Tony Hirst points my attention (again) to Yahoo! Clues, a tool that, like Google’s Insights For Search, allows you to see what search terms are most popular. However, unlike Insights, Yahoo! Clues gives much deeper demographic information about who is searching for particular terms.
Tony’s interest is in how libraries might use it. I’m obviously interested in the publishing side – and search engine optimisation (SEO). And here’s where the tool is really interesting.
Until now SEO has generally taken a broad brush approach. You use tools like Insights to get an idea – based on the subject of your journalism – of what terms people are using, related terms, and rising terms. But what if your publication is specifically aimed at women – or men? Or under-25s? Or over-40s? Or the wealthy?
With Yahoo! Clues, if the search term is popular enough you can drill down to those groups with a bit more accuracy (US-only at the moment, though). Taking “Emma Watson haircut”, for example, you can see that a girls’ magazine and one aimed at boys may take different SEO approaches based on what they find from Yahoo! Clues.
Apart from anything else, it demonstrates just what an immature discipline web writing and SEO is. As more and more user data is available, processed at faster speeds, we should see this area develop considerably in the next decade.
UPDATE: After reading this post, Tony has written a follow-up post on other tools for seeing demographics around search behaviour.