How People Use Search

According to the new Performics 2010 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Insights Study, conducted by ROI Research:

  • 89% will modify their search and try again if at first they don’t succeed
  • 79% will try a different search engine
  • 50% are more likely to click on a search result if it includes an image or if a company/brand appears multiple times on the results page

The primary search engine is Google for 75% of searchers.  However, “Novices” and “Advanced Beginners” have a tendency to start out on Yahoo!

Search Engine Used Most (% of Respondents)
Primary SE All Users Novice Advanced Beginner Competent Proficient Expert
Google 75% 57 63 74 79 76
Yahoo! 18 36 31 18 16 16
Bing 7 7 6 8 5 8
Source: Performics, Inc, September 2010

Respondents rely heavily on search when researching or making purchases, finds the study.

Search Engine Purchase Process
Use % of Respondents
To find a specific manufacturer or product website 83%
To gather information before making purchase online 80
To learn more about product or service after seeing ad elsewhere 78
To find best price for product or service 78
To gather information before purchasing in-store or catalog 76
To find location for purchase of product offline 74
To find coupons, specials, sales, etc. 63
Source: Performics, Inc, September 2010

Over one-half of respondents say they are more likely to click on an ad if it includes an image. Nearly half are more likely to click if a company/brand appears multiple times.

Search Behavior (% of Respondents)
Behavior: Likely to Click On Result if it Includes… % of Respondents
Exact words searched for 88%
An image 53
Brand multiple time on results page 48
A video 26
Source: Performics, Inc, September 2010

The study finds that users are more likely to first click on organic search results. Natural, organic or unpaid  search results are listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to paid-for search listings.

Frequency of Clicking by Type of Result
Frequency of Click Natural Result Sponsored Result
Always 37% 5%
Frequently 42 15
Occasionally 15 43
Rarely 4 29
Never 2 8
Source: Performics, Inc, September 2010