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Clients often ask me about search engine optimization (SEO).      In some businesses, it still makes a lot of sense to spend the time and effort to work on your search terms, analyze your Google analytics to see what drives traffic and continue to optimize.    In other businesses, not so much.

How do you know which category you fall into?    For some clues, I invite you to notice what you search for online these days and whether you use your phone or a desktop/laptop to do the search.      Or use your browser history to see what you’ve searched on recently.

Granted, this is not scientific nor a good sample size, but I’ve been noticing that I’m not using Google search in the same way lately.   Of my last ten searches (I checked my browser history for this), only one was to find a local service provider (gutter repair) and I was just in the early phase of research and will probably go to Yelp to check them out (and look for others).   The searches that would lead to a purchase decision included the specific name of the person or organization. For example, the name of an SAT tutor that was referred to me; the name of the Amazon seller I was considering; and the name of a local event in Oakland (Art & Soul is this weekend people :) )

I was also reminded by my search history that I use it to understand current pop culture and lingo – there was a search for ”CTFU” so I could understand a text from one of my daughters and to share historical pop cultural references with my kids- electric slide video anyone?

What are my marketing takeaways?   Brand awareness and referrals are still key.   I could do the specific name searches because I was aware of the companies/organizations through referrals (a friend and Amazon) or their offline awareness building (Art & Soul).     Some categories can still benefit from SEO, especially those that you would have used the print Yellow Pages for back in the day.    The rest need old-fashioned brand awareness plus the ability to be found with a few pieces of info- like their business name (amazingly, sometimes I can’t find a business’ website with a search on their name).