It’s a general trend: search queries are getting longer. But what’s going on?

New research by agency bigmouthmedia has shed some light on the phenomenon in Europe and the results are intriguing.

The agency conducted a survey using data from Google Analytics and client
data which confirmed that “the vast majority of
European consumers now use two and three word search phrases to deliver more
targeted results when surfing
“.

According to Andrew Girdwood, Head of Search at bigmouthmedia, the recession has likely given momentum to this trend:

Over
the past few years consumers have become far more savvy about search, and as
the recession drives people to hunt for the very best available deals,
we’re seeing them adopt a sophisticated approach with the majority now
employing more complicated phrases to find their way around the web.

Internet users in Italy, the UK and Germany demonstrated the greatest tendency to use multiple keywords when searching. In Italy, bigmouthmedia found that 16% of the search phrases included 4 keywords, while in the UK and Germany, 15% included 4 keywords.

Contrast that with France and Spain, where nearly one quarter of searches still contained only a single keyword.

While more data is still needed to better understand what is taking place and how digital marketers should react, the message is clear: how internet users seek out information online is dynamic and constantly-evolving. Marketers will need to monitor search sophistication trends in the markets they target and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Photo credit: maveric2003 via Flickr.