Here’s an interesting look at some of the habits of users while searching for information online, complete with ideas on improving your site’s search usability. Here are a few of the things that stood out to me (my comments are in italics):
- Satisfaction of both casual users and the more experienced ones was reported at 42%
- The worst user search experiences logged were in using internal site searches rather than mega search engines. – Not at all surprising.
- Many users avoid corporate sanctioned, internal search engines and opt instead for Web search engines to look for information outside the firewall related to their company.
- About 60% of search users typed in only a single word to start a search. – People trip me out with their lack of search skills. I get a good laugh almost daily by looking at some of the terms people used to get to my sites. Unless you’re looking for a very unique word, the odds of getting usable results with just one word must be quite low.
- A mere 1% utilize the Advanced Search capabilities. – Again, not surprising especially not after the previous note. Perhaps we need to start offering courses in searching as continuing education or something. (I hope that schools are already teaching kids how to search effectively.)
- Only 3% used quote marks or other query syntax to refine searches
- The first link in a search result page gets 51% of total clicks. – Ah, the coveted number 1 search result placement. That shows why it’s so important to architect your site so that it’s search engine friendly.