Penn State recently published  the results from a study which classifies web searchers.  They say that people mainly use web search engines for three main purposes, thus searchers are divided into three different categories. The three main categories are:

  1. Information searchers – those who use a search engine to look for information regarding a specific fact or topic
  2. Navigational searchers – those who use a search engine to find a specific site
  3. Transactional searchers – those who use a search engine to find information on buying a specific product or service

What they found out of all of the research is that most people are information searchers, they’re trying to find information regarding a specific fact or topic.  They say, “Researchers analyzed more than 1.5 million queries from hundreds of thousands of search engine users. Findings showed that about 80 percent of queries are informational and about 10 percent each are for navigational and transactional purposes.”

What I like about this study is that a rather large amount of search queries were analyzed which gives me a better feeling that this study is accurate.  They said that other studies in the past have looked at “much smaller sets of queries, usually manually,” while this research was all about classifying queries automatically.

Also interesting is that in the future they plan to take this study to the next level. The Penn State Researcher will do this by using a more “complex algorithm that will hopefully yield a 90-percent accuracy rate using similar searching criteria.”

So what do you use search engines for? Let us know in the Poll below (you must have Flash enabled):