Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The State of Search, Not!

"Trouble with a capital t that rhymes with p and that stands for pool." ~ Meredith Wilson's musical, The Music Man (1957)
A recent Kelton Research study examined the "The State of Search" and how shoppers interact with search engines in particular. The study was based on a representative sample of 1,0001 U.S. adults.

The big takeaway which is causing a buzz in the industry is that 7 out of 10 surveyed experience what the report describes as “search engine fatigue.” In other words, 72.3 percent experienced a high level of frustration when researching a topic on the Internet. It found that three out of four of those who experience such fatigue get up and physically leave their computer without the information they were seeking.

And 65.4 percent say they’ve spent two or more hours in a single sitting searching for specific information on search engines.

Does this mean that the days of search are over?

Will the revenues from AdSense continue to trend down further?

Is PPC is next?

And if the engines are in decline is organic optimization the next to fall the way of the the silver-tongued traveling anvil salesmen?

Ummm... no.

It means these idiots did not know how to search.

Seriously, when was the last time you searched two hours for something?

Heck, if I spent 15 minutes searching for something and came up blank, I’d come to one of two conclusions: either the information doesn’t exist or the search engine is garbage.

Does it mean I'll never use search engines again? No.

I don't care for this survey... it jumps to conclusions here that are not present.

The report also discussed user frustration with clutter and the content of search results.

When asked to name their #1 complaint about the process, 25 percent cited a deluge of results, 24 percent cited a predominance of commercial (paid) listings, 18.8 percent blamed the search engine’s inability to understand their keywords (forcing them to try again), and 18.6 percent were most frustrated by disorganized/random results.

There was also a desire among many users (78 percent) that search engines be able to "read their minds." I am not making this up.

That figure reached 86.2 percent of 18-34 year-olds and 85 percent of those under 18.

Yep... and then you lost me.

How can you take the answers to a survey seriously when the recipients wished that Google could read the minds. Ugh. Obviously the focus group is a bunch of dolts. It's true the survey only looked at 1000 users out of the billions online... but did it have to find a group of thoughtless lemmings?

The Online community is often so hard up for data that they will jump on any figures that come their way, and make conclusions out of smoke and mirrors.

This info is bunk. Get me a survey of people who know how to search and we'll get a good idea what the AVERAGE JOE really thinks about the future of search.

Time and time again, the conclusion is the same from one PhD thesis to the next, and the same applies here.... all we know is that more research needs to be done on this topic before any conclusions can be made.

Amen brother.