Internet marketing research and statistics
As the use and importance of the Internet has developed as a business tool, there is now more research being done to help companies understand the trends in usage and the main sites being used - including which search engines are important.
As with many aspects of the web, much of the research comes from the US, but other research studies in Australia, the UK and other countries also bear out the main results being found. Here is a selection of some useful research studies:
User behaviour and search engines.
The following surveys have provided some valuable data on how web users search and interact with sites online - follow the links to the original surveys or summaries of the main findings:
- How users find new wesbites: - Although the surveys by the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US are now very dated, they were the first reports to track how users found new websites. The last survey at the end of 1998 showed that 85% of users found information through search engines and 58% used directories. A similar result emerged from a survey of UK web users conducted by Forrester Research in Spring 2000 which showed that 81% of users found new websites by using search engines.
- How useful are search engines?: - Another tracking survey from the US by NPD monitored the effectiveness of search engines in generating the results that users need. Using an online sample of more than 30,000 respondents, the figures showed that 81% of people using search engines find the information they need every time or most of the time. Of those who didn't find the correct information, 77% would conduct a different search on the same search engine. The results also show that 45% of users search by using multiple keywords or key phrases, 28% use one keyword, 18% search by a pre-defined option (such as browsing through a directory category) and 9% search by typing in a question.
- The importance of a high ranking.: - Delving further into how users retrieve information from the web, research has shown that people rarely go beyond the top 30 results listed from a search. In fact, the top 30 results get over 90% of search traffic and the top 10 results receive nearly 80% more traffic than those in positions 11-30 achieve. Research published by Penn State University in June 2003 also showed that web users typically visited only the first three results from a query, with one in five searchers spending 60 seconds or less on a linked web document.
The popularity of search engines.
A number of research organisations track the volume of traffic on the web, either specifically on search engines, or on the largest web sites (which tends to include the main portals and search engines). These regular surveys illustrate the volume of web traffic that the top search engines receive. The three main services are:
- comScore Media Metrix
- A useful summary of these surveys and an analysis of their results over time can be found on the Search Engine Watch website.