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What are Customers Looking for Online?

What are customers looking for? With the power of the internet on your side, you can see exactly what they're searching for online.

You will learn

  • How to find search suggestions
  • How to find the really useful information from your searches
  • How to use customer searches to your advantage

What do customers want? It is the million pound question, whether you are selling ice creams, or delivering business support. I have been answering that question about our customers by shaking Google’s search bar until all of its keywords have fallen out.

How have I been doing that? With two awesome, free tools. The first is the fantastically titled Ubersuggest, which is like Google’s suggest function on steroids. The second is the Google Adwords keyword planner. Together, they are helping me answer our company's most important question: what do local businesses want?

Ubersuggest is one of my favourite toys on the internet. The idea behind it is simple. When you type a few words in to the Google search bar, Google automatically tries to work out what you might be looking for and offers you some popular search suggestions; the more you type, the more refined the suggestions. Ubersuggest takes your keywords, adds the beginnings of new words after them, and then lets you know what Google would suggest (if Google could suggest literally hundreds of different things).

I put in scores of different keywords based on business support topics from digital marketing to tax returns. Every time Ubersuggest gave me its variations, I loaded them into an Excel workbook (this bit is important for later).

How to start a taxi company in Zimbabwe

In total, I collected over 36,000 suggestions. While most of them were relevant, like “how to get more customers in my shop”, there were a fair few that either applied to a different area “How to start a taxi company in Zimbabwe” or just were not relevant at all “How to watch the Apprentice season 7”. We needed to sort through our findings to pull out the real gems, and this is where the Google Analytics keyword planner came along.

Like Ubersuggest, the keyword planner is free to use. All you need to do is set yourself up with a Google account (if you have not already set one up then you really should). A Google account can give you access to Google Analytics, help you show up in Google local search, and let you use awesome tools like Google docs and more. If you give the planner a list of keywords that you think might be relevant to your business, then it will tell you which ones are the most popular, how popular they are over the course of the year and then suggest new ones. It can even tell you how popular they are within a specific location. Naturally, we picked York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.

Now, you can just give Google Adwords a few keywords (like holidays Yorkshire, B&Bs Yorkshire, Bed and Breakfasts Yorkshire etc.) or, if you have got a big list like ours you can upload them as a .CSV file. Just remember that you can only upload a maximum 3,000 records at a time.

What businesses want

Every time we uploaded a set of records to Google Adwords it told us which searches were the most popular, and let us download the list. Every time we downloaded the list, we deleted any search suggestions that had had 0 searches within our area. Finally, we combined the searches we had left over.

The result was a list of the 1,000 top questions that local businesses wanted help with on Google, which was then automatically grouped together in to relevant subject areas. That is dynamite.


We will be using the information we have gained to, as a Growth Hub, give businesses better services, and to figure out what articles we should be posting on our site. You could do the same thing for your business. For example, you might want to use it to find out what features tourists look for when finding somewhere to stay. Make sure you emphasise them in your marketing; the possibilities are endless.

You may be wondering, what were the top issues facing business? Digital marketing, general marketing, managing finances and writing business plans.

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Written by:

Simon King

Growth Hub Manager

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