Keying in on Purchase Searches and Thrift Searches

May 6th

Yesterday a couple of my search referrals were:

  • download seo books

  • definitive guide to google adwords filetype:pdf

The download search might be someone looking to buy, but the other search is most likely someone looking for something for free.

Looking to buy?

There are many searches where just adding a modifier means that the search results are going to be exceptionally uncompetitive. If you add the modifiers that people use during the buying cycle (ie: buy, purchase, reviews, compare, review, download or best) you may be able to get high value traffic for next to nothing.

Looking for free?

Looking for my stuff for free?

When you are new to the market piracy might be one of your best free marketing channels because retail only matters if you have reach and people are buying.

If you have too many bad customers that likely starts to give you a bit of a bad mood and rub off on how you treat good customers.

I like to think that if people did not want to pay for my stuff that hopefully they would get a dated version from a file sharing network rather than buying and doing a chargeback or buying and then asking for a refund without reason.

When I posted about raising the bar on what I considered a real charity others commented on that page that people can get dated versions from file sharing networks. I left the comments in there, and then liked the idea so much as to put free SEO Book at the start of the page title and to start the page with a recommendation for file sharing networks.

By creating semi accessible paths for bad customers that prevent them from needing to contact you the quality of your average customer or inquery should go up.

Looking for someone elses stuff for free?

If you are new to the web you not only want to get top rankings, but you also want to grab mindshare. Mindshare has value, and most brand terms are not deeply competitive on the web unless there are many web based retailers or affiliates for that brand.

A cheap or easy way to gain mindshare is to review relevant products and recommend them on your site. If the person selling the product is clued in and likes your feedback then they may be inclined to link at you. Also when people do background searches on competing products they will be introduced to your brand. Don't forget to use words they may not have used in their marketing mix (for an ebook maybe they didn't use the version e-book or talk at all about PDFs, for example). I also have also been given free books based on reviews of other books I did on Amazon.

The people looking for things for free or doing background searches may not be as likely to buy as people who are already looking for your brand, but if you have not built up much of a brand it is not hard to tap into the brand value and traffic value created by others brands. Even if you make no money off of much of this traffic it still grants you additional mindshare for limited effort. Some search engines may consider usage data as a type of recommendation. So long as you present quality information you can almost guarantee that reviewing some of the most popular products in your vertical will be a cheap and profitable investment.

Published: May 6, 2006

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