The Search Engine Index

The Search Engine Index

In the spirit of the Harper’s Index and Win Treese’s Internet Index, the Search Engine Index is a compilation of interesting facts about search engines.

Search engines generate 7% to 8% of traffic to web sites.
StatMarket, Feb. 2002

Paid submission to Yahoo and LookSmart and paid listings with GoTo are the most popular paid participation programs, each used by over 30 percent of webmasters surveyed.
CyberAtlas, August 2001
Surplus Of Search Engine Marketing Reports

97 percent of Fortune 100 companies had some type of site architecture problem that might give them problems being found by search engines.
iProspect, May 2001
Surplus Of Search Engine Marketing Reports

Nine out of ten web users visit a search engine, portal or community site each month. They also revisit frequently, nearly five times per month.
Nielsen//NetRatings, May 2001
Three Site Types Dominate Surfing Habits

Users looking for products are far more likely to type the product name into a search engine’s
search box (28%) than browse shopping “channels” (5%) or click on ads (4%)
Jupiter Media Metrix & NPD, March 2001
Paid Search Engines Picking Up Slack
For Depressed Online Ad Market

Search engines generate 7% of traffic to web sites.
StatMarket, Dec. 19, 2000

About 32,000 businesses run paid listings with They pay an average of
21 cents (US) per visitor.
Firms pay for search engine play
AP, Dec. 11, 2000

Meta tags are the most popular search engine optimization technique, used by 61% of those surveyed, followed by optimizing page titles (44%) and link building (32%).
Iconocast, Nov. 2000

About 10 percent of searchers choose the Related Searches option at NBCi
Reported by NBCi, November 2000

44% responding to an Iconocast survey cited “search engine positioning” as a promotional
method used in the last twelve months. It was fourth behind email marketing (62%),
offline branding (54%) and banner ads (53%).
Iconocast, Oct. 26, 2000

Search engines are the top way consumers find new web sites online, used by 73.4% of those surveyed.
Driving Customers, Not Just Site Traffic
Forrester, March 28, 2001
(Data from October 2000)

Search engines are the top information resource Americans use when seeking answers, used 32 percent of the time, more than any other option. Consumer Daily Question Study, Fall 2000

Marketers checking on search engine rankings generated half a million queries per day at
Northern Light using position checking software—the numbers are probably similar or more for other
major search engines.
Northern Light’s CEO David Suess
from I-Search Digest #252, Sept. 2000

60 percent of web user sessions involve portals; 1/3 of these sessions involve searching, and portals generate 6 percent of a typical web site’s traffic.
Booz-Allen Hamilton, July/August 2000

The most popular portal feature is search, used in 49 percent of visits.
Booz-Allen Hamilton, July/August 2000

Search engine positioning was the top method cited by web site marketers to drive traffic to their sites (66%), followed by email marketing (54%).
Direct Marketing Association, Aug. 2000

On average, Americans experience “search rage” if they don’t find what they want within 12 minutes.
WebTop Search Rage Study, August 2000

Americans search the web practically every other day. Nearly 1/3 search once or more per day.
WebTop Search Rage Study, August 2000

On average, Americans spend 1.5 hours per week searching for information.
WebTop Search Rage Study, August 2000

The Open Directory receives 250 site submissions per hour
From the Open Directory, as reported at the
Aug. 2000 Search Engine Strategies conference

Search engines are the leading way users in the United Kingdom locate web sites. 81% said
search engines helped them find sites. Following links was the next most popular method (59%).
Forrester Research
UK Internet User Monitor, May 2000

Over 75 percent of web users use search engines to traverse the web.
April 2000, RealNames Survey

46% of Internet users find new web sites via search engines. Word of mouth (20%) and
random searching (20%) were the next most popular methods.
Feb. 21, 2000, “Permission E-mail,” IMT Strategies
(stats not available at the site but were sent to me directly and can also be found via Search Engines and Blind Luck, eMarketer)

57% of Internet users search the web each day, making search the second most popular Internet activity. 46% say they look for product info, making this the third most popular activity. Email is the most popular activity, with 81% checking each day.
Feb. 17, 2000, “How People Use the Internet,” SRI

A survey of 18 major search engines found searchers more likely to find the official US presidential candidate web sites of Bill Bradley and John McCain than those of
Al Gore and George W. Bush.
Can You Find Your Candidate?, Feb. 29, 2000

Nearly half use multiple keywords when searching, rather than a single keyword or other options
NPD Search and Portal Site Study, Winter 2000

Over 75 percent of people will try a different search on the same search engine if their first search fails, rather than try their original search at a different search engine.
NPD Search and Portal Site Study, Winter 2000

US search engine users find what they want when using search engines 81 percent of the time.
NPD Search and Portal Site Study, Winter 2000

42% of those who bought from online retail sites arrived via search engines. Entering the URL directly was the most popular method (60%), followed by using bookmarks (48%).
Oct. 1999, “Online Retail Monitor,” NFO

20 percent of all search queries conducted on AltaVista are product related.
Oct. 25, 1999, AltaVista

30 percent of traffic to e-commerce sites comes from Yahoo, making it the leading referral web site.
Sept. 10, 1999, “Role of Portals in E-Commerce,”

1 in every 28 page views on the Web is a search results page (3.5 percent of all page views)
June 1, 1999, Alexa Insider

Internet users ranked search as their most important activity, awarding it a 9.1 on a 10-point scale. The next most important activity ranked only 6.3.
Jupiter Research, 1999
(via Infoseek Press Release)

The most widely traveled path on the web in March 1999 was from to
March 1999, Alexa Insider

30% of Lycos revenues come from e-commerce Lycos Vice President of Marketing Jan Horsfall
March 11, 1999, Iconocast,

The average work user spends 73 minutes per month at search engines, second only to 97 minutes at news, info and entertainment sites
(Home users - NIE: 71 mins, adult sites: 65 mins, search engines: 54 mins)
February 1999, Media Metrix,

People visit sites linked to a keyboard button 10 times more often than those they’ve bookmarked
Ronnie Ward, AltaVista VP
Feb. 22, 1999, Internet World
AltaVista Adds Another Piece

84.8 percent of people use search engines to find new web sites
GVU’s 10th WWW User Survey
Oct-Dec. 1998

Almost 50 percent of online users turn to search sites for their online news needs.
Dec. 1998, Jupiter Communications survey

56% of users learn about sites from search engines. (Other methods: Magazines, 38%, Newspapers, 36%, TV news, 26%)
July 1998, NetSmart IV
(via Iconocast)

71% of frequent web users most often use search engines to find web sites.
April 1997, CommerceNet/Nielsen Study

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