Trends In Searching For Commerce Related Information On Web Search Engines


Amanda Spink
Bernard J. Jansen


According to the Pew Web Internet and American Life Project (Raine, 2005) search engine use is edging towards overtaking email usage as the primary Internet application for many users. Accessing commerce related information on the Web is becoming an everyday activity for many people in the digital age. The level of commerce related Web searching is a major subject of interest, particularly in the United States. Web queries are therefore an important element of commerce and the growth of e-commerce and purchasing products or services over the Web. Web queries are a primary means for translating people’s product, service and information needs. This paper provides results from studies analyzing Web search logs to determine the level of commerce related searches on commercial Web search engines from 1997 to 2005. Within commerce, we include business, e-commerce, travel, employment or economic related Web queries. Results show that commerce related queries have increased as a proportion of all Web queries since 1997 and currently represented more than 30% of Web queries. Commerce related searching continues to be the major topic of search on commercial Web search engines. The commerce related terminology on Web is incredibly various and often difficult for the average user to predict with total accuracy. The implications of the findings and further research are discussed.

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May, 2008

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