My name is Chloe Willcox and I am a student at Portsmouth University studying English language and I’m just about to embark on my final year of study which makes it the perfect time for me to be on a work experience placement here at Vertical Leap. I’ve been asked my opinion on a few things about search and marketing as a young student and this is my chance to ‘jump on the blog-wagon’…
So, search. What is search? Maybe it’s one of those things that can mean different things to many people. For instance, to some it could mean whack it in to Wikipedia and scan the first paragraph, to others maybe a little more is required. Chances are if you’re on the internet, you’re looking for something, with UK users spending 64% of their time on search engines.* As a student I hear the term ‘search’ a lot and the first port of call for me (and millions of others) is Google. Why? Well, popular consensus, reliably and usability to name a few reasons but these are all carefully planned conceptions that the brand has succeeded in planting. At the cinema the other day, me and my friend were chatting about the movie, and suddenly she came out with an impressive stat about the main actor; my instantaneous response was ‘have you been stalking this bloke?!’ her response: ‘no, I Googled him’. And with one fell swoop we were instantly back to reality. Of course she had Googled him. Well, she certainly hadn’t ‘Yahooed’ him or ‘Asked Jeeves about him’ and if she did, she would have been contributing to only 8% of searches that don’t use Google *.
When doing a search to find ideas, people, places, news, etc., it’s usually simple to enter a search term that’s generic enough to get relevant hits, and in a good search you’ll feel satisfied that you found what you wanted without too much bother. Perhaps it is this fulfilment sense that clarifies a ‘good search’ from a ‘bad’ one where perhaps what you were looking for was obscured by irrelevant links usually brought about by acronyms, such as when I searched for PPC and found the Picture Production Company and Practical Performance Car magazine. And for younger internet users, maybe satisfaction lies in having a wealth of data which could be a result of the ‘information culture’ which could mean we are looking for a more varied result from our search engines because as figures suggest ’20 year olds are keen to use integrated search’*.
This is all very well for finding information fast and getting what you want as quickly as possible, but what about if I want heavy, full-on research? Well sorry Google, but I’ll be heading to the University Library. To me it just seems, if you want the nitty-gritty, you’ll have to do the work yourself because with branded websites doing their best to get noticed, you can’t be unbiased in your choices on which information is the most reputable and there is a lot that gets in the way. And as for a happy-medium to the non-student, perhaps Google Scholar might assist.
*Econsultancy, UK Search Marketing Statistics, January 2012