Mika L Schiller

The Three Major Groups of Online Searchers and Why it Matters

One of the main reasons many companies spend money on Google ads with little to show for it is because they don’t understand how people search online. The key to running successful Google ads campaigns lies in picking keywords which are specific enough that you filter out people who aren’t interested in your product, but that also aren’t so specific that you reach too small a number of people. Walking that fine line means you have to understand the three main ways that people search for things online.

There are three major groups of online searchers:  

1) Information Searchers are people looking for general information on a topic. One person might be doing research for a report at his job. Another person might be killing time at the train station. It’s usually hard to tell what someone who is in this category’s goal is, but most of the people in this group are not ready to buy and probably never will be.

2) Comparison searchers are definitely interested in your product, but they may not be ready to buy yet. Usually, they’re just researching and comparing products, prices, reviews, etc. Some people in this group will be ready to buy in a matter of days, weeks or hours even, but others won’t be ready to buy until days, weeks or months later or maybe never.

3) Buyers are typing with one hand while they have their credit card in the other. They already know what they want and the only reason they haven’t made the purchase already is because they are looking for the right place and the best price.

So how does this relate to your ads? The most important aspect of a Google ad campaign is your keywords. If you’re selling a product, you obviously want most of your Google traffic to consist of qualified leads who fall into the Buyers group, and secondarily in the Comparison Searchers group. Most of us are going to want to filter out people in the Information Searchers group. So how do you do that?

The first thing you have to do is anticipate what kinds of keywords Buyers and Comparison Searchers might type into the search bar. Generally, Comparison Searchers and Buyers are going to type more specific keywords than Information Searchers.

Let’s say your company sells laptops and you want to find people who are ready to buy or almost ready to buy. Here’s how the three different groups of searchers might search:

Information Searcher

This person will generally type one or two generic words.

• Laptop

• Large laptop

• American laptop

Comparison Searcher

This guy will be a bit more specific, using modifiers that will allow him to ferret out more practical information.

• Compare Chinese laptops

• American laptop reviews

• Alternatives to American laptops


People in this group are often very specific, often using results of previous research to search.

• Order Chinese laptop

• Buy Lenovo laptop online

• Dell laptop best price

Of course, every company wants to find the buyers and it makes sense to structure your campaigns so that you’re able to do so. But as you gain more experience, you’ll find that there’s plenty of people in the other two groups who can eventually become buyers once you get them through your digital marketing pipeline. That’s where you’ll be able to use your website, email marketing and other channels to turn your qualified leads into buyers.

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