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Are we seeing the death of the traditional search engine?

A new report has suggested that people are using search engines less often than ever before to find their way to websites.

Although it would be impudent to herald that  the likes of Bing, Google and Yahoo are coughing their last, a study in the social media industry showed that fewer people are visiting sites recommended to them through a search query.

The study found that in the six months to May, 2014, the percentage of traffic being driven to sites directly by a search engine result dropped by over eight percent.

According to the results, traffic from Google fell from 37.49% to 31.04%. Bing and Yahoo meanwhile also both dropped to just under 1%.

The natural cycle to search queries will have had an effect to some degree but, as with many in the search industry, at Pressroom it was a surprising decline in its size and speed.

However, considering that the report was commissioned by the social sector, the study also showed that the number of referrals directly made from social network content and advertising was rising. The two big players in this arena, Facebook and Twitter, were having the biggest impact.

The success of digital campaigns and strategies being waged by companies on social has been key to this change in habits. People are following and backing their brands on a large scale, attracted by promoted content and targeted advertising.

It also means that while consumers are engaging more with firms on social sites, they are also going directly to company websites to complete purchases in larger numbers.

The details go further, with reports coming out of America suggesting that big online brands like Amazon are increasingly not offering the best price online. Price comparison sites have also recently been criticised for not providing enough detail.

It all suggests that direct engagement through quality social content is becoming a greater influence on consumers’ choices.

Steven Morris

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