Econsultancy recently reported highlights from the “2010 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Insights Study” by Performics.

The study, which took place in the US offers some very interesting insights in to users’ motivations and behaviour when using search engines.

Courtesy of Econsultancy, here is a summary of key findings from the report:

Natural search vs. Paid search

When asked if they know the difference between natural and paid search results…

  • 63% said Yes
  • 37% said No

The age demographics of those who did know the difference between natural and paid search results…

  • 18-29 – 80% said Yes
  • 30-39 – 59% said Yes
  • 40-49 – 63% said Yes
  • 50-59 – 58% said Yes
  • 60+ – 52% said Yes

When asked how often they click on natural and paid search results…

Natural results:

  • 37% Always
  • 42% Frequently
  • 15% Occasionally
  • 4% Rarely
  • 2% Never

Paid results:

  • 5% Always
  • 15% Frequently
  • 43% Occasionally
  • 29% Rarely
  • 8% Never

User search behaviour

4 in 10 respondents (40%) used a search engine more than twenty times in any given week.

The age demographics of those who used a search engine more than twenty times in any given week…

  • 18-29 – 54%
  • 30-39 – 53%
  • 40-49 – 36%
  • 50-59 – 28%
  • 60+ – 26%

88% of respondents will click on a result that has the exact phrase they searched for.

89% said that they will alter their search query if they don’t find the results they’re looking for.

89%  will ultimately change search engines if they don’t find the results they’re looking for.

79% will go through multiple pages of results, if their query isn’t answered in the first page.

Universal Search

53% of respondents said they’re more likely to click on a listing if it includes and image.

48% said that they click on a company or brand if they appear multiple times in the SERPs.

26% said they were more likely to click on a search result if it included a video.

Why users are searching

83% use search engines to find specific products or brands.

78% said that they did informational search queries after seeing an advertisement for a product or brand somewhere else.

80% use search engines for informational queries about a specific product or brand before purchasing online.

76% use search engines for informational queries about a specific product or brand before purchasing offline.

78% said that they used search engines to find the best price of a specific products or brand.

74% used search engines to find where they can purchase a specific product or brand offline.

To explore further how user search behaviour is changing, take a look at Econsultancy’s new SEO Agencies Buyer’s Guide (and pay particular attention to the best agency profiled on page 50!).