Research and consumer data are one of the key areas in Trinidad and Tobago that businesses from the micro to corporate don’t take advantage of. For the most part, the larger entities are still doing age-old practices like focus groups to get a sample size of data and then making broad-stroke assumptions about their target audiences.
In today's digital world, we have far surpassed those tactics as our main source of understanding our clients.
Now, international organisations are tapping into one of the biggest resources collecting data on the human psyche to date, and that is search engine data.
Think about this: how many times have you left a party, a restaurant, visited a landmark and received an e-mail from Google asking you about your visit? Or maybe you parked your car somewhere and Google sends you a timely reminder of where you parked your car.
We as humans tend to lie to other humans, surveys or focus groups, but you know who we don’t lie to? We don’t lie to Google, Bing or any of the search engines.
With all of that data that the search engines collect on us, we have the tools available that allow us to tap into that data to further understand our target audiences across the world.
So let me introduce you to five of my favourite pieces of consumer data that search engine listening can provide us with.
1. Search intentions
2. Location of the target audience
3. Questions or queries on a topic
4. Digital market share of brands
5. Backlinks of competitors
Now there are hundreds of data points that data or search engine optimisation (SEO) extract from the search engines that allow us to be strategic in building our businesses, but I want to give you five data points that I think are so super-powerful that businesses should be receiving in a report every single month.
Sixty-eight per cent of all sales start with a Google search, according to Statista.
There are four intentions with which people do searches for on Google. They are information, navigation, commercial or transaction.
We go on Google to get information about almost any and everything. Navigational searches tend are done to look for a specific brand, product, service or website. Commercial searches are done when considering purchases and looking for reviews or the best or cheapest products, etc. Transactional intention searches are done when the searcher has made a decision on a purchase and is looking to buy. Tools like SEMrush track the search intentions around every single search done in the world in each country, whatever your topic, keyword or business.
Location of target audience
Do you know exactly where in the world, state, city or village your audience is?
Using tools like Google Trends will allow you to input a keyword within your niche and see exactly in where in your country your audience is located. That will help you do targeting in your Facebook or Google ads or in planning offline activities.
Questions or queries
With tools like SEMrush or Answer Socrates, we can see exactly what questions or queries people are asking around a topic in your country. Knowing every single question being asked about a topic will allow you to create aligned content and craft the right services.
Digital market share of brands
There are tools on the market that allow you to input the websites of all of your competitors and see exactly how much web traffic all of you are getting combined and then give you a breakdown of whose getting that traffic and how your collective audience is finding you. This allows you to be strategic in taking away traffic from your competitors.
Backlinks of competitors
A backlink is essentially someone linking back to your website. Think when someone features your brand or reviews a product and they link to that content or product on your website. Knowing all the places digitally linking to your competitors will allow you to reach out to those platforms and see if they can feature your brand as well, or even have that website reference your content instead of your competitors, if it may better serve their audience.
This is a great backlink-building strategy and Google rankings for your website are also influenced by how many backlinks your website has and if higher-authority websites are linking back to your website.
If your organisation doesn’t have a SEO specialist then you need to invest in this skill set or work with a specialist to generate these types of consumer data and competitive analysis reports every month so you have a deep understanding of what's happening in your industry.
Now is a great time to reduce your reliance on surveys or focus groups and start leveraging the power of search engine data.