Get Fresh Insights into How Internet Users Search

A new study on search engine user behavior covers familiar territory about ranking high, but it offers excellent insights by comparing the data to previous years.

The study, “The iProspect Search Engine User Behavior Study,” by Jupiter Research for iProspect found that 62% of search engine users typically stick with the first page of results. That’s not too surprising, except that 90% say they’ll check out up to three pages. Back in 2002, only 48% limited their search to the first page and only 81% were willing to look at three pages.

In light of “long tail” search options, the study offers some support. For example, 82% say they will try a longer search phrase with the same search engine if they didn’t like the initial results; only 68% remained with the same search engine in 2002.

It’s a simple reminder that achieving high results for broad keywords shouldn’t be the only strategy. A search engine marketer should have a significant set of longer search terms that rank high as well – because people clearly are searching that way.

Much of the proof lies deep in log files and associated web analytics. Some new clients initially argue against keyword or search phrase recommendations, insisting that their log files show that no one is looking for the terms we propose. But you need to remember that the array of keywords and search phrases captured by the logs evolves over time based on changing web site content, SEO tactical efforts and the way people search. The keywords in logs all come from high search engine rankings somewhere – most likely those first three pages.

Regardless, Internet users love search engines and they’re pretty loyal to them. If their first phrase doesn’t work out, they’ll come up with something more descriptive and expect better results. Hopefully, they’ll find your business.

Chris Sherman with SearchEngineWatch has additional analysis and raises some interesting questions.

One Response to Get Fresh Insights into How Internet Users Search

  1. Brook Schaaf says:

    I’m surprised up to 90% will look at three pages. I almost never do, except with specific research projects. I wonder if that is people who often look at three pages or sometimes do.