One of the most enticing aspects of search marketing is that you can find out exactly what potential customers are searching for and place your Web site in front of them. In fact, if you are planning on starting a new business, you can even research market segments online and find out which products are gathering plenty of searches while having little competition and build you business to fill a void.

One of the problems of traditional search marketing is that by targeting keywords and keyword phrases for products that you can easily sell, you may be passing up the chance to draw tons of traffic and and create new revenue from so called "trivial" searches. In a previous article title Search Engine Users Head Offline to Shop, I examined the results of a comScore Networks study that showed the majority of online searchers ultimately make their product purchase from a brick and mortar store. The study showed that just 8% of online product searches result in an immediate purchase.

So how can you, as a small business owner tap into a revenue stream from the other 92% of searches? The results of a research study conducted by Pew Internet & American Life Project may shed some light on that question. The survey tracked the searching habits of 2,200 individuals over a period of several months. 55% of those surveyed stated that half of the information they search for online is "trivial" and 17% of searches claimed that most of the information they search for online is trivial. Those figures add up to quite a bit of searching that seemingly is without direction.

The companies that take the time to figure out how to put themselves in front of those trivial searches and that then figure out a way to monetize the results have a chance at tapping into a far greater market than the companies that are simply targeting the people that are already looking to buy. Consider the "trivial" things that people go looking for online; funny video clips that they can forward on to their friends, information about when their new baby will start crawling, pictures of a hot new sports car that they've been dreaming about. Those "trivial" searches are going to lead them to a Web site, why shouldn't it be yours?

You may be wondering why you'd even want to receive traffic from people searching for trivial things, well, consider the many ways that you might make money off of the searches above. My husband searches for funny video clips when he's bored...and he stumbled upon the site He's probably not the only one...according to Wordtracker, the phrase "stupid video" gathers over 700 searches a day on Google...and that's not counting the many variations of that phrase. It may be a trivial search, but now he's a regular visitor of the site. That not only earns them money in terms of advertising revenue, but also gives them the chance to sell him on the idea of a site membership. (For a small fee, get high quality video streams, download videos to your computer, etc...) The site has taken what appears to be a "trivial" search and turned it into a profit center.

Similarly, I stumbled on by running a trivial search for pregnancy information. I'm now a regular visitor and although I do not subscribe to the site, they still have the chance to cross-sell me on a variety of baby related products while I read through their forums. The Wordtracker list of most searched for phrases is simply full of "trivial" search terms that could be turned into profit centers. Horoscopes, Playstation cheats, and more celebrities than you can shake a stick at.

So ask I really targeting all the traffic that I could be, or am I only going after those non-trivial searches? Is there a way that I can add more content to my Web site to capture some of those huge traffic numbers and then get creative about turning them into customers?

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
January 27, 2005

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

Search Engine Guide > Jennifer Laycock > Going Where the Searchers Are