The broad majority of marketers (86 percent) are investing heavily in SEO this year to reach Americans regularly searching the web while they shop. But what do consumers and business buyers really know about the search results they see?

Brafton hit the streets of Boston to ask locals and tourists across demographics some questions about Google and its results to gauge their search IQ. We questioned them about the layout of Google SERPs, the meaning of “S-E-O,” their most frequently searched subjects and more. Check out the full video and read on for the biggest highlights for marketers.

SEO: “Search Engine….. Original?”

While people generally acknowledge that Google makes its money through ads, some are more clear than others about where paid versus organic results lay on a SERP. And most of them were not sure what “SEO” was … even if they had heard of it.  With this in mind, marketers should remember that paid search and SEO work well together to give a brand maximum exposure on results pages (and 50 percent of Americans are more likely to click on results when the site appears multiple times on a SERP).

In demand: News and local content

Another key takeaway for marketers: Most of our street respondents said they search for news and local information. We recognize a number of respondents were Boston tourists, but even many of the locals said their last Google search was related to finding an eatery or entertainment venue.  Marketers planning their content marketing campaigns should take these points into consideration and write accordingly!

Check out Brafton’s “local SEO blueprint” (complete with a tutorial graphic) and our free white paper on using industry news for content marketing to learn more.

B2B SEO: Americans research business decisions

Other popular search subjects included sports information and business applications. The latter encompassed everything from research on software and services to guides and best practices (with one respondent who worked in HR claimed to search for insights on how to hire good candidates before every interview). This should be good news for business to business firms investing in search marketing and content – and a good reminder that B2B ultimately means B2P (business to people!) as you still have to appeal to the humans making business purchase decisions.

Stay tuned for more Brafton “Street Smarts” to help you see what your audiences know about web marketing.