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January 16, 2019
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Search Engine Psychology

Are your internet search engine habits shaping the way you see the world?

Let me explain the thinking behind that question. But first, let’s look at this scenario.

You have just purchased ??? (insert appropriate answer e.g. dress, shirt, car, jeans, shoes, hat, surfboard, bike, skis, camper etc) within a very short period of time you start to see a lot more of the same, if not a similar item to what you have purchased.

This psychological phenomenon is grounded in a series of cognitive bias. There is a mixture of both post-purchase rationalisation and confirmation bias. That is; we start to see more of what we want to so that it helps confirm that we have made the right decision or that what we purchased is on the money.

Basically, we psychologically create ways to confirm and support what we want/think/believe and do.

But what about our search engine methodology? Is that doing the same, but in a different manner?

The more we use the internet, the more it understands our usage, our likes, our dislikes and the more it starts to direct us to or supplies us with information around items we have previously looked for.

An example might be if we were to search for…”Are Honda lawn mowers better?” We read one or two reviews, we skim through a few articles around the positive aspects of Honda lawnmowers. Our research, reading and therefore understanding, may go somewhat to influencing what we think about:

i. Lawnmowers in general
ii. How Honda lawnmowers compare against other brands
iii. The features and benefits a Honda lawn mower

But because of our original search of the internet and the way that search was phrased, we start to see all sorts of information around the positive aspects of a Honda Lawnmower appearing out of know where:

“Honda lawn mowers on sale”
“Honda lawn mowers reviewed highly”
“Honda lawnmowers continually outsell the opposition”

All of a sudden and in a very consistent manner, we are being exposed to targeted information around the ‘upside’ of a Honda lawnmower. This additional non prompted information is mirroring the slant taken with the original search.

On the flip side, if our original search was along the lines of “Are Honda lawnmowers worth the money?” the ads and information popping up on the internet would be more negatively orientated than the information generated from ”Are Honda lawn mowers better?”.

Basically, if our original search was positively skewed the pop-ups, ads and further information would have a positive slant. Alternatively, if the original search was negatively pitched then the ongoing information would be along the same lines.

As humans, we like to see our decisions, ideas and thinking to be proved correct. We have and quite often, use confirmation bias to help us achieve this end.

Like any information, we take on to help with our decision making, make sure you understand it to the point of fact, rather than simply using it because it supports the ideas and decisions we believe to be right.

Use it where needed and use it the right way so that you make sure that in all the right ways and for all the right reasons…

The Journey Continues!

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