Do Web Site Visitors Vary in Their Search and Surf Behavior?

Do Web Site Visitors Vary in Their Search and Surf Behavior?

Carsten D. Schultz
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch112
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Research on search behavior has focused on the use of search engines and surf activities on a specific Web site. The present study addresses a cross-site question and provides insights into the information search and the search process. As the focus of the present study is on the behavior of Web site visitors, a brief overview of search engine usage is presented below.

Search engines usually display two sets of search results: so-called organic results and search engine advertisements. Organic results are the outcome of the index retrieval and relevance ranking applied by a search engine. For search engine advertisements, advertisers bid a value that they are willing to pay for each click on their advertisement. These advertisements are then positioned according to an automated generalized second-price auction (Edelman et al., 2007; Varian, 2007). Besides the bid amount, the auctioning mechanism may also incorporate additional quality criteria (Aggarwal et al., 2008; Gonen & Vassilvitskii, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Browsing Behavior: All actions of a user while interacting with the World Wide Web.

Information Need: The amount of information a user requires to fulfill the search intent.

Pre-Processing: A step to create a meaningful data set from log files. Irrelevant entries, such as robot requests and graphic requests, and duplicated requests are generally removed from the data set.

Search Engine Advertising: All activities directed at displaying ads via a search engine, primarily at search engine result pages.

Search Intent: The purpose of a user entering a search query.

Visit Depth: The number of pages visited by a user within one user session.

Visit Duration: The time in seconds spend on the Web site during a user session (until accessing the last Web site).

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