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Article
Publication date: 8 December 2020

Sebastian Schultheiß and Dirk Lewandowski

In commercial web search engine results rankings, four stakeholder groups are involved: search engine providers, users, content providers and search engine optimizers…

Abstract

Purpose

In commercial web search engine results rankings, four stakeholder groups are involved: search engine providers, users, content providers and search engine optimizers. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a multi-billion-dollar industry and responsible for making content visible through search engines. Despite this importance, little is known about its role in the interaction of the stakeholder groups.

Design/methodology/approach

We conducted expert interviews with 15 German search engine optimizers and content providers, the latter represented by content managers and online journalists. The interviewees were asked about their perspectives on SEO and how they assess the views of users about SEO.

Findings

SEO was considered necessary for content providers to ensure visibility, which is why dependencies between both stakeholder groups have evolved. Despite its importance, SEO was seen as largely unknown to users. Therefore, it is assumed that users cannot realistically assess the impact SEO has and that user opinions about SEO depend heavily on their knowledge of the topic.

Originality/value

This study investigated search engine optimization from the perspective of those involved in the optimization business: content providers, online journalists and search engine optimization professionals. The study therefore contributes to a more nuanced view on and a deeper understanding of the SEO domain.

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Article
Publication date: 10 February 2012

Shiv Kumar

The aim of this paper is to study the impact of internet search engine usage with special reference to OPAC searches in the Punjabi University Library, Patiala, Punjab (India).

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to study the impact of internet search engine usage with special reference to OPAC searches in the Punjabi University Library, Patiala, Punjab (India).

Design/methodology/approach

The primary data were collected from 352 users comprising faculty, research scholars and postgraduate students of the university. A questionnaire was designed as the data collection tool to obtain information on the impact of the web on OPAC. The data thus collected were analysed with the help of the SPSS (version 14.0) statistical package to present the findings in percentage and ranking formats.

Findings

The study revealed that the information‐searching behaviour of academicians was changing significantly in the web environment. A large number of users explored the web to garner relevant information for academic purposes. The majority were influenced by search engines because they also used OPAC, like the search engines. It is also clear from the study that internet search engines not only affected OPAC users in developed countries, but also impacted upon the less developed countries like India. Thus, it is more a battle of survival and sustainability for the OPAC vis‐à‐vis its close contemporary the web‐search engine.

Originality/value

This is a pioneering work in India studying the impact of web searching on OPAC users. Keeping in perspective the approach of twenty‐first century users, the present research suggests recommendations for designing a user friendly OPAC that entails simplistic search strategies for university libraries of India and other developing countries.

Details

Program, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0033-0337

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Mildred Coates

The purpose of this paper is to examine two research questions: What search engine queries lead users to the Auburn University electronic theses and dissertations (AUETDs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine two research questions: What search engine queries lead users to the Auburn University electronic theses and dissertations (AUETDs) collection? Do these queries vary for users in different locations and, if so, how?

Design/methodology/approach

Search engine queries used to locate the AUETDs collection were obtained from Google Analytics and were separated into groups based on user location. These queries were assigned to empirically derived categories based on their content.

Findings

Most local users’ queries contained person names, variants for thesis or dissertation, and variants for Auburn University. Over a third were queries for the AUETDs collection, while the remainder were seeking theses and dissertations from specific Auburn researchers. Most out-of-state users’ queries contained title and subject keywords and appeared to be seeking specific research studies. Queries from users located within the state but outside of the local area were intermediate between these groups.

Practical implications

Over two-thirds of visits to the AUETDs collection were made by search engine users which reinforces the importance of having repository content indexed by search engines such as Google. The specificity of their queries indicates that full-text indexing will be more helpful to users than metadata indexing alone.

Originality/value

This is the first detailed analysis of search engine queries used to locate an ETDs collection. It may also be the last, as query content for the major search engines is no longer available from Google Analytics.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Seda Ozmutlu

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether question and keyword‐format queries are more successfully processed by search engines encouraging answers to searching

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether question and keyword‐format queries are more successfully processed by search engines encouraging answers to searching and keyword‐format querying, respectively. This study aims to investigate whether web user characteristics and choice of search engine affects the relevancy scores and precision of the results.

Design/methodology/approach

The results of two search engines, Google and AskJeeves, were compared for question and keyword‐format queries. It was observed that AskJeeves was slightly more successful in processing question‐format queries, but this finding was not statistically supported. However, Google provided results on keyword‐format queries and the entire set of queries, which were statistically superior to those of AskJeeves.

Findings

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that the age of web user is not as affective on the relevancy score and precision of results as other factors. Interactions of the main factors were also affective on the relevancy scores and precision, meaning that the different combinations of various factors cause a synergy in terms of relevancy scores and precision.

Research limitations/implications

This was a preliminary work on the effect of user characteristics on comprehension and evaluation of search query results. Future work includes expanding this study to include more web user characteristics, more levels of the web user characteristics, and inclusion of more search engines.

Originality/value

The findings of this study provide statistical proof for the relationship between the characteristics of web users, choice of search engine and the relevancy scores and precision of search results.

Details

Online Information Review, vol. 29 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1468-4527

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Article
Publication date: 19 October 2010

Ashish Kathuria, Bernard J. Jansen, Carolyn Hafernik and Amanda Spink

Web search engines are frequently used by people to locate information on the Internet. However, not all queries have an informational goal. Instead of information, some…

Abstract

Purpose

Web search engines are frequently used by people to locate information on the Internet. However, not all queries have an informational goal. Instead of information, some people may be looking for specific web sites or may wish to conduct transactions with web services. This paper aims to focus on automatically classifying the different user intents behind web queries.

Design/methodology/approach

For the research reported in this paper, 130,000 web search engine queries are categorized as informational, navigational, or transactional using a k‐means clustering approach based on a variety of query traits.

Findings

The research findings show that more than 75 percent of web queries (clustered into eight classifications) are informational in nature, with about 12 percent each for navigational and transactional. Results also show that web queries fall into eight clusters, six primarily informational, and one each of primarily transactional and navigational.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an important contribution to web search literature because it provides information about the goals of searchers and a method for automatically classifying the intents of the user queries. Automatic classification of user intent can lead to improved web search engines by tailoring results to specific user needs.

Practical implications

The paper discusses how web search engines can use automatically classified user queries to provide more targeted and relevant results in web searching by implementing a real time classification method as presented in this research.

Originality/value

This research investigates a new application of a method for automatically classifying the intent of user queries. There has been limited research to date on automatically classifying the user intent of web queries, even though the pay‐off for web search engines can be quite beneficial.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2012

Shiv Kumar

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of user demographic characteristics on the impact of usage of search engines, particularly Google, with special…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of user demographic characteristics on the impact of usage of search engines, particularly Google, with special regard to OPAC in the context of an Indian university setting.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a survey where the tool of investigation was a close‐ended questionnaire that was distributed among respondents, was self‐filled and returned. The data, thus collected, were processed on MS‐Excel and subsequently on the SPSS statistical package which was used specifically for the analysis of results and also for producing cross‐tables. The Chi‐square test was applied to determine the comparability or the existence of any relationship between the impact of web searching on OPAC use and demographic characteristics of individual searchers.

Findings

The study found significant differences between OPAC usage patterns and demographic characteristics of user categories and age groups. Significant variations were noticed among user age groups for awareness about differences between the inner‐workings of the OPAC and web search engines. A significant relationship was found between male and female users vis‐à‐vis their viewpoint after unsuccessful searches. Certain variations were also observed among academic majors with regard to perceptions of users after failed searches. Interestingly, no significant differences were observed between actions of users after unsuccessful searches and the parameters pertaining to their age groups, categories, academic majors and gender.

Originality/value

This is in all probability one of the first empirical studies to be published on the influence of demographic characteristics of users on the impact of web searching with respect to OPAC use. These characteristics have been observed to definitively impact upon the influence of web searching in some limited activities.

Details

Library Review, vol. 61 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Natali Helberger, Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw and Rob van der Noll

The purposes of this paper are to deal with the questions: because search engines, social networks and app-stores are often referred to as gatekeepers to diverse…

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper are to deal with the questions: because search engines, social networks and app-stores are often referred to as gatekeepers to diverse information access, what is the evidence to substantiate these gatekeeper concerns, and to what extent are existing regulatory solutions to control gatekeeper control suitable at all to address new diversity concerns? It will also map the different gatekeeper concerns about media diversity as evidenced in existing research before the background of network gatekeeping theory critically analyses some of the currently discussed regulatory approaches and develops the contours of a more user-centric approach towards approaching gatekeeper control and media diversity.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual research work based on desk research into the relevant and communications science, economic and legal academic literature and the relevant laws and public policy documents. Based on the existing evidence as well as on applying the insights from network gatekeeping theory, this paper then critically reviews the existing legal/policy discourse and identifies elements for an alternative approach.

Findings

This paper finds that when looking at search engines, social networks and app stores, many concerns about the influence of the new information intermediaries on media diversity have not so much their source in the control over critical resources or access to information, as the traditional gatekeepers do. Instead, the real bottleneck is access to the user, and the way the relationship between social network, search engine or app platforms and users is given form. Based on this observation, the paper concludes that regulatory initiatives in this area would need to pay more attention to the dynamic relationship between gatekeeper and gated.

Research limitations/implications

Because this is a conceptual piece based on desk-research, meaning that our assumptions and conclusions have not been validated by own empirical research. Also, although the authors have conducted to their best knowledge the literature review as broad and as concise as possible, seeing the breadth of the issue and the diversity of research outlets, it cannot be excluded that we have overlooked one or the other publication.

Practical implications

This paper makes a number of very concrete suggestions of how to approach potential challenges from the new information intermediaries to media diversity.

Social implications

The societal implications of search engines, social networks and app stores for media diversity cannot be overestimated. And yet, it is the position of users, and their exposure to diverse information that is often neglected in the current dialogue. By drawing attention to the dynamic relationship between gatekeeper and gated, this paper highlights the importance of this relationship for diverse exposure to information.

Originality/value

While there is currently much discussion about the possible challenges from search engines, social networks and app-stores for media diversity, a comprehensive overview in the scholarly literature on the evidence that actually exists is still lacking. And while most of the regulatory solutions still depart from a more pre-networked, static understanding of “gatekeeper”, we develop our analysis on the basis for a more dynamic approach that takes into account the fluid and interactive relationship between the roles of “gatekeepers” and “gated”. Seen from this perspective, the regulatory solutions discussed so far appear in a very different light.

Details

info, vol. 17 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6697

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2018

Amber A. Smith-Ditizio, Alan David Smith and Walter R. Kendall

The purpose of this paper is to provide useful insights underlying the popularity of search engine technologies within a social media-intensive environment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide useful insights underlying the popularity of search engine technologies within a social media-intensive environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The degree of social interaction for social media platforms that integrate search engine technologies as part of the homepage and related experience is very mixed on part of its users. Through Barnard’ theory of authority acceptance, social media and its popularity may be examined by the ability of its users to create effective messages that can be broadcasted to many, yet controlled by individual. The hypotheses tested the interaction of social media and search engine with gender and technological ease-of-use factors.

Findings

The statistical evidence suggested that significant technological and ease-of-use aspects of search engines are not meaningful, based on gender alone. Males may slightly be prone to take advantage of such technologies, but their search and use patterns are not much varied from their female counterparts. Social media, generally more fully captured authority in individual search patterns, and a number of interactions among gender status, search engine characteristics, and social media were found to be significant and profound. The testing of these hypotheses directly reflect the complexities of unique needs among users of search engines within a social media environment.

Practical implications

Search engine technologies with a social media context has allowed for the development of a modern, user-driven internet experience that has been powered by users’ imagination and is designed to at least partially satisfy users’ need for self-directed engagement. Organizations are well advised to provide a mindful, less controlled, and more interactive presence of potential users, especially through an increasingly mobile presence.

Originality/value

Individuals as well as organizations are rapidly discovering that it is becoming easier to share and distribute their content, especially for more creative and innovative content, among all of its users. As businesses continue to focus on the quality of one’s own content, individuals are increasingly taking advantage of some tools to exert more control over their experiences and what they are willing to share, resulting in more user-based partnerships will formulate. As the transition of traditional forms of marketing to newer forms of integrated marketing, the future for search engines as marketing tools by social media users appears to be very promising in adding contextual content within users’ homepage.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 27 March 2007

Debra Dudek, Anna Mastora and Monica Landoni

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of usability and overall user satisfaction when comparing performance of different search engines.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the importance of usability and overall user satisfaction when comparing performance of different search engines.

Design/methodology/approach

The study described in this paper starts from an investigation of existing methodologies for evaluating search engines in order to find out what are the most important factors for users to decide which system to use when searching the World Wide Web.

Findings

This study confirmed that usability and popularity are closely linked. This study has shown that no one‐search engine holds the key to ultimate search results. Just as there is cultural, political and geographical differences in the world's population, there are a number of search engines to fit the individual needs of every net citizen. Whereas results, precision, recall and reliability are the factors which participants prize highly, regardless of all other aspects. It was found that the speed of search engine results has become a high priority to participants.

Research limitations/implications

Number of participants was limited and although some questions were confusing to some individuals, a majority of questionnaires were completed in a satisfactory fashion.

Originality/value

This paper describes a usability study involving different search engines looking at links between popularity and usability.

Details

Library Review, vol. 56 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 6 August 2018

Yanwu Yang, Xin Li, Daniel Zeng and Bernard J. Jansen

The purpose of this paper is to model group advertising decisions, which are the collective decisions of every single advertiser within the set of advertisers who are…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to model group advertising decisions, which are the collective decisions of every single advertiser within the set of advertisers who are competing in the same auction or vertical industry, and examine resulting market outcomes, via a proposed simulation framework named Experimental Platform for Search Engine Advertising (EXP-SEA) supporting experimental studies of collective behaviors in the context of search engine advertising.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors implement the EXP-SEA to validate the proposed simulation framework, also conduct three experimental studies on the aggregate impact of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), the competition level and strategic bidding behaviors. EXP-SEA supports heterogeneous participants, various auction mechanisms and also ranking and pricing algorithms.

Findings

Findings from the three experiments show that both the market profit and advertising indexes such as number of impressions and number of clicks are larger when the eWOM effect is present, meaning social media certainly has some effect on search engine advertising outcomes, the competition level has a monotonic increasing effect on the market performance, thus search engines have an incentive to encourage both the eWOM among search users and competition among advertisers, and given the market-level effect of the percentage of advertisers employing a dynamic greedy bidding strategy, there is a cut-off point for strategic bidding behaviors.

Originality/value

This is one of the first research works to explore collective group decisions and resulting phenomena in the complex context of search engine advertising via developing and validating a simulation framework that supports assessments of various advertising strategies and estimations of the impact of mechanisms on the search market.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

Keywords

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