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The Top 5 Reasons we Canucks use Google Differently

November 23, 2009 by · 14 Comments
Filed under: SEO 

google_canadaWe 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,, 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, accounts for a full 65% or two out of every three Canuck searches, followed by 18% on, 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!

Click here to go to the Hitwise site and request the .pdf be sent to you so you can dig through the stats summaries…

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14 Responses to “The Top 5 Reasons we Canucks use Google Differently”
  1. Justin says:

    I can’t believe you call Canadians, Canucks, makes me a sad Canadian :(

    Man the amount of stereotyping on this blog hurts me, the last phrase makes me want to hurt someone. I mean honestly, the information in the post is excellent (and saves me having to download that PDF), but your writing style is nothing short of insulting.

  2. admin says:

    @Justin…I’m so sorry that this use of this term bothers you — obviously a lot! But as a 1st generation Canuck I’m more than proud of this term and it’s nationalistic spirit! Wiki says this about the term fyi “…Canadians use “Canuck” as an affectionate or merely descriptive term for their nationality…” Others can use it as they wish, but for the vast majority, I think the term is merely an affectionate nickname for a Canadian.

    Insulting? Not in the least. But if you do have to ‘hurt someone’ then maybe you should visit Vancouver to watch the Canucks play…oh, wait, guess you dont like hockey then either, eh!



  3. Justin says:


    Sadly enough I guess my vision of the Canadian spirit lines up differently, and I guess since I’m not a big fan of hockey I’m not very Canadian either!

    But I’m sure we can both agree it’s a wonderful country.

  4. dhiraj says:

    above of all controversies, post is really nice. specially “Canucks love games!” and Canucks fail at their searches 30% of the time!

  5. Mike says:

    Jim – don’t worry too much about what Justin has to say. Sounds to me like he’s either wound up too tight or unclear on what the connotation of “canuck” really is.
    Great info on the hitwise data, especially on the long/short tail. Something for me to consider in both my SEM and SEO.


  6. This is great info. Here in Vancouver I’m amazed at the dominance of Search Engines and Google in particular – over 90% of search traffic some some of my clients. ( I’m not sure what Justin’s problem is.)

  7. George says:

    Your title is misleading. You said “Top 5 REASONS” but you’ve not provided reasons but observations of habits.

    A good title isn’t just SEO friendly but is also accurate.

  8. Jim says:


    I’m sorry that my semantics seem to bother you…but the “reasons” we use Google differently, is taken directly from Hitwise, the folks who did the study and each of my 5 Reasons above is fully backed up with the study’s results in their report.

    I’d think you should d/l the report yourownself and look it over. And while semantics are important, what’s more important here are the actual reasons we canucks DO what we do when it comes to Google!



  9. Peter says:

    Hey, just found your blog for the first time, quite interesting for an avid Canadian internet marketer like myself. Anyway, the fact that Canadian do short search mostly is certainly something I will take in consideration in my keyword research. Thanks for the tip. The fact that many of these searches are unsuccessful is quite funny though.

    I was already using the “Canada” term a lot in my campaigns, I found it very powerful. So please stop sharing this :P


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