My loyal and very dear readers must remember this little post I committed some time ago called Google Is The New Browser. I just wanted to add a couple of comments from the trenches.
Last week, I gave 5 sessions of the same class WebTrends – Understanding Reports & Introduction to Web Analytics. I had about 37 people all together over the 5 days. Training is a part of my work I love, because I have the opportunity to meet a lot of people. I usually do it on location at companies/organizations, and I get to learn about so many different business and analytical challenges. Training feeds my consulting work so much, I sometimes feel that it’s not me who is the expert.
I always take a few minutes here and there throughout the day to survey the participants on their online habits. Since I published the post I referred to above, I also got to observe them when I ask them to go to some URLs. This week this pattern of using Google instead of the URL field of the browser again jumped at my face. I had here people in public administration from various age groups and technical levels, calling up Google, typing the URL, or just a couple of words, and then clicking on the link to get there. I mean, I was simply asking “Go to www.so-and-so.ca”, and some of them used Google instead.
I noticed that for at least half the participants!!
Now, again, is this behavioral pattern really search? I think not. This bears the profound question now of what organic search actually is. Should we then treat all brand/domain related search as not being search? If not, how can we, in our Web Analytics tool, make the difference?
Next time you are with some people in front of computers, observe them when they want to go to a specific site. Better yet, tell them to go to a site and provide the actual domain name, and watch what they use to get there.
Let me know if you’ve witness it around you.