Jupiter Research, sponsored by iProspect, has conducted a search behavior study. Their findings are very interesting and important for any search engine advertiser. Here is a short overview of what was found:
According to the study, 41% of the users who did not find satisfactory results continue looking. 88% of the users who did not find what they were looking for at all change the engine or the term. Compare that to 28% and 78% respectively in 2002. Users are becoming more persistent and continue searching even if they did not find the satisfactory results the first time.
Jupiter Research reports that users are also becoming more and more loyal to the search engines they use. “82% of search engine users re-launch an unsuccessful search using the same search engine used initially, adding more keywords to their query. Just 68% stayed with the same engine in 2002.” This is, of course, good news for Google and their advertisers because Google still has the lion’s share of the searches out there. This also shows that users consider that the problem of not finding what they were looking for is in their search term and is not the search engine’s fault.
Search engine users are also getting more sophisticated and are using longer and more specific keywords. This finding once again highlights the importance of the “long tail”, highly targeted keywords that are not being searched very often.
“The study found that 36% believe that companies whose websites are returned at the top of the search results are the top companies in their field. Slightly more (39%) felt neutral on this question. At the other end of the spectrum, just 25% said that top search engine rankings had nothing to do with market or brand leadership.” This is nothing new and once again shows the importance of getting into the top results. Keeping in mind that search engines “naturally” select only the best websites in that niche, it is no wonder that users consider them to be the best companies in the field.
The study also found that 62% of search engine users click on a search result within the first page of results, and a full 90% of users click on a result within the first three pages of search results. This is yet another reason to work your way to the top, even if the keyword is the most popular one.
That being said, if we combine the importance of the “end tail” and top ranking in at least the top 30 spots, it becomes obvious that optimization (and bidding) is very important for the highly targeted keywords with fewer searches.