US research analyses length of search queries

Posted on January 30, 2012


According to a recent study, users of are likely to use the longest search queries of all significant search engines.

The US study, its findings have to be mitigated by this of course, make for interesting reading for those with SEO careers in the UK. Though there will be some differences of course, the basis of the study will point to certain trends this side of the Atlantic.

Taking place over a four day period, the research by ad network Chitka looked at “hundreds of millions” of site impressions from the big five search engines in the US: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL.

The clearest result was that searches average between 4 and 5 words across all sites, with users topping this with an average of 4.81. Lowest of all was AOL, with a 4.07 word average.

It is perhaps little surprising that Ask topped this poll, as its focus has very much historically been on researching full answers to questions, something it has again pushed in recent years.

The big three all show similar averages, with Google at 4.29, Bing at 4.31 and Yahoo at 4.49.

Other than partial data a couple of years ago by Google, confirming that 54% of searches are over three words, the search engines do not release such average word count information themselves. It would be useful though, certainly where SEO is concerned and particularly if search construct could be analysed too.

Perhaps this is something to look at, unless length really is not that important after all.

  • Interesting. I wonder why the adsense keyword tool hardly ever has data for search strings containing more than 2 words?

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