Twenty years ago, the World Wide Web as we know it today didn't exist. Ten years ago, only early technology adopters used search engines, and Google was a struggling young upstart. Now, over 50 percent of online Americans use search engines every day and over 90 percent of them use search engines every month. That's a lot of potential customers who are looking for you and a lot of market research about what those customers want.
Americans conduct 22.7 billion online searches a month and worldwide, we type into a search box monthly 131 billion times. That's 29 million searches per minute. It's safe to say that we've become a searching culture. Just take a look at the 2009 Super Bowl to see this in action. Look at the spiking searches on Google the morning of the big game. Thirty-five of the top 100 have the word "Super Bowl" in them, and another 27 are Super Bowl–related (see Figure 1.1).
Business leaders know that the world is changing. More customer research and transactions take place online now than ever before, and those numbers are only going to increase. Globally, the number of searches grew 46 percent in 2009. According to Jack Flanagan, com-Score executive vice president, "Search is clearly becoming a more ubiquitous behavior among Internet users that drives navigation not only directly from search engines but also within sites and across networks.
Figure 1.1. Google Search Trends, Super Bowl 2009: Source: Google Trends ...