Web Analytics World (WAW) recently posted an article regarding Bing’s powering over 25% of searches in November 2010. Included in the post was a chart on what WAW deemed success rate:
In this case, a success constitutes a user clicking on result and visiting a website.
Frankly, Web Analytics World has it somewhat backward. Clearly, success for search engines is a user clicking on a sponsored ad – that is how search engines make money, but clicking on an organic listing doesn’t directly benefit the search engine. In many cases, the search engine may be better off supplying the information rather than having the searcher leave to another site.
Google is no fool, and when it offers search results for movies, definitions, music, YouTube videos, flights, etc. Google doesn’t want users to click through to another website. Rather Google is looking to get another crack at getting the users to click on a sponsored ad. In this case, success would be getting users not to click.