Search Listening needs to be part of your strategy – here’s why.

Emmet McEvoy

Emmet McEvoy

Search & Content Executive

29th July 2020Growth Marketing

What is search listening?

A while ago, we looked at why social listening should be part of your content strategy.

Search listening is different. It adds an extra layer to your strategy by using search data to provide insights.

Marketers already use a form of search data in keyword research. But that only scratches the surface. There’s much more data that can inform you of a user’s intent.

Lots of businesses speak to their customers to find out what they want. But often a customer doesn’t trust a business enough to be totally honest.

But they’ll be honest with Google.

How does search listening differ from social listening?

Basically, search listening identifies trends based on what users search for. Social listening monitors conversations.

The difference is people tend to be more candid when using search engines because of the perceived anonymity. They’re being observed by others when using social channels and may consciously show an idealised version of themselves as a result.

Social insight informs us of how a user wants to be perceived.

Search listening breaks through that illusion and adds an additional layer to the insights.

How can search listening add value to insights?

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you run a restaurant. Your avocado dishes are popular, and you want to create content around them to boost your organic search rankings.

Social listening shows that people usually talk about the best way to eat avocado: on toast, in a salad or sandwich, with chicken, bacon, eggs, cheese, spinach, and so on.

avocado social listening word cloud

You’d probably base your content strategy around recipes if you only used social listening.

But search listening adds an extra layer to your insights, because people are more open with Google.

They aren’t asking about recipes. They have concerns and ask more personal questions: Will avocado make me fat? Can avocado make you sick? When does avocado go bad?

Those insights show that people enjoy avocado but are concerned about its impact on their health.

You now have a much richer picture of your audience’s intent.

That’s not to say you can’t base your content on recipes. Plenty of people are talking about them. But you can use your search insights to incorporate answers to those questions into that content, because it’s what your audience is actively searching for.

Your content will have added value as a result. It’ll rank higher and attract a more engaged audience.

Why should search listening be part of your strategy?

In terms of your strategy, it shouldn’t be a case of search OR social listening, rather search AND social listening.

You can make more informed decisions when you know more about your customer. Using both social and search listening allows you to build up a clearer picture of the audience you’re trying to understand and identify more specific targets.

You can discover what your audience is talking about using social listening. But, by overlaying that with search insights, you can also find out what questions they’re asking, what they want or need, and what concerns they have.

It allows you to cover all bases, refine your target audience and messaging, and make sure your content is as relevant as possible.


We offer search listening as part of our Growth Marketing service. Drop us a line to have a chat, we’d love to hear from you.

Change starts here

Want to get connected? Let's chat.

Talk to us