Posts Tagged ‘bounces’

Is Longer Better? What the Best Length for a Query?

December 17th, 2009 by Richard Zwicky

In my recent post, “How Long is Normal?” I published data which showed that based on click through rate, four-word queries are more common than one-word queries, and five-word ones are almost as common.

Today, I’m adding to that information with an additional layer showing a correlation between the number of words used in a query and the time on site, and pages viewed.

One would assume that a more specific query would result in longer time on site and pages viewed. Surprisingly, That’s not the case. In fact it appears that the more specific a query, the more a search referral visitor’s behaviour will reflect a decisive intent and higher level of sophistication in how they navigate web sites. They use the search process to pre-filter results more aggressively, and then they get to the point of their visit very quickly.

This information will of course have implications for bounce rate reporting, as a significant number of search referrals which normally could be classified as bounces more likely indicate a higher than expected level of satisfaction with the results.

Words in Query Percentage of Queries Avg Pages Viewed Avg Time on site
1 11.08% 6.64 4:32
2 24.56% 4.13 2:53
3 25.77% 3.06 1:57
4 17.68% 2.62 1:42
5 10.03% 2.29 1:27
6 5.36% 2.11 1:21
7 2.65% 1.97 1.14
8 1.36% 1.84 1:07
9 0.70% 1.74 1:04
10 0.37% 1.69 0:59

The longest query recorded in this data sample was a search referral with 594 “keywords” in it. Likely it was someone was searching for exact copies of an article, either to identify plagiarism, or link opportunities.

So, if this is “normal” for the Internet, how does your site match up? Interesting to think of this as one more way to determine if your web site’s SEO strategy is healthy.

About the data. Enquisite works with thousands of sites worldwide and captures a trove of relevant search-related data every day. The browser shares reported here are based on data from a selection of Enquisite-tagged sites that cumulatively represent over 350 million page views/month, across most major industry sectors - a very significant sample size. The information published reported solely reflects our data.