British Search Less But Find More?

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Recent numbers are showing that Google is an even heavier hitter in the United Kingdom than in the United States.

But it also appears that UK Internet users are conducting fewer searches, and finding what they need more often.

The UK has been relatively slow to take to search engines, but the number of searches conducted is steadily growing.

In August, UK Internet users conducted 16,000 searches per minute, a 4.4 percent increase over February.

That dramatic presentation of 16,000 searches per minute, or 264 per second if you prefer, is courtesy of Nielsen//NetRatings.

Though it sounds like a lot, it’s not quite the 141,000 or so searches per minute conducted in the US.

Though the US has five times the population of the UK, the percentages of the population using the Internet are roughly the same (66% in the US, 63% of the UK).

But whereas US Internet users (total number drawn from CIA World Fact Book) are conducting over 30 searches monthly, UK Internet users are conducting under 19 searches.

That number has increased steadily over the last six months, however, rising from 676 million searches in February to 706 million in August.

Interestingly, click-through rates are high in the UK, growing 18 percent over the past six months. 546 million results were clicked. We may take that to mean that 77 percent of UK searchers are finding relevant results.

Compare that to reports that came out of AOL’s Data Valdez revealing that just over 50 percent of AOL users actually clicked on a search result.

Of course, that may speak to the search sophistication of the average AOL user, considering the number of them that searched for www.google.com.

That brings up some interesting questions. Are UK searchers more sophisticated searchers (i.e., better at query construction) than US searchers?

Are UK searchers interested in a more narrow range of information? Or does the preferred search engine make a difference?

Nielsen’s report illustrated that Google is by far the preferred search engine in the UK, controlling 68 percent of click-throughs, a six-month increase of 2.8 percent.

Google’s nearest competitor, Yahoo!, controlled just 9.1 percent of click-throughs, followed by Ask.com’s 7.8 percent, MSN/Windows Live’s 5.8 percent, and AOL’s 4.1 percent.


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