What Do Longer Queries Signify?

Hitwise again reports growth in search query length. The greatest growth is coming at the high end: seven and eight or more words. Does this reflect:

  • Greater user sophistication
  • More directed and specific user intent
  • Greater task orientation
  • All of the above?

2 Responses to “What Do Longer Queries Signify?”

  1. Martin Lawrence Says:

    My first thought was: It reflects our average trust in search-engine-smarts.

    In the past, you built queries from 2 terms and added terms to narrow down results.

    These days, I find myself more and more starting out queries with three and four words.

    Simply because I don’t run into a frustrating no-result wall any more.
    Rather, search engines interpret query terms intelligently. In the processs, the engines omit or modify terms and still come up with good results.

    Every positive experience increases my trust. Thus, longer queries.

  2. jvrudnick Says:

    Interesting, Greg. In a recent blog post on Canadian searches, we listed that Hitwise reports that Canadians have the highest (compared to US and UK searches) % of single + double word searches. Seems to me that this larger share is based on our Canadian love of brands and their use in search queries too! Course, our successful search % was about 65% too….which shows that us canucks dont do so well, eh!



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