Browse By

Lessons on Search and the Simplicity of Google

These are just some scattered thoughts I have on Search. These numbers are based off a large general base of searches from a project I’ve been working on…

  • The number of user’s queries that actually result in a match is ~70%. Which means on average, each user does ~1.4 searches to narrow down to ultimately clicking on at least 1 result. If you were to improve that average, you could assume you’ve improved user’s search results and allowed them to find what they were seeking faster. However, there is an assumption that user’s knowledge/use of how to use search engines improves over time/use, so the user is getting their results easier by understanding how to use multiple keywords and such.
  • Tons of users type ‘google’ in just to find a Google search box — I think they just think Google is how you search the web and that their current search box won’t actually do that.
  • Google has just a search box — that’s where the billions are. The billions are in relevant text ads based on a search. They don’t put the latest headlines on their homepage, because that will distract the user. They want the user to search for what they want, then hopefully click on a sponsored result. ~21% of the time, the user clicks on a sponsored result.
  • Google doesn’t [til lately] show images or videos in their search results. The “glimmer” of a photo or video distracts the user to click on them — when Google really wants you to click on a sponsored text result.
  • Even if you could create the “Google killer” and started gaining traction in the market, Google OWNS sponsored text advertising. OK, ok, Ask, MSN, and Yahoo all have their own initiatives (MSN AdCenter, Ask Sponsored Listings, Yahoo! Search Marketing) [and there are other 2nd/3rd tier alternatives: Miva, Looksmart, etc] … but advertisers flock to Google right now. It likely would take years for them to flock to you, even if you had an easy system for them to use and had gaining market share. Google dominates the advertiser/money inflow on the web. I don’t think we’ll see a Google Killer for text search — just like we haven’t seen an Outlook killer for email, or an MS Word killer for word processing.