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Clarification on "How Users Search"

Does anybody have stats on how users search?

2:15 pm on Jan 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:May 21, 2003
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Below is a question that I have asked before, about a year ago. I received a good answer from Receptional where part of his answer was: "You can check your stats and you should be able to see when people have used the "inverted commas". I would like to know if he was referring to logfiles or Google Analytics as this question has returned!

In Google Analytics do phrase or exact searches show up as aaa+bbb etc? or is that exactly how users have searched?

Also if anybody has up to date research on how users search would be much appreciated





I would like to know if there are any stats or studies on how users search. I am a webmaster but whenever talking to a marketing person here he always insists on using Phrase Search, I.e. putting search terms in quotes eg. "aaaaa bbbbbb".

When doing research to optimise websites I always use general search and NOT Phrase search, broad match, exact match etc.

It would help if I could back up my argument if I had some official information to back me up!


7:08 pm on Jan 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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The use of quotes is down to the audience for that search term. Generally speaking, the more technical a subject, the more likely it is that quotes will be used. Having said that, using quotes is still unusual.

A quick scan of logs for 2 very different sites shows the following:

Music Tuition site: <1% of searches have quotes
Database Consulting site: 3% of searches have quotes

The standard behaviour of people refining a search appears to be 'add another word' rather than using quotes. It's a shame because the best results are obtained by using quotes, so it's understandable that the person advocating this is sure that others use them (but they are wrong).