seo is kingI love all the media when they say “Facebook is taking over” or how “Twitter is huge” on the Internet.  The private financial valuations of the companies simply make me laugh when I see them.

While I’ll admit any day that the (social media) traffic’s enormous and the statistics are quite impressive, it still doesn’t get away from the fact that people use Search Engines when they’re looking for things.  Sure, they’re “listening to other convo’s” (when tweeting) or they’re on Facebook for many hours (stalking their friend’s photos & walls), but what are people in the business world doing?  How about consumers?  They’re “searching for things” as evidenced by the recent Pew Internet Study.

Email and SEARCH (can I repeat S-E-A-R-C-H) dominate on the list of things people do online.  Ninety-two percent of people who are online use email and search while they are on their computers or other devices they connect to the Internet.  Only 65% of the users studied are using Social Networking sites.  Granted that the usage of “Social Media” has grown significantly from about 11% in 2005, but search has grown as well from 85% in 2002.  So, both are growing and yet search still is almost 30% higher than Social Media.

Surprisingly, the age group you would think that’s using Facebook or other social media is actually even searching at a higher number than other demographics: “search is most popular among the youngest adult internet users (those age 18-29), 96% of whom use search engines to find information online” according to the study. “[E]ven among the oldest internet users (age 65+), 87% are search engine users.”

One major point that was surprising with the study was that the habits of people when it comes to email and search were growing stronger. “Today, roughly six in ten online adults engage in each of these activities on a typical day; in 2002, 49% of online adults used email each day, while just 29% used a search engine daily.”

2011 pew internet study on search and email

And if you’re curious about how it’s broken out in terms of age groups, income levels and much more, check out the following graph Pew has created to map all this out.

search demographics


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