Toyota Camry image courtesy of Toyota
John Goreham's picture

What the Google Search Bar Says About Your Brand or Model Number Can Be Enlightening

Want to find out what other people are searching for with regard to your brand? Here's how.
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Google's search bar is a powerful tool. One of the modern features of Google's Chrome browser is that you can simply type your search into the address bar at the top. A second feature is that if you begin typing in a key phrase the Google search bar will complete the phrase or question based on what other users have previously typed in. To see what this tool can reveal about car brand and car models, we did a bit of an experiment.

There are many other sources of great information to find out what other people are concerned about or searching for with regard to your specific car model or brand. CarComplaints.com does a fantastic job of aggregating the main concerns that owners have about a specific year, make, and model. Consumer Reports also gathers together owner vehicle data and then organizes it in an easy to read format. While both are great resources we use often, neither is as quick as the Google Search bar at revealing the top concerns of owners.

Type Your Car Brand Or Model Into Goolge's Search Bar
To see what others have asked Google about your vehicle try this; Type into the search bar, your brand. Here are some examples we tried and the results that we saw:
- Q: My Nissan is...A: stuck in park A: a lemon
- Q: My Honda is...A: leaking oil A: not starting
- Q: My Subaru is...A: making a whining noise A: making a clicking noise
- Q: My Chevy is...A: Cruze is shaking A: Impala is making a clicking noise
- Q: My Mazda is...A: Bluetooth is not working

We could keep going with the brand listings, but it is clear that for the most part, folks are searching for help with a problem when they type in the phrase "My (Brand Here) is..." One notable exception is Toyota. Here is the result when we tried the same thing for Toyota:
- Q: My Toyota is...A: fantastic A: no answer - blank field

Toyota is out of the norm here. In a good way.

Type Your Specific Model Into Google's Search Bar
We tried some more detailed keyword searches and found similar results. Here are a few examples of what we found when we began the same searches but added a model to the brand.
- Q: My Subaru Forester is...A: overheating
- Q: My Toyota Highlander is...A: leaking oil
- Q: My Honda CR-V is...A: No Results - blank answer
- Q: My Ford F-150 is...A: compatible with what years
- Q: My Chevy Silverado is...A: issues A: the best

The Silverado has an interesting result here. Many p[people apparently type in the words, "My Chevy Silverado is the best." That's a happy customer.

Year, Make and Model Keyword Searches in Google
Next up, we added another more specific part of the vehicle description. We added the model year to the Google search bar test we entered. Here, the system breaks down. After multiple attempts, the Google search bar was only giving up "Is worth..." for all the entries. Apparently people are mainly concerned with trade-in value when they add that much detail.

Try searching for your brand or brand plus model and let us know if you find any surprises.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin.

Image note: Image courtesy of Toyota media support.


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