Maybe I’m the only one who does this (though I suspect not) but I find myself using search as a means to find better keywords to use to search what I want to find.
A lot of recent studies are showing that usage of 3 and 4 word searches is on the rise. Of course, perform a WordTracker study on most single word terms and you’ll find that the single words are still searched more often than two-, three-, or four-word phrases.
When a person performs a search using a single-word the results are often not highly targeted to their needs. I search for ‘flowmeter’ and I get results for flowmeter directories, flow rate calculations, selecting a flowmeter, etc. I scan through the top 10 results and realize that there may be a result or two that might provide what I need if I dig a little, but I really need a compressed air flowmeter. I return to my search with a more specific query.
Single word searches don’t’ produce specific enough results, so searchers return to narrow the search further.
When I’m searching, I often find that I don’t quite know what I’m searching for, or more accurately, I don’t know how to describe it in a way that will produce the results I want. I found this recently when I was looking for headphones that fit inside my motorcycle helmet.
My initial search was ‘helmet headphones‘. While the very first result produced what I was looking for I picked up on a more proper search query ‘helmet speakers’. I’m not one to buy from the first site I find, so I scanned the rest of the results, saw they didn’t offer what I wanted, and returned to perform a new search for ‘helmet speakers‘. This produced multiple results for me to research.
I ended up buying from the one relevant result found from my first search, but because I was able to research what other sites had to offer, I was able to make a confident purchase.
I find that I’m doing this kind of search research more often now. My initial searches are just a means to scan results and find phrases that will help me clarify my search even further. No need to really click on one or two results that may be relevant, instead I want to fill the results, well past the first page, with the most relevant results possible. Why should I have to click in and out of sites hoping they have what I want, when I can simply keep searching my way to a stack of relevant results?
It may just be me, or this may be more of a searching trend. It certainly lends credence to studies that showing that those typing in multiple word search phrases are more apt to make a purchase than those using single-word searches.
[note: I hate posting “stats” that I cannot readily link to, however I’ve been unable to locate some of the info. If I have any facts wrong above, someone please let me know, however I’m pretty sure this is all information that has been studied and released]