Behavior of Web Searchers Katie Greenstreet Computer Science 49S Duke Spring 2007

Behavior of Web Searchers
Katie Greenstreet
Computer Science 49S
Duke Spring 2007
What are We Searching For?
• What would you guess the most popular
search engine queries are?
• For what purpose do you most often use
Google or other search engines?
A Taxonomy of Web Search
• Information retrieval is based on the idea
that the user is searching for information
• Why then do informational queries
constitute less than 50% of web searches?
• What is considered the “classic model” of
information retrieval?
A Taxonomy of Web Search:
• 3 Classes of Web Queries
– Navigational
– Informational
– Transactional
A Taxonomy of Web Search:
• Immediate intent is to reach a particular
site that the user has in mind, either
because they have visited it in the past or
because they assume the site exists?
• Usually only have one “right” result
• Examples?
– Greyhound Bus:
– Compaq:
– National car rental:
A Taxonomy of Web Search:
• The intent is to acquire some information
assumed to be present on one or more
web pages
• Purpose is to find info in static form
• Examples?
– Song lyrics
– Movie quotes
– Class research
A Taxonomy of Web Search:
• The intent is to perform some web
mediated activity
• Examples?
– Shopping
– Downloading music
– Accessing data-bases
– Finding servers
A Taxonomy of Web Search:
• Log analysis showed that of the queries
– 20% were navigational
– 48% were informational
– 30% were transactional
A Taxonomy of Web Search: The
Evolution of Search Engines
• First Generation
– On page data
– Mostly works for informational queries
• Second Generation
– Link analysis, anchor-text, click-through data
• Third Generation
– Attempts to blend data from multiple sources
to answer the “need behind the query”
The Search: Chapter 2
• Battelle attempts to answer six questions
about search
– How?
– Who?
– What?
– Where?
– When?
– How much?
The Search: Who?
• 85% of internet users use search
• 2/3s of those search once or twice a week
• Demographics
– Younger generations
– More highly educated
The Search: What?
• Popular Queries
– Sex
– Mp3
– Britney Spears
• Vanity Searching
The Search: What?
• This week’s Zeitgiest
Hilary Clinton
Oscar nominations
Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts
State of the Union
Frilled shark
Chicago Bears
Ron Carey
Australian Open
The Search: Where?
• 85% use one of the big four portals:
Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, AOL
• Most searches take place outside of the
The Search: Why?
• “a means to an end”
• Discovery searching
The Search: When?
• At home as well as at work
• Traffic increases in the morning, peaks in
the evening
• Idea of web search has roots in the Dewey
Decimal System
The Search: How Much?
• Search has translated into a major
business opportunity
• How do search engines make money?
– Business leads
– Paid ads
– Behavioral targeting
– Demographic analysis