Last month UK internet users made 2.2 billion visits to search engines, an increase of 174 million over the previous February. Leading data experts Experian have reported that December 2011 was the busiest month ever for UK search traffic but they don't expect that record to hold up for very long.
Google however continues to dominate the search game with over 90% of all searches through their website or various search services they have on other locations and devices. Google's dominance is actually growing with a 1% increase in February.
What is more interesting is that Google's conversion rate is lower (by a small percentage) than its competitors trailing Yahoo and Bing with only 32.8% of searchers going to a transactional website. There may be a number of factors contributing to this and I wont elaborate too far other than to point out that while Google's popularity grows and its conversion rate drops, it may indicate savvy browsers avoiding the clearly differentiated commercial websites.
It has also been observed that Google has become the default way many people navigate the internet, moving away from typing a domain in the address bar to just typing the name of the company in the Search bar. The knock on of this is clear, a company must have their basic SEO in place to ensure that they capture at-least their basic search traffic. Further evidence of this is the fact that the UK's most often searched term is Facebook, all users would know the Facebook.com url. This may be signalling the end of the domain as a marketing tool for online only businesses, think mazumamobile.com, webuyanycar.com or moneysupermarket.com.
Understanding how people are behaving online through search engines is important for companies that want to build their business online. Developing a search strategy
must be an important part of any online marketing campaign. This includes giving thought to content. It is really important that your website has good search friendly content on the appropriate pages. Gone are the days where you just needed to cram your home page with keywords. Google now wants to see a richness across all your content. It makes a lot more sense today to work on each of the inner pages of your site to ensure they are search friendly and designed to convert traffic in to customers.