The Power of Power Searchers

I've posited this in the past, now Compete shows data that backs it (in as much as you buy Compete data): What you find is that the top 1% of searchers performs a full 13% of all searches in a given month. If you extend this to the top…


I’ve posited this in the past, now Compete shows data that backs it (in as much as you buy Compete data):

What you find is that the top 1% of searchers performs a full 13% of all searches in a given month. If you extend this to the top 20% the number of queries increase to roughly 70%. So in contrast to the standard 80-20 pareto it appears that in web search there is roughly a 70-20 distribution. So what if we break this out by engine?

I (and I bet you) count myself in the category of power searcher – probably 25-50 searches a day. My mother, well, more like 1-5 a day. If that.

What I do wonder is whether Google et al are creating products for ME, or for my mother. This data would argue that they should be for me.

14 thoughts on “The Power of Power Searchers”

  1. What I do wonder is whether Google et al are creating products for ME, or for my mother. This data would argue that they should be for me.

    I wholeheartedly agree, and have said as much many times in the past. I have argued over and over on this blog that Google should be making things easier for people (such as power users) who really want to dig into their searches by doing something more than small text boxes and 10 links at a time. They should be exposing all their hidden query operators, featuring them more prominently, making searchers aware when one or two of the more interesting operators might substantively alter the results they are seeing (think of it as spelling correction.. only it is it whole query structure correction, instead.. things like adding quotes or site: operators or automatically suggesting file-type operators, etc).

    And when Google returns 437,000 results, they should give us power users an easier way of sorting through all those results, to really understand what the results are about. Sometimes I, as a power user, am not necessarily looking for the one top ranked document, the one homepage of some company or person or journal. Sometimes I am trying to search to find information about the historical contexts surrounding, let’s say, the Supreme Court decision “Brown vs. Board of Education”. In that case, a much richer method of presenting and letting me modify and dig through the results is necessary. I don’t want to just step through each of the 437,000 results, 10 links at a time.

    And yet they stubbornly and steadfastly refuse to do things like this, for the power user. Almost 10 years of Google now, and we still only have one text box, 10 links, and nothing else. Oh, except for the fact that some of the links are now YouTube thumbnails (yay.. Universal Search). Oh, and we also now have 13 ads (3 up top, 10 on the right) where none used to be, before.

    But still no real support for the power users.

    Then again, power users don’t click ads. So maybe this is the elephant in the room that no one is talking about.

  2. yep i’m a power searcher too =]
    15/30 seraches/day at least. we have no tool do create a fully personal search, wasting a lot of time with this pages….

  3. I have sufficient Firefox arsenal that prevents me from seeing any ads. I don’t click on sponsored links. I search a lot. I’m their worst nightmare.

  4. something tells me they figure this in .. as a stockholder im content with their decision trees. could care less about us “power searchers” if we dont click on revenue while mom does. those same 10 yrs that same 10 results has sergey and larry lookin pretty smart. There are many other search engines for guys like you that are seeking “smarter” more semantic or enriched search experience.. they presented at your conference.. and many many more.. why do you still use the commercial machine? i bet because its still the most reliable
    case closed product ever invented since xanax!

  5. I think Mahalo is going for the smaller market of people who search 1-5 times a day, so I think it’s ok if Google wants to cater to us power searchers. Ultimately it’d be nice to have the best of both worlds – powerful search plus trustable (i.e. human influenced without alterior motives) and usable answers.

  6. 1) Why can’t “power searchers” just use the Advanced Search feature — ???
    2) I too rarely click on the sponsored links, but I think it would be a bit foolhardy to block them entirely (like Jeff mentioned he does) because the fact of the matter is, sometimes the sponsored links — perhaps not all that often, but sometimes nonetheless — ofter the EXACT thing I was looking for… i.e. once in a while they are actually much more relevant than the organic results. And IMHO THAT’S why Google is a $200B company.

  7. The original premise of the paid listings was to introduce an element of ‘credibility’ to the results, I thought? (I’ve read the book John but it was a few years ago) Back in the day spam was everywhere and introducing a monetary element would improve the results.

    I would have thought that Google would WANT the power searchers to stay and would offer better tools to us 20-a-dayers (inc myself). By allowing us to get ‘into’ the results more, we will use the service more. If they allow us play with the results more then we might actually click on the ads more?

    BTW, I don’t think it’s power users who don’t click on PPC, I did a straw poll at a talk recently and NO ONE in a room of 30 people admitted to clicking on ads (well not knowingly).

  8. I am developing a combination link exchange/directory where I use the crumb trail resulting from menu selections as a search query. in may not be all that popular but it does expose users to the idea of “power search” and expanding queries to minimize and fine tune the results.

    From this idea of creating a query from previous selections I am thinking that some sort of mark up language for search queries is in order. For example with a markup language I could send each item of a query with a different priority. I probably could easily use it to combine search terms in groups. If nested together, only a small number of search engine query tags could provide numerous possible ranking and relations among the search terms, which then be used in search queries to produce better search results (and/or sponsored link displays).

  9. I too am a huge power searcher, with probably 50 searches on a slow day. One old Altavista key word that I seriously miss is “NEAR” which I would use regularly to eliminate random false positives.

    On the clicking ads point, yes. I am acutally amazed at how frequently one of the sites on the sidebar is one that I want to visit, and when a site shows up on both the ad bar and the search results, I usually click the ad bar, both to support Google, and to let the company in question know that the Google ad worked.

    But certainly, better search syntax and a way to search in results would be nice.

  10. exposed parties to be revealed and properly recognized for their wrong doings malicious acts, greed, and absolute disregard for what I would like to call JUSTICE> I invite all hackers all the world to take a look at what this country calls fair. How Media, Politics, and government would play with anyone to this extent sickens me! This is for the saints out there for my Best Friend SA sitting in a cell. I love you always. Corruption is an evil thing. Yet I have still have faith that those who have interfered and steered people the wrong way will now not later but now….. do whats right.
    lets dance

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