Much has been written about the importance of buying the right keywords for paid search. But a new study goes a step further in understanding human search behavior patterns. Researchers believe marketers who get this right can improve the results of their search investment.

The findings of the Three Mindsets of Search study jointly carried out by About.com and Latitude suggest that consumer behavior when searching can be categorized as follows:

  • Answer Me – In 46% of searches people want an answer or a solution for exactly what they are seeking. Most Answer Me searches relate to the categories of Entertainment, Fashion and Beauty & Style. To reach these shoppers, marketers should make sure search results immediately list quick answers and feature a product’s benefits.
  • Educate Me – In 26% of searches, consumers want information and data. These quests for information may last several weeks and are especially apparent in the topics of Health and Finance. Marketers can best reach consumers embarking on these searches with informative content presented from multiple experts.
  •  Inspire Me – In 28% of searches, consumers are looking for ideas, but not a specific product or service. The Travel and Home & Garden categories are popular in these kinds of searches. Researchers suggest marketers present imaginative and inspirational content on a specific topic to make the sale.

Consumers naturally expect to encounter ads when they search online. And they say the brand advertising that works best does the following:

  • Helps them find options, deals, or discounts: 64%
  • Is relevant to the search: 77%
  • Works with the information source to help get what they need: 88%
  • Focuses on teaching instead of selling: 86%

Marketers that keep these details in mind as they craft content that links to search results will likely see higher click and conversion rates.

[Source: About.com. Announces Key Findings of ‘Three Mindsets of Search’ Study. About.com. 26 Sep. 2011. Web. 3 Oct. 2011]