General Question

davidb's avatar

What percentage of overall searches are questions and/or subjective queries?

Asked by davidb (67 points ) October 17th, 2009

I’m interested in understanding:
1. What percentage of searches are unique (i.e. search engines haven’t seen that exact query previously)?
2. What percentage of searches are questions?
3. What percentage of searches are subjective in nature (i.e. they are not objective/factual searches and thus don’t necessarily have a “right” answer)?

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7 Answers

Samurai's avatar

Most if not all my searches are questions (normally brings up yahoo answers). The rest are searches for anime episodes.

NewZen's avatar

We need a matt browne to the rescue to fomulate the equasion for this statistic. Me, I ask questions for fun. I’m too dumb to ask anything of significance.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

Hmm. This is most interesting. I will look for some statistics, but I can tell you I never query with question. Only relative terms. Never subjective either. For that, there’s Fluther.

(eta) May or may not be helpful. Play with Scholar for a bit.

drClaw's avatar

It depends on the engine being used. For instance Yahoo has an older user base that is less educated on the ways of the interwebs so search queries tend to lean more toward full length questions. Google on the other hand has more sophisticated users (in terms of search knowledge) and therefore are more likely to use key terms and search operators.

@Beta_Orionis You will have a difficult time finding any data on this subject that isn’t speculative Tools for online marketers (Trellian is a good example) do their best to track search queries using proprietary bots & volunteered site data but ultimately do not have access to Google, Yahoo, or Bing’s search logs.

Back in the early days you could get your hands on search logs (like in the link you provided), but search has evolved too much for any of that data to be viable. The last search engine log to ever have been released was from AOL (powered by Google) in August of 2006 and it ended in disaster.

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@drClaw I remember that!

Demographic discrepancies is an excellent point. As for Google, I suppose I could ask someone who works there, but I wonder whether they like to keep those percentages internal.

drClaw's avatar

@Beta_Orionis That would be awesome if you could get it straight from the horses mouth, I’ve always found trying to get info from Google is like pulling teeth. Then again I have a tendency to loose patience rather quickly. Feel free to message me if you get anything from them ;-)

Beta_Orionis's avatar

@drClaw heh. It helps to know a few people who work there. I can’t imagine trying cold.

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