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Search query length statistics

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday January 24, 2007 )

Many online business owners spend way too much time and money chasing the holy grail – a no.1 search engine ranking on a one word term or two word query.

Aside from the cash and hours spent on this quest, some research recently released underlines why this isn’t a good idea for most small businesses and why you should probably be focusing on what’s traditionally been known as the long tail.

I explain some of the reasons for not expending too much effort on the one or two keywords phrases in a previous post on long tail and search; and the following statistics may provide you with some further evidence why you shouldn’t invest so much sweat and cash into ranking highly for short queries; but to focus on longer terms.

Released by RankStat.com and based on a sample of 2 million visitors, the following search phrase query lengths were reported:

One word query = 13.48%
Two word queries = 28.38%
Three word queries = 27.15%
Four word queries = 16.42%
Five word queries = 8.03
Six word queries = 3.67
Seven word queries = 1.63
Eight word queries = 0.73
Nine word queries = 0.34
Ten word queries = 0.16

So, if these figures are truly indicative of the general state of search; it appears the “long tail” has been chopped up and rearranged somewhat; with 3 and 4 word search phrases accounting for more searches than 1 and 2 word phrases. Even 5 word searches are surprisingly high.

This change is most likely due to users becoming increasingly savvy in getting to the results they want from search engines more rapidly.

Read more of the RankStat search query length report

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1 comment for Search query length statistics
  1. […] Studies have show that user’s search queries are becoming longer and more complex. A few years ago the average search query was 1-3 words in length, but now we’re seeing 3-4 word phrases becoming more popular. This is a result of people understanding how to use search engines more wisely. They are learning that the more specific they are in their search, the more likely they are to find exactly what they’re looking for. This where the whole “you’re ahead of your time” part comes in! […]

    Pingback by The Adventures of PPC Hero - Heroic Feats of Pay Per Click Management : Keywords Inactive? They Might Be Ahead of Their Time! — September 7, 2007 @ 3:23 pm

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