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SEO Peaks and Valleys: What and How the U.S. Searches

 How does geographical location affect the ways people look things up? It may be small, but it’s important to know these things as a digital marketer to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Here, we look into how America searches. 

In this digital age, not investing in SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is basically like opening a store and then refusing to put up a sign–it is counterintuitive. 

SEO involves a set of strategies and tactics to increase website visibility in search engine results. A business, for example, can significantly enhance its chances of being discovered by potential customers online by optimizing various elements of its website.

As businesses scramble to carve out their niche, they recognize that a high search engine ranking is more than just a vanity metric—it’s a critical component of brand visibility, credibility, and, ultimately, commercial success. 

While the fundamental principles of SEO are universally acknowledged, their application can differ widely based on geography and culture. People’s needs and wants vary based on their upbringing and other factors, after all. There’s a lot more to it than you think.

Does SEO still matter? 

With the rising dominance of social media platforms where content discovery is increasingly driven by algorithms tuned to individual preferences, a pressing question emerges: Does SEO still matter?

Recent years have witnessed a noticeable decline in traditional search engine usage as more users start their inquiries on social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have evolved from social networking sites to substantial content distribution platforms. 

Users are now less inclined to leave these platforms for answers, opting instead to rely on trending hashtags, influencer recommendations, and in-app search functions. This behavioral shift has led many to believe that the sun is setting on the SEO empire, rendering it less relevant in driving traffic and engagement.

Despite these changes, reports of SEO’s death have been greatly exaggerated. While social media is effective for building brand identity and community, SEO remains crucial for several reasons: 

  1. Visibility for long-tail keywords: Not all information is sought after on social media, especially detailed queries or niche topics. SEO is key for visibility in these long-tail searches, which may not trend on social media but can drive significant, focused traffic.
  2. Intent-based searches: Users typically turn to search engines with a specific intent, such as finding a particular product or researching a service. These high-intent queries mean that search engine traffic is often more targeted and converts at a higher rate.
  3. Sustainability: Social media trends can be fleeting, while ranking well in search engines can provide sustained traffic over a longer period. SEO isn’t subject to the same rapid shifts in user trends that social media is.

SEO is far from obsolete. It’s not about choosing between SEO and social media; it’s about understanding how these strategies can work in tandem to maximize a brand’s online visibility, traffic, and user engagement. 

As the lines between search engines and social platforms continue to blur, businesses and PR professionals must adapt, finding harmony between SEO tactics and social media strategies to effectively navigate the peaks and valleys of the U.S. search landscape.

Online behavior in the U.S.

A big part of Americans’ online behavior is their love for e-commerce. The U.S. is a hub of online shopping, a trend that has been further accentuated in recent years. Tech giants like Amazon have revolutionized the retail landscape with offerings like same-day shipping, making online shopping convenient and almost instantaneous. 

Such services cater to the American desire for immediacy and efficiency, leading many to prefer a few clicks over a trip to the local mall. This reliance on e-commerce platforms is also reflected in search trends, with a substantial number of searches dedicated to product reviews, price comparisons, and online deals.

ALSO READ: The Digital Archipelago: SEO Landscape in the Philippines

The question of the search engine

When it comes to search engines, Google undoubtedly reigns supreme, capturing over 85% of the market share. However, it’s not the only player in the game. Bing, stemming from Microsoft’s vast ecosystem, and Yahoo, with its longstanding digital presence, take the second and third spots, respectively. 

Although they hold smaller slices of the pie compared to Google, their user bases are significant enough to warrant attention. 

For businesses and SEO professionals, this translates into a need for a more diversified SEO strategy. Instead of solely optimizing for Google, there’s value in ensuring visibility on Bing and Yahoo, catering to those unique segments of the American online populace.

Exploring why some users favor Bing and Yahoo over the ubiquitous Google sheds light on the diverse needs of internet users and the importance of choice in the search engine ecosystem.

Bing: Microsoft’s Search Engine with Distinctive Features

Bing, owned by Microsoft, is the second most widely used search engine in the United States. While it operates similarly to Google, several unique attributes draw users to Bing:

  1. Visual Experience: Bing is known for its visually appealing homepage, which features a new high-resolution background image daily. This focus on aesthetics provides a different user experience compared to Google’s famously minimalist interface.
  2. Integration with Microsoft Products: Bing is deeply integrated with the Windows operating system and other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office and Xbox. This seamless integration makes it the default search engine for Microsoft’s services, attracting users who prefer or require consistency across their Microsoft devices and services.
  3. Privacy Options: While both Bing and Google offer various privacy controls, some users prefer Bing’s transparency in how it collects and uses data.

Yahoo: More Than a Search Engine

Though Yahoo’s share in the search engine market is smaller than Google’s and Bing’s, it remains relevant for several reasons:

  1. Content Ecosystem: Yahoo isn’t just a search engine; it’s also a news aggregator, a shopping center, an email service, a gaming platform, and more. People who use Yahoo services for their daily activities are more likely to use the search engine as well.
  2. Media Integration: Yahoo Search is often appreciated for its integration with its own media properties, providing direct access to Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Sports, and more. For users who rely on Yahoo’s news and media content, using Yahoo Search is a natural extension.
  3. Partnership with Bing: It’s important to note that Yahoo Search is powered by Bing, as part of the Yahoo & Microsoft Search Alliance. So, while users may think they’re using Yahoo, Bing is working behind the scenes, which means users may indirectly favor Bing’s search results and features.

ALSO READ: Incorporating SEO into Your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy

Centre or center? 

When delving into SEO, you can’t overlook the small details. Note that two dominant forms of English emerge as contenders: British English and American English. While they share a common ancestry, centuries of cultural evolution and regional influences have led them down slightly different paths.

The distinctions between the two are more than just a matter of accent; they affect vocabulary, spelling, and even grammatical structures. Consider everyday items: what’s known as “chips” in Britain would be “fries” in the U.S. While Brits stand in a “queue,” Americans wait in a “line.” And while a Brit might lace up their “trainers” for a morning run, an American would opt for their “sneakers.”

Spelling nuances, although subtle, can also impact SEO efforts. An American consumer would likely search for the “color” of a product, while their British counterpart would inquire about its “colour.” Similarly, one might find a “theater” in the U.S., but in Britain, it’s a “theatre.”

For businesses aiming to optimize their digital content for an American audience, adhering to American English is not just preferable but essential. Given the U.S.’s vast digital consumer base, small linguistic missteps can result in missed opportunities. By ensuring that their content aligns with American linguistic norms, brands can effectively resonate with their audience, enhance user experience, and boost their SEO results. In the world of digital marketing, it’s not just what you say but how you say it.

The Keys to Success for Your Strategy

In essence, the American digital landscape, influenced by its rich history, cultural values, and tech-driven advancements, offers challenges and opportunities. While the broader strokes of SEO remain consistent worldwide, the devil is in the details. From choosing the right search engine platform to the linguistic choices that resonate with the audience, every decision counts.

To truly succeed in today’s digital age, businesses must not only understand their target audience but also the cultural and regional factors that influence their online behavior. By doing so, brands can ensure that their message reaches their audience and truly connects with them.

So, open those shops and put those signs up. It’s a long road ahead.

M2.0 Communications is a digital agency that offers PR, social media management, and SEO services to drive your business forward and boost brand awareness among your target audience. Visit our case studies page to learn more about the brands we collaborate with.

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