Study Shows Web Searches Getting More Complex

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More users are conducting Internet searches with multiple words, according to a study released yesterday.


OneStat.com, a Web analytics firm in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, found that two- and three-word searches are the norm for Web searchers.


Nearly 33 percent of a sample of 2 million Web searchers monitored in the past two months used two-word queries and 26 percent used three-word queries. Nineteen percent searched using a single word, and searches using four to seven words made up 21 percent.


OneStat found that Internet users are getting increasingly sophisticated in Web searching. From April 2003, OneStat reports the use of two-word phrases increased by 3.4 percent and three-word searches by 1.3 percent, while one-word searches decreased 5.7 percent.


With Web searchers getting more specific in their queries, search engines are trying to provide more paid links for what's known as the search tail, or multiple-word queries less popular for keyword bidders. Since these searches are specific, they are thought to yield more qualified leads.


Search engines like Google, Yahoo's Overture Services and FindWhat.com have instituted tools that will expand on an advertiser's bid in order to capture more relevant queries. For example, Google's broad match option will match keywords with misspellings and different word order. In October, Google expanded its matching to include related searches. For example, an advertiser bidding on "cashmere sweater" could be broad matched to "cashmere turtleneck."


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