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Behavioral Mindsets Influence Search Patterns

September 29, 2011
  |  8,306 views

When searching for information on the Internet, people tend to exhibit one of three distinct behavioral search patterns, according to new research by About.com, which explores the various mindsets that drive Web search.

The three mindsets that drive search patterns, "Answer Me," Educate Me," and "Inspire Me," are defined as follows:  

  • Answer Me searches account for 46% of total searches queries. People conducting such searches want exactly what they ask for (and no more), delivered in a way that allows them to get to it as directly as possible. The top categories in Answer Me search are Entertainment, Fashion, and Beauty & Style.
  • Inspire Me (28%) searches tend to be fun and "browsy" in nature. Such people are looking for surprises, tend to have open minds, and want to be led. The top categories in Inspire Me search are Travel and Home & Garden.
  • Educate Me (26%) searchers want 360 degrees of understanding, and multiple perspectives on critical topics. Such people tend to search until their goals are achieved, which may stretch over long periods of time and across related topics. The top categories in Educate Me search are Health and Finance.

Below, additional findings from About.com's study titled "Three Mindsets of Search" based on a survey of 928 US adults age 21-54. 

Demographic Differences


Search mindsets are not gender-specific, and largely not age specific. Income, however, does plays a role in Answer Me searches.

Higher income Americans (those with annual household incomes greater than $100,000) are more than three times more likely than lower income earners  ($50,000 to 99,999) to engage in Answer Me searches, but they also conduct Educate Me and Inspire Me searches:




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  • by Nick Stamoulis Fri Sep 30, 2011 via web

    It's so important to understand user intent because that directly affects how you develop your website and write your content. Websites have to know what kind of searcher they are trying to attract.

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