Most of the searching going on at major Internet sites involves a surprisingly small number of search terms, according to new research from WebSideStory, an Internet traffic analysis firm.
The San Diego-based concern bases its findings (here in PDF form) on a study of 34 million search sessions conducted at 40 major Internet sites in April.
It found that half the search sessions were to locate just 4 percent of the key words the site's search engine encountered.
Among other things, the findings suggest a "search this site" feature on a Web site is the best way to steer people to the information they are looking for. This runs counter to the school of thought supporting a more proactive means.
"A site search feature is a tremendous gift to you from your customers," writes the Susan Aldrich, a senior vice president at The Patricia Seybold Group. She prepared the research for WebSideStory.
"They are telling you exactly what they want, in their own words."