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Thread: Why are people searching less?

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    Why are people searching less?

    I came across an article stating that search volume is down 16% year over year, based on the stats from July 2010. Why do you think this occurring, and what does it mean for online businesses?

    My guess is that people are finding more content though social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter instead of searching for it on their own.

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    YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iTunes are all being used more and more to find up to date, relevant content.

    For online businesses it's a warning to diversify your traffic away from just the "main" search engines and build a brand and presence all over. You guys have been advocating defensible traffic development for a long time. Maybe others might start to cotton on now...

    Hopefully it will also encourage webmasters to forge more partnerships with other businesses in their niche to build traffic that Google can't control.

    You think people on Flippa will still use search traffic as their primary selling point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iTunes are all being used more and more to find up to date, relevant content.

    For online businesses it's a warning to diversify your traffic away from just the "main" search engines and build a brand and presence all over. You guys have been advocating defensible traffic development for a long time. Maybe others might start to cotton on now...

    Hopefully it will also encourage webmasters to forge more partnerships with other businesses in their niche to build traffic that Google can't control.
    I agree completely, but I don't know how many people are paying attention to the shift. I was aware that people are moving towards Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and away from Google (which is why Google is working hard on their real time search and integrating things like tweets into their results), but I was surprised to see that volume was down that much over a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    You think people on Flippa will still use search traffic as their primary selling point?
    If you have no revenue and no visitors from anywhere other than search engines, what else can you point to besides search engine traffic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by benitez17 View Post
    I agree completely, but I don't know how many people are paying attention to the shift. I was aware that people are moving towards Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and away from Google (which is why Google is working hard on their real time search and integrating things like tweets into their results), but I was surprised to see that volume was down that much over a year.



    If you have no revenue and no visitors from anywhere other than search engines, what else can you point to besides search engine traffic?
    The actual figure is massive when you consider just how many searches that 16% amounts to. I've seen it coming which is why I spend less time on backlinks for SEO and more time on making my sites visible all over the web.

    I guess if you only have search traffic to sell your site on then that's what they will continue to do on Flippa but if the numbe of searches continues to drop then it's going to be viewed even more of a liability than an asset to have 85% of traffic from a declining source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    The actual figure is massive when you consider just how many searches that 16% amounts to. I've seen it coming which is why I spend less time on backlinks for SEO and more time on making my sites visible all over the web.
    Yes, it's a huge drop in raw volume. I don't spend much time on SEO, but I do make a decent amount of money each month from links placed for SEO purposes, so I'm more concerned about the decline in value of my sites for that purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    I guess if you only have search traffic to sell your site on then that's what they will continue to do on Flippa but if the numbe of searches continues to drop then it's going to be viewed even more of a liability than an asset to have 85% of traffic from a declining source.
    It's not going to be viewed as a liability at Flippa as long as Flippa keeps reporting things like SEMRush score and telling people that it is an important piece of data.

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    Hi benitez,

    You've got some knack for coming up with some interesting stuff!

    My first guess is those folks found what they were looking for. :-)

    Seriously though, let's consider some possibilities:

    They stopped looking - not likely - BUT I'm not sure we can entirely rule out the possibility that looking for stuff online has lost its appeal. What if masses of people suddenly decided watching grass grow was more worth their time than being on the Internet? What else could they be doing?

    They are looking someplace else - here's where you're thinking social networks, etc. Were mobile sources counted? Mobile usage is growing at an astronomical rate. I don't have any figures but my guess it the rate of growth is outpacing Internet growth. This may be the "next big thing" everyone is looking for.

    The stats are skewed. Maybe someone counted something wrong. It happens. What IF the figure this drop was compared to was an anomaly? If one compares a "normal" figure to a sudden surge then returning back to a normal rate would look like a huge drop instead of a simple correction.

    Any indication of overall Internet traffic? Can this be compared to mobile traffic?

    Andy

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    I may be new to all of this, but isn't it more relative to what you're trying to deliver over everything else? I mean, my website is fairly small in comparison to my competitors, but I've seen a positive spike of nearly 50% over the last two weeks in organic traffic from Search Engines. This is despite the shrinking search percentage that is being reported.

    To be honest, I'd imagine this is more damaging to the larger sites who rely very heavily on SEO than to the smaller sites (<500,000 UV/month) that will probably still see their SE results stay consistent or grow due to the low limit of reach the site already has (meaning, growth is really the only alternative if you're actively updating).

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    The trouble with "big" stats like "total number of searches down 16%" is that they don't give you enough details. I'd like to know what areas suffered/gained the most. You know, like leisure industry searches were down 30% (recession) but technical searches were up 5%. Maybe searches for "holidays in barbados" are down, but "how to save money" are up.

    It's a very interesting, and unexpected stat but I'd love a detailed breakdown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hooperman View Post
    The trouble with "big" stats like "total number of searches down 16%" is that they don't give you enough details. I'd like to know what areas suffered/gained the most. You know, like leisure industry searches were down 30% (recession) but technical searches were up 5%. Maybe searches for "holidays in barbados" are down, but "how to save money" are up.

    It's a very interesting, and unexpected stat but I'd love a detailed breakdown.
    Exactly. Also -- I think it's important to know what those increases are based on as well. Obviously a 10% increase of 10 just means 1 more person searched for something.

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    We can argue about the numbers but no matter how you look at it search engines are comprising a smaller and smaller proportion of how people get to their destinations online. As users get more familiar with using the internet, they develop favourite sites and get there via bookmarks rather than SEs: how did you get to this page? Big sites like Amazon, Myspace and BBC have a large number of dedicated users - users who bypass seach engines. Bear in mind,also, that many searches counted in the stats above are site specific searches and not really money generators. site:bbc.co.uk Pakistan floods shouldn't really be counted in the SE stats because those could have just as well been provided by a BBC internal search and internal search functions will eventually be performed by in-house apps (internal search applications are a bit dismal now so webmasters power internal search using Google. That will change. Even webmasterworld eventually moved to their own search after many years of recommending people use the site: operator in Google to find their way about the forum)

    Users also have many more options that weren't around in the early days of Google. There are StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites and sites like Twitter that more advanced users rely on for recommendations. There are forums and communities that guide users to locations. There are social networking sites like Facebook that are a destination in themselves. Millions of users sign on, go to facebook and then sign off - never going anywhere else in the average week unless they're following a link in FB.

    Search engines may have taken over from directories but, I reckon, they'll eventually go the same way directories went.
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