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What Can Search Tell Us About Your Customers?

by steph woods on March 22, 2011

There is a lot of data we can collect and learn about customers based on what they are searching for. Given the amount of searches conducted every minute of the day there is a lot of data available.

  • Americans conduct 22.7 billion searches a month. (, June 2009)
  • Worldwide people search 131 billion times a month. (Which works out to 29 billion searches a minute.) (comScore 2010)

Search insights

Search can let your potential customers tell you what they are looking for. Instead of telling customers what products they should use and why; we can listen, learn and research to find out what your target audience is looking for and deliver what they need. This can be useful for new product development and insights, or, for improving current or existing products.

Excerpt from Vanessa Fox’s book Marketing in the Age of Google:

Historically, consumer data and industry trends haven’t been that easy to come by. Before launching a new product or feature, companies had to rely on expensive and time-consuming surveys and focus groups, and it often took awhile to gather enough feedback from these sources. Competitive and industry research was slow and expensive. But the abundance of search data has allowed all of that to change dramatically. We can see exactly what our customers want at a much larger scale than focus groups could ever provide, and competitive and industry data is just a click or two away. We can get immediate feedback about whether changes are working and see trends of consumer interest rising or falling before we invest in R & D.

If we combine searcher behaviour with what people are searching for (using keyword research) with why people are searching (using qualifiers like safe, reliable etc.) we can understand an audience better. We can also use tools like social listening to help us to understand the wants, needs, desires and language of potential customers.

We can also use keyword research and linguistics analysis to determine what keywords are the most popular based on search volume and what keywords have the most competitors. This helps to prioritize features and content on your website. It can also help to use the language your potential customers use. For example, people search for “mens shirts” and not “mens tops”. In this example it is better to use “men’s shirts” in your navigation over “men’s tops”. Listen, learn, research, repeat. There are a lot of insights just waiting to be discovered.


Public WiFi Safety

by steph woods on November 9, 2010

I stumbled across this new plugin today that will make you forever question the safety of public wifi: Firesheep.

Without going through and explaining it from a technical viewpoint, from a very simple (and frightening) point-of-view people can easily log into unsecure profiles (like Facebook) simply by downloading this plugin.

I am not sharing this link with people so that they can spy on others, but so that people can be aware that this type of program exists. Be careful!


UPDATE: My friend Gary just shared with me this article on How to Block Firesheep Using BlackSheep.


Hey It’s a New Post!

by steph woods on July 28, 2010

I have been meaning to write a new blog post and shamefully I have neglected doing so.

This actually isn’t really a new post, it’s more of a quick 10-minutes update. I have been working at Blast Radius in Vancouver since June 28, 2010 and I thought I would share the news.

It’s been crazy having my life turned upside, but I am facing the challenge head on. I adore everything about my life in Kelowna. I love my little house, my perfect location my beyond amazing friends, and the little perks that small town living brings with it. Now I find myself thrust back into big city life (I know, it’s not THAT big here, but compared to Kelowna it is). I am extremely grateful for this incredible opportunity that has fallen on my lap, so I have no regrets. But there is still a period of adjustment.


This weekend my boyfriend Brandon and the cats are finally moving into our new place August 1st. I am extremely grateful for my friend Scott putting up me for the whole entire month (Scott you RULE). At the same time, I can not wait to have a place I call home again. I miss coming home and singing stupid songs at the top of my lungs. Not that Scott would mind that, I am kind of shy (even though it’s hard to tell sometimes).

On a totally random note, I have seen some elitist English majors spout crap about blogs not being real English, and that always irks me. Blogs might not be the things that Hemingways are made of, but they sure do provide us normal folk with a way to communicate our thoughts without an English degree (crazy, I know).

Until next time my lovelies …


Stress = Productivity?

by Stephanie Woods on January 14, 2010

I realized today that over the years I have conditioned myself to associate stress with productivity. The more stressed out I am, the faster I work and the more I get done.

Photo courtesy of Rosie Hardy on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Rosie Hardy on Flickr

Unfortunately this is not a healthy habit.

I wonder how many other people are like this? I imagine this is normal behavior for the most part.

My goal is to retrain my brain into associating happy and relaxed with productivity. I am a little apprehensive about how I am going to do this. I’ve been equating stress with productivity since the first time in high school I downed a pot of coffee and wrote a killer report (that I got 100% on). I was hooked from the get-go.

I like this post: Happiness is the Best Productivity Tool

It gives 10 reasons why happiness is awesome for getting work done:

    Happy people work better with others
    Happy people are more creative
    Happy people fix problems instead of complaining about them
    Happy people have more energy
    Happy people are more optimistic
    Happy people are way more motivated
    Happy people get sick less often
    Happy people learn faster
    Happy people worry less about making mistakes – and consequently make fewer mistakes
    Happy people make better decisions
Photo courtesy of Ashlee Chae on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Ashlee Chae on Flickr

Not to insinuate that I walk around all grumpy all of the time! Not true. I tend to put myself into stressful situations on purpose sometimes just to get work done (i.e. procrastination).

Anyone else out there finding themselves doing the same thing?


Creative vs Generic Thesis Theme

by steph woods on October 8, 2009

Each of us strives to stand out from the rest of the world in own special way. Whether it’s through the way we dress, or the photographs we snap, a little creativity helps each of us to establish our own identity amongst the masses.

I come from a traditional advertising background where I used Internet Explorer, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. That’s it. I can shamefully admit that I had no idea how to even cut and paste in a doc back then. Sounds ridiculous hey? Sad but true.

My previous job provided me with the opportunity to enter the world of online marketing. Now my eyes are wide open. Since then, I’ve been slowly learning how to do a bit of code. I am attempting to go beyond 301 redirects, and other basic HTML stuff (e.g. H1s, links, images, etc). I had web devs at my last job to do everything for me. Now that I am on my own I am trying to figure it all out. It’s not rocket science. Just time.

This brings me to point of this post.


Smirk All You Want

Yes my site is a Thesis template with zero changes. I started to play around with the site two days ago and still have no idea how to change the rotating images that are on the front page here. I also can’t figure out how I messed up my page titles, all I know is that there is an excess of words I can’t figure out how to remove. Yup. I know jack squat and I am not afraid to admit it.

My intention is to figure all of this out. In the meantime, please be nice and don’t think I’m a total idiot for not customizing my Thesis theme. I am aware that this is what needs to be done, I just need to figure out how to do it still.

I have a kickass brain for all things marketing/creative and a somewhat challenged brain for all things technical. I will conquer. Just give me a little time. Thank you for being understanding.


SEO 101 on SEO Scoop

by steph woods on October 6, 2009

Hey kids,

I’ve been getting myself motivated to write more (finally). I have a bunch of ideas for articles on the horizon.

And in case you’re wondering, this is the same Steph Woods as found on my other Steph Woods SEO blog. Which reminds me, apparently there is another Stephanie Wood (no ‘s’ on the end) that is giving me a bad rep in the SEO world. If you come across a Stephanie Wood – with no ‘s’ on the end – and they are doing something (a) shady, or (b) unethical it’s not me.

I’ll also be doing a bi-weekly SEO 101 series on SEO Scoop. Originally I was going to use that material for this site, but SEO Scoop already has an average of 20,000 readers a month. Figured I might as well start there and use those posts to link back here to this site. Makes sense from an increased online visibility point-of-view. This means I need to add more content and a little customization to my poor ol’ neglected blog here ASAP!

Presenting my first post on SEO Scoop: Learn SEO: Maximize Your Time with Google’s Spiders

Delicious treats on the horizon

Delicious treats on the horizon


If you happen …

by steph woods on April 14, 2009

… to find my blog randomly I just obtained this domain and am getting things set up.

Come again soon!