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Lee Odden

Search engine users confused yet confident

By 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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