The online world evolves faster than most environments. It is influenced by many factors that happen around us, seasonal changes, product releases or what happened on Master Chieft last night can be a major factor in shift in search trends or our behaviour online.
According to a white paper that Yahoo! Labs scientists Ravi Kumar and Andrew Tomkins have released the follow has been found:
Patterns in online behavior are tending to shift away from traditional search, though user behavior shows a notable opportunity in searches for highly specific items, or “structured objects”—things that include restaurants, products, cars, real-estate listings, cities, bands, sports teams, celebrities, sports players, and companies. (source)
The data analysed by the two Yahoo! Lab scientists included data from the Yahoo! Toolbar, including about 50 million pageviews in March 2009. They found that users spent 21.4% of their time online time performing searches of one kind or another. These included main Web searches (6.2%), multimedia searches (1.4%), and searches for items such as those on eBay or Amazon.com (1.4%). In addition, search’s 9% of pageviews was responsible for 8.9% of direct referrals and 3.5% of indirect referrals.
One interesting point to note for those that have e-commerce websites:
The paper found that 20% of checkout pageviews were reached through search activity. But Kumar and Tompkins also noted that users spent about half their time browsing and one-third communicating.(source)
So how does Yahoo! see the future of search? According to the report:
The future of search will include increasing focus on gathering, understanding and, when appropriate, serving structured information.(source)