Search as Navigation On the Rise

    August 27, 2009
    Chris Crum

Compete has shared some interesting data indicating that web users are increasingly using search engines to simply navigate to the sites they want to visit. For example, they are typing "facebook" in Google rather than just going to from their address bar.

Following is a look at the fastest growing search terms according to Compete, for the top five search engines. You’ll notice that this list is largely dominated by brand names.

Fastest Growing Search Terms

Some key findings shard by Compete include:

– Facebook, Craigslist, Twitter, and YouTube have seen explosive traffic growth in the past year and to follow suit their query volumes have grown substantially

– While portal properties Yahoo! (141MM Uvs) and AOL (55MM Uvs) haven’t significantly grown in traffic, they have seen 50%+ increase in brand queries since last year

– No sharp traffic trends in webmail properties Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail, but brand terms for both of these properties have risen sharply

Now look at this other chart that shows the top five search terms to some of these brand sites.

Top 5 Search Terms to Site

It’s pretty telling, is it not? I would guess that a lot of this stems from users having search on either their home page or right on their browser. It’s easier to type "facebook" than to type "" (granted, not by much, but humans are a lazy species). For that matter (at least in Firefox) if you type "facebook" into the address bar, it brings you up a list of search results anyway, then you are just a click away from

You better make sure you rank number one for your brand, or you just might be losing traffic to the site that is.