Stats you might not know about user search behaviour

Posted: January 11, 2011 by FMstereo in Digital Advertising, SEM, SEO

In this industry, there’s no shortage of information around how and why marketers are using SEO, but to me, there seems to be a distinct lack of research which looks from the other side of fence at how we use search as internet users.

Best practice is extremely important, but so is understanding how people are actually using search engines.

So I jumped at the chance to check out some recent research out by Performics and ROI Research, where they had surveyed people’s motivations and behaviour when using search engines. The data is US-based, but in my opinion reflect trends that are globally applicable.

Natural search vs. Paid search

When asked if they know the difference between natural and paid search results…

  • 63% said Yes
  • 37% said No

The age demographics of those who did know the difference between natural and paid search results…

  • 18-29 – 80% said Yes
  • 30-39 – 59% said Yes
  • 40-49 – 63% said Yes
  • 50-59 – 58% said Yes
  • 60+ – 52% said Yes

When asked how often they click on natural and paid search results…

Natural results:

  • 37% Always
  • 42% Frequently
  • 15% Occasionally
  • 4% Rarely
  • 2% Never

Paid results:

  • 5% Always
  • 15% Frequently
  • 43% Occasionally
  • 29% Rarely
  • 8% Never
User search behaviour

4 in 10 respondents (40%) used a search engine more than twenty times in any given week.

The age demographics of those who used a search engine more than twenty times in any given week…

  • 18-29 – 54%
  • 30-39 – 53%
  • 40-49 – 36%
  • 50-59 – 28%
  • 60+ – 26%

88% of respondents will click on a result that has the exact phrase they searched for.

89% said that they will alter their search query if they don’t find the results they’re looking for.

89%  will ultimately change search engines if they don’t find the results they’re looking for.

79% will go through multiple pages of results, if their query isn’t answered in the first page.

Universal Search

53% of respondents said they’re more likely to click on a listing if it includes and image.

48% said that they click on a company or brand if they appear multiple times in the SERPs.

26% said they were more likely to click on a search result if it included a video.

Why users are searching

83% use search engines to find specific products or brands.

78% said that they did informational search queries after seeing an advertisement for a product or brand somewhere else.

80% use search engines for informational queries about a specific product or brand before purchasing online.

76% use search engines for informational queries about a specific product or brand before purchasing offline.

78% said that they used search engines to find the best price of a specific products or brand.

74% used search engines to find where they can purchase a specific product or brand offline.

Overall, these findings support what many in the industry have long suspected: that SEO is crucially important, as consumers not only trust natural search results more than paid search ones, but are also more responsive to organisations with greater visibility.

Taken from Econsultancy – 11 January 2011 11:54am article by Jake Hird

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