Amplitude owes a pretty big chunk of its website traffic to Google. That’s largely by design: We’ve keyworded our site to make ourselves easy to find for anybody who’s seeking information about limb loss. We can track which terms bring the most Google traffic our way, which helps us know what subjects people are searching for.
In broad terms, Amplitude‘s biggest Google draws are articles about sex/relationships, movies/actors, and clothing/merchandise. But does it therefore follow that those are the top subjects of amputee-related inquiry on Google?
Note that we aren’t asking “What Google inquiries are most popular among amputees?” We can’t really answer that question, because there’s no way to know whether the person making the inquiry a) has lost a limb, b) is planning for or considering amputation, c) has a relative who has lost (or may need to lose) a limb, d) is a prosthetist or other care provider, or e) doesn’t fit any of the above categories and has some other reason for seeking information about limb loss. We can’t tell who is doing the searching; we can only tell what they are searching for.
While it’s true that Amplitude gets the most traffic from inquiries about sex/relationships, movies/actors, and merchandise/gifts, we’re only one website. It’s possible that inquiries about other kinds of limb-loss information—e.g., “How much does a prosthetic device cost?”—are far more common, and Google is sending that traffic to websites that focus more strongly on technology than we do (such as our partner publication, the O&P Edge). Likewise, people who want information about amputation surgery, amputee rehabilitation, and amputee fitness might vastly outnumber those who are searching for information about amputee movies.
There’s no way to really know unless we look at a bigger data sample, beyond our own traffic. So that’s what we did. We headed over to Wordtracker, a keyword-research tool that tracks the overall search volume on zillions of different subjects, and we started typing in words and phrases related to limb loss. We ended up inputting 200 search terms, and while that’s just a tiny fraction of the possible amputee-related topics that people might want information on, we think we probably hit all the big ones. Over the past year, these are the top 10 search terms related to limb loss (average number of monthly searches in parentheses):
|2. prosthetic leg||28,100|
|4. amputee sex||15,175|
|5. phantom pain||14,025|
|7. prosthetic arm||12,367|
|8. prosthetics and orthotics||7,475|
|9. leg amputation||6,725|
|10. Hanger prosthetics||6,200|
Prosthetics represent the single biggest subject of inquiry on Google, and it ain’t close. Five of the top 10 searches are variations on that term, generating more than 125,000 searches every month. Searches on “amputation” are more common than it appears from this list; a fairly large number of variations (such as “below knee amputation,” “above knee amputation,” “Symes amputation,” “hip disarticulation”) draw between 2,000 and 5,000 inquiries every month. If we add those to the two terms that appear in the top 10, we end up with an aggregate monthly total of about 50,000 searches.
The same principle applies to “phantom pain,” the #5 entry in our top 10. If we combine it with common variants (e.g. “phantom limb pain,” “phantom limb,” “phantom sensation,” “phantom limb syndrome”), the total comes to more than 25,000 searches a month.
A few other nuggets we gleaned from our research:
* Search traffic on “Ossur” and “Ottobock” is nearly identical, with the former holding a slight lead (3,933 monthly searches to 3,542).
* “Toe amputation” and variants garnered more than 5,000 searches a month, whereas “finger amputation” and variants barely registered. We presume that’s related to the prevalence of diabetes-related toe loss.
* Here’s a mild upset: “Bionic arm” and variants get about 3x as much traffic as “bionic leg” and variants. Or maybe that’s not an upset, given that upper-limb bionics are further along than their lower-limb cousins.
* Since phantom pain is such a heavily searched topic, we typed in various treatment methods. Mirror therapy gets the lion’s share of these inquiries (750 a month); no other method gets more than 100/month.
* “Running blade” and its variants is the most popular fitness-related inquiry, with roughly 2,500 searches a month.