WebSideStory, which provides Web analysis data to businesses, based its findings on an April study of 34 million search phrases on more than 40 major Web sites. The study data was used in a recent report by Patricia Seybold Group, an analyst firm.
WebSideStory found that while search-engine marketing through pay-per-click networks such as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. were important, a Web site's own search engine was key in converting visitors to buyers. Visitors who used site search were nearly three times as likely to convert than the average visitor.
The study also found that one and two-word queries comprised 83 percent of all site searches, and 91 percent of searches on e-commerce sites. Nearly 12 percent of all site searches led to zero results. Among e-commerce sites, the number fell to 8.5 percent.