The URL Is Dead, Long Live Search

May 22, 2008 – 5:17 PM

Last week I was watching TV and saw something that really caught my eye. It was a commercial for Special K, the breakfast cereal from Kellogg, and rather than end with a plug for the product’s web site — — it advised people to search Yahoo! for “Special K” instead. I started to wonder two things: 1. is Yahoo! paying Special K for tack-on advertising? and 2. has searching really become so natural that it is more effective to tell people to search for your site than it is to tell them to visit directly?

To the latter question, the answer appears to be a somewhat surprising “yes.” Of the 10 fastest rising search terms on Google last year, 7 were for searches where adding a “.com” would have brought the user to the correct site. These are called “navigational” searches — searches done when the user already knows exactly where he or she wants to end up — and they make up a surprising large number of total seaches.

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