SEO: Users Type Shorter Keywords
A recent study shows that the proportion of short keywords, that is to say web search queries containing one or two words, has significantly increased from September to October 2011.
Users Go for One and Two-Word Search
According to the search intelligence firm Hitwise, one-word search queries have increased from 26.45% of all US queries in September to 27.23% in October.
Their monthly barometer highlighted that two-word keywords also registered a slight rise from 23.66% to 23.85%.
However, all longer web search queries – from three to eight words – decreased over the same period.
Below is the percentage of US clicks by number of keywords:
The study is based on a sample of 10 million US Internet users.
Why Shorter Keywords?
One may therefore wonder why users type shorter keywords in the search engines.
In my opinion, and as I wrote previously, this progression of short search queries may be linked to « Google Instant Search » and « Google Suggest ».
Indeed, these Google tools had an impact on how users search since they deliver results faster and in larger quantity (results are displayed as users type their search query).
From an SEO point of view, we already emphasized that this change would make titles and meta description important elements in the way those would largely influence user’s willingness to click the search result snippet.
Google Doesn’t Decline in China Only
In addition, the study by Hitwise provides data about search engine market in the US.
Since 2010, Google has been losing market share against Baidu in China. The same trend occurs in the US where Bing has been earning market share little by little. However, Google still largely remains the most used search engine in the US.
According to Hitwise, Google is used for 2 out of 3 search queries in the US but its market share went from 66.12% to 65.38%.
While the number of search queries done on Bing increased from 28.07% to 28.62%, given all queries done on Yahoo portal are powered by Microsoft’s search engine.
Below is the search engine market share in the US (in searches):
Did you change the way you search with Google Instant? Do you now search shorter keywords?