The Skinny On How People Search

SearchThe truth of the matter is, most people do not really search for things the way that many search engine optimizers would. There’s a reason for this- they aren’t SEOs, they’re just regular people and there’s nothing really wrong with that, but if you tackle your search engine optimization from the perspective of an seo, totally, and you avoid the human factor, you may miss out a little bit. Really old survey time, but in 2004, usability expert Jakob Nielson conducted a study– and in this study, he revealed some really interesting facts about the way the average internet user handles themselves online, and the way that they do things. This is pretty relevant information to anyone who is working with optimization, and it’s something to be mindful of when you are not only creating your site, but as you gather or put together your content as well. The study showed that only 66 percent of all internet users could actually complete tasks like search for and book a vacation online- and 88 percent of those users had to ask for help, that is, they had to utilize online tools to complete the given tasks. Another part of this study reveals just why optimization is important. Think about how many searches are run a day. Actually- wait, let me go ahead and illustrate this one for you, because it’s pretty to the point.
According to comScore– and this was something put out in 2006, here are the number of searches for each search engine, per day. Bear in mind, this was before Bing.
Google led the pack (Surprise, surprise) with 91 million searches every day. Following that, Yahoo! had 60 million. MSN had 28, AOL 16, Ask 13, and all others had about 6 million. This number has undoubtedly gotten much, much higher since pcs, macs and other ways of accessing the internet have become much more powerful, and much less expensive- almost everyone you know now has a computer.

Here comes the punchline- this Jakob Nielson study revealed that in this study, the lion’s share of respondents did not even bother going to the second page of the search. Now, that’s competition.

“If it is beyond the first page, it is as if it did not exist,” Dr Nielsen pointed out in the study. Another thing that he pointed out in regard to content- is how some still believe that it has to be flashy and complex. It doesn’t. It has to give the information that the user is looking for, it has to do so quickly.
“Content-free content is still very prevalent. We still see that a lot of companies are not willing to be plain spoken,” Dr Nielsen said. “They think they add value by smothering their true value in all these confusing terms.”