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Searcher “Verbosity”: Whose Searchers are Most Chatty?

Posted at Sep 8, 2011 6:17:07 AM by Taylor De Luca | Share

It is no secret that different search engines appeal to different types of users. Blekko appeals to those who want to “slash the web” and get very specific details. Bing users expect rather juried results, while Google tends to be the go-to for the majority of shoppers and information-seekers. New research from Chitka, though, points out another difference: searcher verbosity. Their study looked at how wordy Google, Yahoo, Bing, AOL, and Ask are. The “winner”…Ask.

On average, Ask users had the most verbose searchers, packing about 4.74 words in per query. Now, the most brief users were those of AOL, who typed in 4.17 words per search. While not a huge difference, Chitka did discover something more about those chatty Askers. AOL users typed in queries of 8 words or more only 8.38 percent of the time; Bing, Google, and Yahoo see similar numbers. Ask users, though, are almost twice as likely to use 8 words or more.

How does this affect the average SEO or business? Well, perhaps not greatly! Unless you are optimizing for Ask. Here, users are more likely to type in something like, “What is the purpose of using a fasting glucose test?” This is largely due to the traditional structure of Ask, which began life as AskJeeves. Jeeves wanted us to ask it real questions – hence the hows, whys, and whats. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and AOL users tend to cut the chitchat and enter something like “fasting glucose test” or if they have a few more seconds to kill, “why fasting glucose test.”

Most SEOs and businesses optimize for Google, and here, the take home lesson is to be brief and succinct when targeting keywords. Short phrases of 3 to 5 words will allow for the most effective results. SEOs tend to stay away from long-tail keywords or single-word keywords because it is simply not what their searchers are looking for.

Tags: Social Media, Digital Marketing, General

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