If you’ve ever taken the time to watch how children and young adults communicate, you’ll notice they employ short-form words and ‘special codes’ like WTF == “where’s the fire?”
This ‘sub language’ — apart from potentially creating a new generation of “illiterati” — has far reaching implications for search marketing and e-commerce.
Today, search professionals develop sites and content to match keywords and key phrases. This in turn helps search engines match the question to the answer and presto… you find what you’re looking for (most times *wink*)
But what happens when children and young adults venture into the fray? What of their nascent buying abilities? The wads of wonga they wield so wickedly… (yeah OK, too much alliteration!)
But seriously, their words won’t match. Search will fail them.
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Children often can’t spell correctly – a problem which generates flawed results. Children prefer visual images and are easily distracted, and a new study by the Ganz Cooney Center shows children tend to search using full questions instead of keywords (hey! maybe there’s hope for Wolfram after all?)
And then let’s not forget many children and young adults have not had sufficient training (or had limited exposure due to parental controls) to learn the true art of searching (which as we all know is very much like conducting some arcane ritual involving a rubber chicken, copious amounts of coffee and finger positions rivaling Twister the board game!)
In time I suspect this “issue” will fade as technology creeps more into the classroom and kids learn “how.” Until then marketers are left creating content to meet the annoyingly cute language patterns of children and teenagers everywhere…