What Customer Search Queries Told us in 2017

What Customer Search Queries Told Us in 2017

Peter Bagi Peter Bagi
Analytics Consulting
June 21,2018

What Customer Search Queries Told us in 2017

The way we communicate with search engines continues to change. From typing tags to speaking sentences, the language behind customer search queries is long and complicated.

So, how can businesses stay on top of evolving searches when it comes to SEO? Let’s start by looking at 2017 and what it taught us about search.


Local Searches Are on the Rise

With mobile search, consumers want to find things close and quick. That means question-based queries with terms like ‘near me’ are becoming incredibly frequent.

These location searches have also grown with queries including ‘buy’. Whether it’s ‘to buy’ or ‘can I buy’, mobile searchers are on mission.

Local search example

‘Can I buy a pizza oven near me?’

If you haven’t already put your business’s details on Google My Business and Bing Places, then get onto it! Telling search engines where you are allows them to tell potential customers where you are. Also important to local SEO is utilising an Australian business directory list to build your citations.

You can also rank better for location-specific queries by putting city and suburb names throughout your content.


PPC Competition

Our PPC management team has seen the average costs for PPC increase as more businesses enter the space. This trend is common on biddable channels, with Google’s CPC and Facebook’s CPM rising every year.

Don’t worry, though – PPC won’t price itself into extinction.

PPC bidding

Businesses will continue to pay what they can afford to reach their audience in PPC auctions. However, as more advertisers join the market and become savvier with targeting and bid management, it will become even more difficult to reach a cost-effective audience at scale.

So, how does this affect your paid advertising campaign?

Granular Targeting

The focus with PPC needs to shift from the amount you’re bidding to the level of targeting. To get the most out of your paid reach, targeting relevant consumers is essential for keeping scale costs down. You need to find your audience and speak directly to them.

Battling to reach a broad group of consumers is expensive and may not be right for your campaign.


Quality Ad Copy

Solid ad copy is a key element of PPC, as it forms part of Google’s Quality Score. Content that’s of a high quality and has been SEO’d will positively influence the ad position.

When creating your ad copy, you’ll need to consider these 4 things:

  1. Get the character count up to secure maximum SERP real estate
  2. Utilise path 1 and 2 in the display URL
  3. Implement helpful ad extensions
  4. Use ad customerisers (e.g. keyword insertion and countdown timers).

While these actions are currently considered best practice, Google is always testing new tools – like that time they let us use emojis in ad copy.


Voice Search Is Still in the Early Days

In an early analysis, Google hasn’t identified different patterns between voice queries and non-voice queries from the Google Search App. This breakdown of data looked across the top 5,000 search queries, coming to the conclusion that advertisers don’t need to take new action in their AdWords Search campaigns just yet.

Voice search compared to text search

Planning for the impact of voice search now is still important for any online business.

Query Length

The average query length for voice and non-voice have identical patterns and are very similar. The only difference is a slight shift to greater long-tail for voice searches.

Keyword length

In Google’s analysis, they found that generics are dominant in both text and voice, where voice is skewed a bit more to generics. This can come from the more conversational aspect of a voice search where ultra-long-tail keywords exist.

For example, ‘what was the name of the second person to land on the moon?’

The name rhymes with Fuzz Cauldron, in case you were wondering.

Question-Based Searches

Consumers are moving further away from searching towards asking. That’s why question-based searches are becoming more popular.

Generic search queries

This trend may increase the number of long tail keywords that need to be included in accounts. Although, Google’s changes to [exact match] have reduced the impact of this. [Exact match] keywords are now able to ignore, add, or remove function words from keywords to match user queries.


What changes did we see at the close of 2017?

Audience Targeting

During 2017, we started to see a huge focus on targeting relevant audiences, with Google announcing in-market audiences. Along with RLSA – which allows you to customise search ads to reach people that have recently visited your website – advertisers have an incredible opportunity to focus on consumers valuable to their campaign and business.


Machine Learning

As the sun set on 2017 and the light of 2018 began to rise, we soon started to see how important machine learning is becoming. Particularly in bid management, the capabilities of machine learning are extensive.

Machine learning

With machine learning, account managers are able to bid the optimal amount to achieve a specified goal.  This could be a certain average position, cost per result, or return on ad spend (ROAS).

Machine learning can also assist in creative rotation, automatically deciding the most relevant ad to show each individual user based on their prior online behaviour.


Achieving a good rank on SERPs in 2018 and 2019 is a big game. But it is possible if you keep up to date on search technologies and systems, trends in customer search queries, and even societal trends.

If you’re looking to take advantage of SEO or paid search in 2018, contact us to learn how we can help today.

Analytics Consulting
June 21,2018
Peter Bagi

Author: Peter Bagi

Peter is a Content Executive at Search Factory | iProspect. His interests include walking along the beach at sunset and writing bios about himself in third person.

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