Internet psychologist Graham Jones has just posted an interesting Blog called “Search is on its deathbed…bye, bye SEO“.
In it he states:
“They (Search Engines) would like us to think that we are constantly “searching” for things online – but we aren’t. We are “locating” stuff we already know about, a lot of the time.”
“We are merely locating things that we want to find following some offline trigger… Add to that the fact that people are now seeking answers to questions rather than searching for general information, it means that traditional search engines are going to have their work cut out in the months ahead.”
This sounds an awfully lot like the behaviour of people using Help files – typically they know WHAT they want to do, but they don’t know HOW to do it. They ask questions, in many cases. Navigating and locating become more important than searching.
Perhaps this means the strategies and technologies adopted by technical authors when creating Help files should be adopted by Web developers. Content may need to focused on answering questions, as people migrate towards “answer engines” rather than search engines, such as Google. For software companies, this may simply be a case of adding the content of their Help files to their Web site.