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Search Engine Traffic Soars

 1:49 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)


The number of online searches in the U.S. soared to nearly 5.1 billion searches in December from 3.3 billion a year earlier, despite just a slight uptick in the total number of Americans connecting to the Internet, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.



 2:18 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yeah, it's interesting isn't it? Modest growth in users, huge growth in usage.

But while this is great and to an extent surprising news (to me anyway) there are two sides to this coin. In a significant number of categories we're in, we've seen conversions decline over the past year. More newb's as a percent of total surfers could account for that.

Also, for those sites/webmasters who've seen their traffic stay static and thought they were doing OK treading water ... might wanna rethink that one. All other things being equal, your boat should have floated up with the tide. ;-)


 2:22 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe because it's that much harder to find decent results - try, try, and try again ;-)


 2:40 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I agree! That would result in more search usage.


 4:19 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I cannot substantiate this, but it may be an indicator that more people are becoming "addicted" to the Internet, and find themselves looking for entertainment, knowledge, and everything else via search engines.


 4:22 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Very interesting point Stefan. I was sorta assuming some things that don't make sense to me now, having thought about it.

I wonder. If a search on a kw phrase is, say, one "unit", does digging into page two count as two "units"? That would be a pathetic way to count.

What about changing the search phrase because the first one essentially failed.

Geez, if that is so, maybe I'll reconsider the posts of all those who hawk the POV that G's SERP's have gotten worse, intentionally, for the sake of, well, u know. Could it be?

Gotta have a deeper look at those numbers I guess.


 6:23 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I feel that as the number of users spend more time on the internet they will research more and conversions will decline for everyone. This will also effect sites like Amazon where they will compare prices for 30 min before they buy something. That may be one of the reasons that Amazon made less than WallStreet expected. The time users spend on time going up may be a bad thing but a good thing. There is also of course the problem of bad results on google leading people in circles to sites that only have adwords content on them - I sure wished google would have another update!


 7:50 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I feel that as the number of users spend more time on the internet they will research more and conversions will decline for everyone.

Agree completely. Seems like people are becomgin more net savvy, realizing that there are sites out there other than Ebay and Amazon, that a tremendous amount of research can be conducted before buying something. Conversion rates probably will go down while search volume and site traffic continue to rise. Should bode well for AdSense and other contextual publishers.

We may be back to the 50% of ad dollars are wasted but I'm not sure which 50%.


 9:38 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Modest growth in users, huge growth in usage.

My suspicion is that Firefox has a huge role to play in this.

I'm noticing more users taking advantage of the inbuilt search facility for navigating.

I hardly ever type in www.webmasterworld.com any more, it's always webmasterworld, it performs an I'm feeling lucky search in Google.

The same for most sites [BBC technolgy news], [matt cutts blog], I just don't type URLs in any more. As a result, I use Google a lot more now than I ever did.


 10:35 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with Stefan, it seems as thought the results are just crap. In my own experience I can attest that it does take a lot longer to find what you are looking for. As the number of domains registered rises the overall quality of the sites goes down.


 11:37 am on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

I tend to agree with some of you guys, based on my own search experiences. I am having to search two or three times longer now than a year ago to find what I am looking for, which means my usage has obviously increased. I get very frustrated at times, so I can imagine how the average surfer feels.

When a search for information about a broken foot yields serps about foot fetishes, then there is a problem. I won't go into details, just trust me...it's frustrating.


 12:08 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

thats +150% rise, so the world's rising fast
I am added too


 12:59 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

"MSN saw the steepest drop-off as its share of searches fell to 10.9 percent from 14 percent, Nielsen/NetRatings says."

So much for overtaking Google huh? lol


 1:19 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe because it's that much harder to find decent results - try, try, and try again ;-)

That's exactly what I was thinking. And I've also been pondering the actual benefit of all of Google's algo changes. Out of the dozens and dozens over the years, has it really made that much of a difference in how well you find what you are looking for?

Since Google went to (what appears to me)an authority website algorhythm with Any Words outranking "All Words" - I can't say it's any better in the results then it was 3 years ago. In fact, I think I find myself using the advanced search feature and vertical search engines more these days.

I kind of think that all those "Updates" were kind of pointless to a large degree. Are users really better off now then they were 3-4 years ago?


 3:12 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

It looks to me, that the results are still pretty similar. I would attribute the rise in SE use rather to the more common use of internet. 2 years ago "(paper) yellow pages" have been the place to look up stuff to buy, now "everybody" googles even for the hairdresser next door. Internet was used as a hobby, playground, p**n, now it's becoming a simple tool to find info, buy stuff. For average users) you are all not. ;)

We have duplicated our visits in a year on a domain, but are still on the same ranking in Alexa.. so looks simply as there are 2 times more pages, OR/AND there are 2 times more overall pageviews than a year ago.. makes complete sense.


 2:13 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Maybe because it's that much harder to find decent results - try, try, and try again ;-)

I was being somewhat facetious, but not entirely. As a user, I find an increasing number of the sites that show in the serps to be blogs or MFA's. The blogs, I don't know - I don't get it. They're of no use to me. Some of the things are ridiculous to the point where they're mostly quoting and linking to other blogs. Yet they pollute the serps for many searches. The MFA's... well, Google, thanks for being the midwife to a whole lot of useless bytes floating around on the internet. By creating those twin monsters, Adwords and Adsense, you bunch have loaded the net with more spam than anyone else.

Maybe it's just the same users devoting more time to a greater variety of searches because they're spending more time on the net. Maybe it's because of people trying increasingly precise searches, in any one session, to get past the dross. The numbers don't tell you either way - it's not something to automatically see as a positive though.


 1:52 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Part of the increased use may be that less people are on a slow dial up. You are just going to surf more if you don't have that excruciating wait for the page to come up.


 4:02 am on Feb 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Increased bandwidth also adds to the number of search engine requests. I anticipate that sales per page view will continue to decline as the cost of delivering and receiving pages declines.

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