Thursday, May 22, 2008

The URL Is Dead, Long Live Search

This article makes a good argument for making websites search engine friendly and the importance of being findable on the net.

Of the 10 fastest rising search terms on Google last year, 7 were for searches where adding a ".com" would have brought the user to the correct site. These are called "navigational" searches -- searches done when the user already knows exactly where he or she wants to end up -- and they make up a surprising large number of total seaches.

According to Compete last fall, navigational searches make up about 17% of all searches on average, more on Yahoo! and Live than on Google. For well-known web sites, Compete found that about 9 out of the top 10 search terms for that site tend to be some sort of variation on the domain. Surprisingly, people actually often search for entire domain names rather than type them into their browser's address bar.

Either way, search over URL seems to be a trend we're likely to see more of. Advertising search boxes rather than .com names is already all the rage in Japan. Mac developer Cabel Sasser pointed out in March that search boxes with suggested terms are pretty much all you see on ads in Japan, but he wondered if search marketers and spammers might ruin that strategy in the US.

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