Understanding user search behavior / by Mike Takahashi

Search analytics can show important keywords users use to find or navigate your website, but there are many tasks users don't search for or only search indirectly for. As Gerry McGovern explains:

When we did a top tasks study of MBA students we found that their top task revolved around asking this question: “How does your MBA program help me advance my career?” The final three words—advance my career—were very powerful when put into a link. But these words never came up in search statistics. You see, there are many tasks that people either don’t search for or only search indirectly for.

Knowing the difference can have a significant impact on your website.

People tend to search for “deals” when it comes to travel, but we found that when they were at travel websites, they preferred links containing the words “special offers.” Even though they had searched for “deals” they didn’t like to see that word on the webpage. The same goes for “cheap hotels”. You might search for them but that doesn’t mean you want to land on a webpage that says “Welcome to our dirt cheap hotel!”