The Top 5 Reasons we Canucks use Google Differently
We Canadians search differently, it appears, than say Americans or folks from the UK. At least that’s what a recent Hitwise report states, that we do our searches in a more prolific manner that our US or UK counterparts. So, what’s the difference — and maybe more importantly, how can any of us SEO practitioners take advantage of that difference?
1]. Canucks use search engines more than any other channel on the web!
That is, search engines were the #1 location depended upon by Canucks, more than any other of the 165 other web categories as was tracked by Hitwise. More than any other industry to me means that SEO practices will continue to grow as more and more Canucks use search engines to find more than 50% more sites that Americans and 20% more than our UK neighbours too!
2]. Google dominates our searches!
In over 80% of the searches Canucks used Google to search for goods, services or entertainment while MSN or BING was second this past summer with only 9%. Rounding out the top 4 were Yahoo at 8% and Ask at 3% totalling 99% of all search engines being used. But what’s even more interesting is the usage of Google specific national sites….like google.ca, google.co.uk, google.fr. These were also specifically used and that poses some challenges for us SEO practitioners in that we should look into this international usage and try to capitalize on same for our clients. Interestingly enough, as I always expected, google.ca accounts for a full 65% or two out of every three Canuck searches, followed by 18% on google.com, proving that our two NA google engines still rank the highest at 83% overall.
3]. Canucks love games!
Canucks searched for games, games and more games, with the #1 unbranded search term used in the country was ‘games’ in English or ‘jeux’ in French. And our interest in online games is not limited to a single term either; 8 of the top 100 search terms were for games or gaming websites. And the term ‘games’ ranks #18 among Canuck search terms but #95 in the US…proving that we Canucks I suppose just love to kill aliens! This is markedly different from what Americans search for and is further diversified in that Canucks are also avid searchers for ‘retailers’ too, in particular online retail marketplaces like Kijiji, eBay and LeSpac. Closely behind were searches for Facebook, mySpace and youTube.
4]. Canucks are concise searchers!
And I’d guess that we Canucks are also about the briefest of searchers too as in more than half of all Canuck searches, we used one or two words. Only the UK has slightly less of a percentage, and that it appears is due to the dominance here of brand names used in those two word queries. Americans rank at 43% of all searches using one ot two keywords so they trail us in that department too. For us SEO practitioners then, the challenge will be in fine-tuning our keyword strategys to try to take advantage of this ‘short tail’ Canuck opportunity — especially, when you realize that Canucks use ‘long tail’ terms not as much as we thought and reasons to ponder this abound!
5]. Canucks fail at their searches 30% of the time!
Opportunities for us SEO practitioners though look good as it was also reported that on average 30% of those short queries were not succcessful; meaning that after a set of search results were posted, the Canuck did not click on a selected result to leave the search page. Interestingly enough, Hitwise also reported that searches that include a qualifier like Canada, ie ‘wedding dresses canada‘ or ‘walmart canada’ enjoy a significantly higher success rate than those without that qualifier…hint here for those of you running a PPC campaign for a client should give Canucks what they’re looking for on their first search term.
In closing here, I think that we should all consider much of the data in that report as fairly evident that we Canucks use Google in a manner that goes beyond the simple use of same as a navigational aid and as the stats show, we Canucks are more prolific users of Google than our US or UK neighbours. This offers up some interesting opportunities for brand marketers who choose to take the strategy of bidding on their brand terms to ensure that their sites come up the highest in any relavent search engine results page….and lots more to think about too, eh!Google