2012 search trends- Keyphrases get longer as searchers get more savvy


Google has extended it lead in the UK search market which shows no sign of slowing down, with the proportion of searches containing four or more words increasing. James Murray, Digital Insight Manager, Experian Marketing takes a look at the latest UK search trends.


We’re already in August and I can scarcely believe where the first seven months of the year have gone. Before I know it, it’s going to be time to sit down and write my year in review for 2012 so I thought I would take some time to reflect on the year so far in search.

The key takeaway is that 2012 so far has been a huge year of growth for search in the UK.

Every month when we look at the number of UK Internet visits going to search engines, 2012 has consistently outperformed the corresponding month from 2011. On average, the UK is making an additional 93 million visits per month to search engines compared to the same month in the previous year. This equates to an average year-on-year growth of 4.3% in visits.

Last month almost 91% of UK searches were conducted on Google. As search is getting bigger in the UK market Google is keeping pace and maintaining its dominance on the market.

Looking at the year to date (January to July) there have been 15.8 billion visits to search engines in the UK alone. In total UK search has grown by 652 million visits so far in 2012, which means there have been an additional 568 million visits to Google engines that weren’t happening this time last year.

Not only is search growing, it’s also changing. The way that UK Internet users are searching is becoming more complex. You can see from the chart below that increasingly longer search phrases are being used with four or more words per search phrase.


These search trends are changing slowly but it is an indication of more sophisticated, web-savvy search behaviour and a move away from simple search phrases.

Shorter searches still make up the majority of UK search with 50% of searches conducted in July 2012 containing one or two words.

However, you can see that year-on-year, the proportion of searches containing one, two or three words are declining, whereas the proportion of searches containing four or more words are increasing.

As search continues to advance, the long tail is going to become ever more important in UK search.

If you want to find out more about how Experian Hitwise search data can help your business please visit our website or you can visit our YouTube channel to watch one of our videos. Alternatively you can follow us on Twitter for the latest data updates.

By James Murray
Digital Insight Manager
Experian Marketing


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