How to Google; or How to be Easily Distracted

I set out with the intention of writing a self improvement type article with an original temporary working title of 'How To Overcome Fear'.

Being the sound marketing man that I am though, my first action was to research whether this was relevant to many peoples lives.

What followed was a mistake.

I had read recently about a 'Google Suggest' in Beta test mode (http://www.google.com/webhp?complete=1), and so I thought I would give it a whirl.

I should have known better - distractions on the web happen to me all the time.

The next hour passed effortlessly away as I played with the new found toy.

This is Google's own description of the tool:

'What is Google Suggest?

As you type into the search box, Google Suggest guesses what you're typing and offers suggestions in real time. This is similar to Google's "Did you mean?" feature that offers alternative spellings for your query after you search, except that it works in real time. For example, if you type "bass," Google Suggest might offer a list of refinements that include "bass fishing" or "bass guitar." Similarly, if you type in only part of a word, like "progr," Google Suggest might offer you refinements like "programming," "programming languages," "progesterone," or "progressive." You can choose one by scrolling up or down the list with the arrow keys or mouse.

That's pretty cool. How does it do that? Our algorithms use a wide range of information to predict the queries users are most likely to want to see. For example, Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers...'

Here are some thought provoking results:

'How to overcome fear' - 2,580,000 results

'How to overcome anxiety' - 119,000 results

At least I am right to be targeting my article towards those expressing concern about fear.

But here is the strange thing - Google sponsored AdWord links for 'anxiety' is twelve, but 'fear' only has three.

There are many more anomolies such as this in a very short time.

Furthermore, look at these interesting results from Google Suggest:

The really amazing thing is how big some of the search results are:

'How to be happy' 95,000,000 results - sponsored links, nine.

AND

What about these:

'How to be hot' - 192,000,000 and get this - NIL Google sponsored links.

'How to be humble' - 6,700,000 - NIL Google sponsored links.

This last example has been included, as it is more surprising in that even the normal Google search for the keyword phrase 'how to be humble' throws up results that bear vary little resemblance to the searched term. Try it and see.

What absorbed me were the ranking figures showing on the right. IF the figures are correct I can confidently state that product producers, affiliates and advertisers are really missing out on a lot of massively searched niches.

Have I found a goldmine? Should I be revealing all this?

Well I don't know, and frankly I am puzzled by what the 'Google Suggest' numbers really represent.

I am not going to get that excited as I have just been to Wordtracker which gave me these results for two of the above terms.

'How to be hot' - 13 searches in the last 110 days

'How to be humble' No searches in the last 110 days.

So where do the 'Google Suggest' figures come from? Can you throw any light on this, because if you can it will save me being distracted further in search of the truth.

Oh - and there is still that article to write about overcoming fear. Down to it.

Keith is the Managing Director of Creative Eye and has over 10 years experience in website design, development and project management. To read more from Keith Watson, visit http://www.creativeeye.co.uk/articles/

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