Lee Odden

Search engine users confused yet confident

Lee Odden     Online Marketing

The results of a new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life project conducted by telephone among a sample of 2,200 adults was published. While many searchers appear confident about their ability to find information, a suprising number can’t tell the difference between paid and unpaid search results.

Commentary from Wired:

“…only 38 percent of web searchers even know of the distinction, [between paid and unbiased links] and of those, not even half –47 percent — say they can always tell which are paid. That comes out to only 18 percent of all web searchers knowing when a link is paid.”

Additional key findings outlined on SearchEngineWatch:

  • 84% of online American adults have used search engines. That amounts to 108 million people. On any given day, 56% of those online use search engines. No surprise here‚Äîwe know from Jupiter Research and other sources that searching is the second most popular online activity, just behind email.
  • 92% of those who use search engines say they are confident about their searching abilities, with over half of them, 52%, saying they are “very confident.”
  • 87% of online searchers say they have successful search experiences most of the time, including 17% of users who say they always find the information for which they are looking.
  • 55% of searchers say about half the information they search for is trivial, and half is important to them.
  • 50% of searchers say they like search engines but could go back to other ways of finding information; 32% say they can’t live without search engines; and 17% say could let them go tomorrow.
  • 47% of searchers will use a search engine no more than once or twice a week; 35% of searchers will use a search engine at least once a day.
  • 44% of searchers say they regularly use a single search engine, 48% will use just two or three, 7% will use more than three.
  • 68% of searchers say that search engines are a fair and unbiased source of information; 19% say they don’t trust search engines.

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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.