Pokemon Go: Testing Google’s Reflexes

Last Weds (5 days ago at the time of writing) Niantic, Inc released Pokemon Go, an overnight sensation the likes of which no one could have predicted. The app, which lets you catch Pokemon “in real life” is so addicting, you’d think Walter White was selling it. It is more than likely if you’re reading this, than you already know the deal. But between hitting up pokèstops, the internet marketer and SEO in me couldn’t help what was happening on Google.

Google Instant

When you begin typing in queries into Google, it tries to finish your entry as a means of a positive user experience so you can complete a search with the least amount of effort. Google Instant results are driven by search volume (how many people search for it) and the frequency (how often people are searching with that term). For example, current events or movies usually pop up as they happen- the Superbowl, Christmas, etc.

Google has been transformed overnight by the flood of Pokemon Go searches. Keep in mind these don’t just happen because you’re searching for it or your friend is searching down the street- these are national results (and are not personalized). Let’s test this out with some common query seeds:


pokemon go - where do you find

pokemon go - how do you make

pokemon go - how does

pokemon go - how do you

pokemon go - how can I

pokemon go - where to

pokemon go - how to

It’s like everyone in the country is searching all the pokèmon things at the same time for the past 5 days straight!!


Of course, it’s a mobile world and Pokèmon Go is a mobile app; so what’s happened there?

pokemon go - who makes

pokemon go - where do you

pokemon go - how to make

pokemon go - how do you

pokemon go - where to find

pokemon go - how to

pokemon go - who made

pokemon go - how to do

pokemon go - what is

Google Trends

But the icing on the cake comes from Google Trends with the nerdiest, most specific, detailed giveaway of Pokèmon Go’s popularity… In the game you can hatch eggs, which turn into pokèmon you can later fight with or transfer. These eggs only hatch if you walk, and the standard distance you need to walk to hatch an egg is 5km (5 kilometers). Of course, the first thought on any American’s mind is: “how many miles is 5 kilometers?”

pokemon go - 5km to miles

Yolp. Interest in that specific calculation increased 5X from June to July- and it’s only July 11.

Comment below if you find other examples of how search has changed in relation to this game.




Go Team Mystic!

2 thoughts on “Pokemon Go: Testing Google’s Reflexes”

  1. Harris, your post really sets a great example of using a hot trend (Pokemon) to show how to use one of the things you teach well (SEO, specifically keyword research).

    This helps solve a big problem, since yesterday’s keyword tools either don’t work or tell you far less. One of the most powerful things you can know about your audience is how they communicate. Whether you’re optimizing for search, selling face to face or doing social media.

    Thanks for such an instructive article!

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