Online shoppers rely on search for research

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Building brand awareness and staying engaged on social media drives leads, but customers still learn about online products via search.

While search engines have been important research tools for as long as the internet’s been around, they’re becoming an integral part of users’ ability to find information for purchase decisions made on and off their devices. For instance, Brafton reported on the rise of app indexing, which gives searchers the opportunity to access apps right from SERPs, if relevant data can be found there.

Understanding the changing search landscape is essential for web marketing, especially when it comes to ecommerce. A new study by Parago indicates just how important search engines are for shoppers. Despite the rise of multi-channel marketing, people looking to learn more about products they’re going to buy online still seem to prefer Google.

Getting the information quickly

The research shows search engines are the number one choice in terms of product research and price comparison in many industries – namely automotive, electronics, furniture, home furnishings, office supplies, sporting goods and toys. Customers still prefer to go in-store to learn about products when it comes to home goods, pet supplies and groceries, but they will visit specific websites for information about clothing and subscription services.

When customers first think to turn to a particular company’s site, it isn’t just because that business has the lowest prices and the most high-quality goods – it’s at least in part because of their consideration that a brand page is a valuable resource. 

The primary takeaway is that SEO is still extremely important. Rather than be diminished, this channel has simply changed enough that other channels are now required parts of search optimization, instead of separate ways for reaching customers. As Brafton reported, Bing, Google and Yahoo are all experimenting with enriching SERPs. That data richness comes from factors beyond just the content on a blog or in a news story, which can be accumulated from social media or drawn from review sites like Yelp.

It’s also essential to strive for brand authority and awareness. When customers first think to turn to a particular company’s site, it isn’t just because that business has the lowest prices and the most high-quality goods – it’s at least in part because of their consideration that a brand page is a valuable resource. The buyer’s journey is much more complex than in the past, and customers are no longer moving through traditional sales funnels.

Rather, they can pick up the trail from landing page to blog post to conversion at any point in the sales process, so websites should cater to any and all possibilities. That may mean including plenty of custom content, case studies and whitepapers, but it also means appearing in SERPs by any means necessary. Brands, particularly in the ecommerce industry, should make their websites value-rich and visible to searchers to increase the odds they’ll be noticed by customers.

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