You keep reading tweets reminding you that if you don’t talk to your customers, you’re leaving money on the table.
But, you need a little guidance. You open up a new tab and search for a guide to customer interviews (like this one).
A few hours later, you remember that you need to get a black tie outfit for an upcoming wedding.
You’re not exactly sure what you want. You open up a new tab and find thousands of options.
As you’re closing out your workday, you have one more task. You need to set up a meeting with a colleague in a different time zone.
To be polite, you want to send the time slot options in their timezone. You open up a new tab and have the time zone conversion within seconds.
Which website gave you all of these solutions?
In today’s special edition of Why We Buy, we’re analyzing a well-known company to see how they use buyer psychology principles in their business.
This week, we’re diving into Google – specifically Google Search.
Let’s get into it.
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A Look Inside Google 🤑
Google didn’t start out as Google.
Its first name was Backrub (seriously).
Even though their name evolved, founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s mission hasn’t swayed since 1995.
Their focus “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” has stuck through moving their headquarters from a dormitory, to a garage, and eventually to the 2 million square foot Googleplex.
And it turns out Page and Brin hedged a great bet.
Few companies can claim the world domination that Google can. And fewer can show how much they’ve done to propel other businesses on their meteoric rise.
Companies that know how to blog strategically can drive 100,000+ website visitors to their products through search. That’s a lot of potential buyers.
(Ready to upgrade your blog? Get free access to Ahrefs Blogging Course here.)
Google’s desire to organize the world’s information led to a $256.74 billion annual revenue in 2021 alone.
So, what’s their secret?
How Google Uses Buyer Psychology 🧠
To get the average Joe and Jane to even consider trying a search engine back—which was still a brand new thang back in 1995—Google knew they needed to make it as easy as possible.
Any extra complexity and people already hesitant to use the internet would run for the hills (or grab their encyclopedia).
Google had to tap into the mind of their ideal users (one of the few companies who can actually say that “everybody” is their ideal customer!) using buyer psychology strategies.
Let’s explore some of the smart moves that helped Google earn—and keep—the title of the world’s #1 search engine…
From day one, the Google search engine was different. This is what early internet users had come to expect a search engine homepage to look like…
Did you see the search bar right away? I didn’t. There are literally 100+ links competing for your attention and this was the norm back in 1995.
Google changed that. This is what Google’s homepage looked like…
Google’s search page, to this day, isn’t cluttered with distracting calls to action. The only focus of their search page is… to search.
They reduce choice paralysis by making the intended action obvious.
And IF users want to avoid choosing the best search result, they can enter their search query, hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button, and Google will just bypass the results page altogether and send them directly to the #1 search result.
In Google’s case, fewer choices resulted in happier users… and eventually a $1T empire.
What’s the best way to help people find what they’re looking for? By nudging them to enter a high quality search query.
Google’s autocompleting feature helps users figure out how to ask questions or choose from an array of questions that might serve them better.
Once users have made their search, they’re met with a ‘People Also Ask’ dropdown menu. Again, Google nudges users to keep searching by refining their queries.
Google learns what job searchers are trying to get done and optimizes their results experience accordingly.
For example, if you search for something super generic like “best restaurants” they assume you’re looking to explore restaurants in your area to plan a special meal.
Using geotargeting, they’ll automatically show you restaurants near you (rather than the best restaurants in the world) and allow you to filter results by star rating, cuisine, hours of operation, etc.).
They also give users the option to choose the type of media they’re looking for in their search results. By adding the All, Images, News, Videos, Books, and More tab to the search results, Google makes it easier for searchers to find the content they need to get their job done.
Google strategically shows users how many search results exist for their query. When we see that Google scanned 20,300,000 pages—in just 0.47 seconds mind you—to deliver the top search results—this builds confidence in their recommendations.
When was the last time you looked at Page 2 of Google? Most likely it’s been a while (if ever—only 0.63% of people click a result on the second page).
We believe that Google works hard to deliver the best search results so if we don’t like the first few results, we assume our query was bad and refine the search. Google works hard so we don’t have to.
Usually, changing a brand’s logo is a big no-no. But Google has a bit more leeway than the average business. Their logo is so well known, that they can play around with it.
By celebrating holidays and special moments in history, Google creates moments of delight for its users.
Maybe they’ll see the usual Google logo. Or, they might get something fun, like this commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web (used on March 12th, 2019).
This is fun, right?
Power of Free
By relying on an advertising model, Google created a free search engine. Users don’t have to worry about only getting a limited number of daily searches. Google is always ready to find users the answers they need at zero cost.
Their free products, like Search, familiarize users with Google and create reciprocity. Buyers know, like, and trust, the brand. When they’re ready to upgrade to a business email address, for example, they choose Google.
Thinking About Your Business 🤔
Google simplified business.
It didn’t try to add every single bell and whistle available (like other search engines).
They focused on the psychology behind their users: people new to the internet that wanted an easy way to get answers to their questions
Use these questions to simplify your product model while creating the ultimate buying experience.
Q: How can you improve the choice architecture your buyers’ experience?
If your buyers face too many options (like 9 different services or 20 slightly different products), they’ll freeze. Reducing the number of choices or grouping products into intuitive categories can help people to find what they need and complete their purchase.
Q: Where can you add a gentle nudge to help customers make progress?
Use customer research to figure out where your buyers are getting caught up in your funnel. Add gentle nudges along the way that keep them moving through your funnel, instead of getting caught in the top or middle stages.
Q: How can you add delight to your customer experience?
Multiple studies show that delight—not satisfaction—drives brand loyalty. Look for ways to surprise customers with unexpected value to deepen their connection with your brand.
The Short of It 💥
You can’t build a trillion-dollar business without deely understanding your users
As the world’s largest search engine, Google has a HUGE advantage when it comes to understanding users.
As a former Google Engineer said, “Google searches are the most important dataset ever collected on the human psyche.”
Have you ever wondered what people search for related to your business? Check out Answer Socrates. It’s a free, very cool tool that will allow you to better understand the questions people ask related to your business.
For instance, I searched Answer Socrates for “buyer psychology.” Less than a second later and I have a ton of new content ideas that I know readers will be interested in because people are already searching for them. Cool, huh!?
Once you know common questions, you can write blogs that answer those questions and attract tens or tens of thousands to your website each month for free.
If you’re ready to start blogging for business, check out Ahrefs’ free online course. It’s outstanding.
Until next time, happy selling.
Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?There are a few ways I can help:
- Get explosive clarity about what works with buyers by learning how to conduct 1:1 Clarity Calls (2000+ happy students)
- *NEW* Learn how to mine online reviews from real buyers to generate ideas and copy that converts (250+ happy students)
- Book a 1:1 strategy call with Katelyn and get the answers you need to get unstuck and move forward with confidence