Search behaviour 2016

You might remember from last year that there was plenty of talk, postings and commentary about the decline in desktop searching with the apparent rise of mobile searching in its place. Given that mobiles today are far advanced, and you can do many things on them (as you can on your desktop PC) this is hardly surprising.


What becomes surprising then is some research that has come out showing that desktop search has actually risen most recently. This leads to a couple of questions:

1) How or why is this so?

2) Which is actually correct, or more poignantly, do we even know?

The report which brings about this new piece of news was released by Compete and is available for download at:

What seems puzzling about this report is the lack of inclusion of any mobile data, and therefore it could be argued that this doesn’t provide an entirely balanced and ‘controlled’ critique of the status. You may also remember that Google stated last year that a lot more searches were taking place on the mobile medium, so this would seem to further question Competes argument.

What is the actual answer? Well we think that overall search volume has increased and will continue to do so, but that this is down to an increase in mobile search. Whilst desktop search plays its part, we think it has flattened out and so would agree with the likes of Google and the others on this one.

It is worth noting that this report also cites some other interesting facts and figures when it comes to general search behaviour.

* Enquiries to search engines overall are reported to be at least 10% higher than last year. (We would think that the mobile increase probably has something to do with this.)

* People are visiting search engines (as a time element) much more, and this would seem to back up the overall conclusion that search volume ratios are up.

* Users are generally spending less time overall per search visit and looking at a smaller number of pages per visit. Translated the examination of this is clear. People are expecting far quicker and more accurate results the first time when they are searching. There is now statistical evidence for this, something which we have known for a while.

How far do you agree with some of the findings in this report? Have you noticed a change in your search behaviour if you stop and think about it? Ultimately it will be how far individual people have changed their habits which will make the true difference.

To find out more about some of the projects we have worked on and how we have made a positive impact, see our case studies page.