Effective Internet Search

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Effective Internet Search: Research

Search Popularity

by Judith Gill

The Internet is now an integral part of the everyday lives of a majority of Americans, whether at home, at work or in both locales. In less than a decade, it has been transformed from a technological curiosity to the place millions of Americans shop every day, to a place they go for news, information and communication and to a place for both entertainment and serious business.
- Consumer WebWatch, April 2002 [1]

The Internet one of the most important information tools available today. An estimated 709 to 945 million people use it worldwide [2]. And for many, it's the information medium of first resort, with the majority of users ranking it ahead of television, radio, newspapers, and magazines.

What's everyone doing online? They're searching.

In the United States, about 134 million American adults presently use the Internet [3]; some 64 million employ it daily [6]. And as the table below indicates, searching is one of the most popular online activities [4]; some say the most important [5, and the most frequently conducted after e-mail [4], [6]. In fact, obtaining information quickly was the top reason cited for going online in both 2001 and 2002 [7].
 


Top 5 Online Activities

Internet Activities % of Americans with Internet Access Survey Date
Send e-mail 91% February 2004
Use a search engine to find information 88% June 2003
Search for a map or driving directions 84% February 2004
Do an Internet search to answer a specific question 80% Nov.-Dec. 2003
Research a product or service before buying it 78% February 2004
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project, Internet Activities, April 23, 2004 [4]

On a typical day over 38 million American Internet users (35%) turn to search engines for their information needs; experienced users, even more often (39%) [4], [6] and they conduct some 319 million searches per day [8].
 


Searches per Day - January 2003

Search
Engine
Search Hours
per Month
(in millions)
Search
Minutes
per Day
(in millions)
Searches per
Day
(in millions)
Google 18.7 37 112
AOL Search 15.5 31 93
Yahoo 7.1 14 42
MSN Search 5.4 11 32
Ask Jeeves 2.3 5 14
InfoSpace 1.1 2 7
AltaVista 0.8 2 5
Overture 0.8 2 5
Netscape 0.7 1 4
Earthlink 0.4 1 3
Looksmart 0.2 0 1
Lycos 0.2 0 1
TOTALS 53.2 106 319
Source: SearchEngineWatch.com, February 25, 2003 [8]

Implications for you: The Internet has evolved into a mainstream information tool for millions of people around the world. Given its popularity, the importance of improving your online search skills to find information quickly and accurately cannot be overstated.


References & Links
  1. Consumer WebWatch, A Matter of Trust: What Users Want From Web Sites, Princeton Survey Research Associates, April 16, 2002: www.consumerwebwatch.org/news/1_abstract.htm
  2. Summary: Internet Usage, About.com, Paul Gil, January 20, 2004: netforbeginners.about.com/cs/technoglossary/f/FAQ3.htm
  3. SearchEngineWatch.com, Nielsen NetRatings Search Engine Ratings, Danny Sullivan, February 25, 2003: www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/article.php/2156451
  4. Pew Internet & American Life, Latest Trends, 2004:
  5. Jupiter Research, 1999, as reported in the Journal of the American Society of Information and Technology, Web User Studies: A Review and Framework for Future Work, B.J. Jansen and U. Pooch,  52(3), p. 235-246, 2000: jimjansen.tripod.com/academic/pubs/wus.html
  6. Pew Internet & American Life Project, The popularity and importance of search engines: Pew Internet Project Data Memo, August, 2004: www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Data_Memo_Searchengines.pdf
  7. UCLA Center for Communication Policy, The UCLA Internet Report: Surveying the Digital Future -Year Three, February 2003: www.ccp.ucla.edu/pages/internet-report.asp
  8. SearchEngineWatch.com, Searches per Day, Danny Sullivan, February 25, 2003: www.searchenginewatch.com/reports/article.php/2156461

FREE SEARCH HELP

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Effective Internet Search: E-Searching Made Easy!     Baylin Systems, Inc., 2006