seasonal events, and attractions. Search engine algorithms like to see that your website is consistently adding relevant content.

Do Take It Personally

Now more than ever, brands need to see content from the consumer’s point of view. When business owners and marketers empathize with potential customers, the content they need to compose should become crystal clear.

Whether it’s a new landing page, blog, or eBook, be sure to make every word count. Consider phrasing titles as questions, adding your location when it’s contextually relevant, and using first-person pronouns in your content to match exact search terms.

If you need help with your content strategy, production, and/or optimization, contact Ethos Copywriting. We specialize in branded content marketing, SEO, and Google AdWords. Finally, let us know what you thought of this blog by leaving a comment, sharing this article, or simply hitting the like button.