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Search engine use survey

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday August 9, 2008 )

The number of people using search engines daily has increased from around one-third in 2002, to just under 50% this year.

The figures from a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project survey (pdf) place search miles ahead of other online activities in terms of popularity and second only to email, which 60% of people utilize daily. The next most popular activity after search is checking the news, which 39% of internet users do on a typical day.

People using search engines are more likely to be younger, socially upscale, educated, broadband connected and have at least six years of online experience under their belts. Men are more likely to use a search engine daily (53%) than women (45%).

According to Pew, the reason behind a recent jump in regular search engine use is that users have come to expect to find good search facilities on all content based sites. That’s a good hint – is your site easy to search? If not, you don’t have to fork out a ton of cash for a search application; you can use Google’s Site Search for free. It’s very easy to use; just copy and paste a bit of code.

Pew believes another reason for the jump may be related 55% of American homes having a broadband connection. Given the added speed and the “always on” state, a person is more likely to turn to the Internet for an answer to questions.

I also think the increasing use of search is because it has simply gotten far better over the years. Gone are the days (for the most part) of having to sift through pages of garbage results to find the information I need – it’s usually on the first or second page.

The steadily increasing uptake of search engines as a regular activity means it’s becoming even more important to ensure your site is ranking well. Pick up a stack of tips on search engine optimization.


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