Search engines, besides providing groups and individuals with quick sources of both written and graphic digital information, are a cultural hand print of the US and of the world in general. Who would have thought that such a small query box via Yahoo! or Google, plus a combination of hardware / software would provide us with a new look into the mentality and salient concerns of the human race?

And … for search engine marketers, where does search engine marketing fit in?

Search Engine Marketing is a Response to Want

Search engine marketing is certainly more than black-hat optimization tactics and surprisingly enough is NOT a response to the great behemoth Google and it's search engine competitors. Instead, search engine marketing is simply a response to people. A response to their wants and desires. A response to their triumphs, to their guilt, to their obsessions or their thoughts. The zeitgeist of a nation can be interesting; it can be fearful, but mostly it can be instructive.

Search Engine Marketing: It's Not about the Best or the Brightest

Search engine trends from the year 2006 [1] can be quite revealing and may also betray why search engine marketing isn't necessarily about providing the best or the brightest but simply about providing what people want.

Take a look at some of 2006's top searches, or trends and you will find what users really want or at least would like to know more about. At the very least, it's interesting to see what people are thinking.

Take Yahoo! 'S top searches for instance. According to information provided by sfgate.com [2], the top ten Yahoo! searches (after filtering adult references, company names and generic items (perhaps like the weather)) were as follows:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. WWE
  3. Shakira
  4. Jessica Simpson
  5. Paris Hilton
  6. American Idol
  7. Beyonce Knowles
  8. Chris Brown
  9. Pamela Anderson
  10. Lindsay Lohan

The results show that people (at least Yahoo! searchers) are thinking about other people; not just "ordinary" people however. They are thinking about the celebrity genre. What's the fascination? Perhaps people assume that fame, wealth and glamor can be learned, instead of acquired. Perhaps only time will tell. At any rate it is easy to see that the cultural zeitgeist of the US is to some degree focused on celebrities.

What does it mean for the filed of search engine marketing?

What does the Yahoo! info project for the field of search engine marketing? Well, it's obvious really. If you want to sell, then use people who are famous, wealthy or glamorous to sell your products or services and the American people won't turn a blind eye.

Ask.com also allowed it's most popular search terms [3] to be released as well. Keep in mind that the following terms, like those from Yahoo !, have also been filtered for adult references, etc. They are as follows:

  1. MySpace
  2. Dictionary
  3. Games
  4. Cars
  5. Food
  6. Song lyrics
  7. Poems
  8. New York
  9. Baby names
  10. Music

These terms seem to be a long stone's throw away from the world of celebrities that Yahoo! presents. In fact, the underlying theme of these terms would seem to be entertainment and lifestyle. The MySpace reference perhaps also shows the importance that people place on connecting with others. It would make one wonder if the Yahoo! references point to the idea that what people really want when they search for celebrities is to connect with someone who has wealth, fame, etc. At any rate, it is obvious that Ask.com questioners take care (or want to take care) to live well.

What does it mean for the field of search engine marketing?

In the field of search engine marketing, selling your clients' products while using entertainment or lifestyle boons is an effective way to attract American clickers.

Google Hot Trends: Another Clue for Search Engine Marketing Professionals

Google Hot Trends presents a different menagerie for the year 2006 and that is because Google did not publish a list of the most popular terms but instead published a list of those terms that have grown most in popularity (in terms of raw percentages) instead. These terms include the following:

  1. Bebo
  2. MySpace
  3. World Cup
  4. Metacafe
  5. Radioblog
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Video
  8. Rebelde
  9. Mininova
  10. Wiki

Media and people (MySpace) seem to be the theme for the Google Hot Trends.

What does this mean for the field of search engine marketing?

What does this have to do with search engine marketing? Search engine marketers need to remember what people want the most. In this case it seems that it would be to connect with people, live life well and having access to media (excluding searches for adult terms) seem to be what's on the mind of Americans everywhere. Perhaps however marketers are already well aware of these trends and are busily emphasizing how their clients' products or services can contribute to what Americans want most.

[1] http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/25/BUGOBN387R1.DTL

[2] http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/25/BUGOBN387R1.DTL

[3] http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/25/BUGOBN387R1.DTL