This article at WebProNews isn’t really about how offline news affects search rankings, but it made me think about it.
From the article:
“Some trends have continued over the years, for example pop-princess Britney Spears made the list every year, while some trends changed drastically, largely thanks to new technology like mobile devices,” a spokesperson for Yahoo tells WebProNews.
Back in 2001, the top ten list featured things like Napster, NASCAR, the IRS, and of course the World Trade Center. In fact, there had not been another news event to reach a year’s top ten list of Yahoo searches until the infamous BP oil spill of this past year.
The decade in search was largely dominated by entertainment and celebrity queries like Spears, Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Justin Bieber, 50 Cent, etc.
Yahoo! search trends have always been about what is popular offline. Celebrities usually hit the top search lists. Notice that the World Trade Center and the BP oil spill are the only two hard news items in ten years to hit the top search list. That’s not surprising. But those two made the lists because they are super huge news items that affect a lot of people. But you can generally expect the most popular celebrities, books, music, and movies of the day to dominate the Yahoo! search results.
That’s also true of search engine Bing. It’s less true of Google, though it is true to some extent. I believe when local search is as big as general search is today then it will likely be true of local search as well. In other words, when offline news on the local level is popular, you’ll be able to expect that people will search for information on that local news through one of the popular search engines.
So, how can marketers use this information? For starters, pay attention to the news. What is important to people offline? Figure that out and you can predict with some reasonable accuracy what the short-term search trends will be.
Another thing you should do is watch the online search trends. This will clue you in to what is important to people offline. Adjust your marketing aim based on that and conduct your search engine marketing to reflect the reality of the news cycle. Whether it is hard news, business news, celebrity news, or something else, you can target the trends with astonishing success.