July 13, 2007
I was demonstrating Overture's keyword suggestion tool to some coworkers, used the keyword "voip", and was surprised by one of the suggested results ("michigan voip"). Check out the screenshot to the right of the Top 20 results listing the rankings of the top VoIP-related keywords
(by traffic) according to Overture. #20 is "michigan voip"
. Why the heck is "michigan voip" ranked 20th? Even more surprising is that Michigan VoIP ranks higher than "voip traffic" (#21) or "asterisk voip" (#22). I remember noticing "michigan voip" years ago using a keyword utility and thought it was surprising then. But it wasn't until today that I decided to blog about it and see if anyone else knows why. The curiousity is killing me!
One theory I had is that perhaps a lot of states are searched by users to find local VoIP service providers. After all, why not give your local businesses your
business. So then I looked at the top 100 VoIP-related keywords and there were no other U.S. states. In fact, the only geographical keyword in the top 100 was "canada voip".
So I got to thinking, why would "michigan voip" rank so highly? It then occured to me that there are a lot of foreign immigrants in the state of Michigan that probably want to call home inexpensively using VoIP. Hispanics in Michigan numbered 160,000 according to the 1990 Census and comprise the largest foreign language-speaking group in the state. There are more than 150,000 in Michigan who claim Greek descent, 120,000 in the Detroit area, and although they have assimilated, they still keep strong ties to family in Greece. Arabs began settling in Detroit as early as the 1920 when they established a tight-knit community around the Detroit area - many of them in Dearborn, and currently numbering more than 100,000. Could it be that Michigan's large immigrant community is searching the search engines for 'michigan voip'? It's a plausible theory, except, New York, specifically New York City alone has more foreign immigrants from more countries than any other place on the planet. So I would expect to see "new york voip", but I don't. So I'm at a loss to this mystery. Any theories?