The longest search queries are happening on Ask.com, where users average almost five words per search. That’s according to research from Chitika.
The ad network analyzed search referrals on “hundreds of millions” of impressions across sites in its network between January 9th and 12th. And the longest search referrals — at an average of 4.81 words — came from Ask.com. AOL users are at the other end of the spectrum; their user queries average barely above four words, by far the shortest of the five sites that Chitika studied.
It makes sense that this would be the case, since Ask.com has been refocusing on questions and answers in recent years — and asking questions tends to involve more words than other types of queries.
It would be great to get real search query length data directly from the search engines, but they’ve never made a habit of sharing that kind of information. In May 2010, Google did release data showing that 54.5 percent of queries are more than three words — which falls in line with the Google (and Bing) data that Chitika shows above. But that’s the last time I’m aware of that either Google or Bing shared such information.