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Study: Three-Word Queries Drive Most SEO Traffic

Ad network Chitika has published interesting findings from an examination of a whole lot of search-driven ad impressions. Specifically, “Chitika looked at a sample of 41,103,403 impressions of search traffic coming into their network between June 13 – June 19.”

The company found that 26 percent of (organic) search-driven traffic was the result of “three-word searches.”  Here’s the full breakdown of organic search volume by query length:

  1. Three words: 26 percent
  2. Two words: 19 percent
  3. Four words: 17 percent
  4. One word 14 percent

Chitika added that “any query beyond five words will see dramatically lower traffic.”

Traffic by Word Count

Yet the effect is different for paid clicks. Chitika said, “The highest ad click rates were for queries of 5, 6 and 4 words.” This validates the conventional wisdom about longer-tail queries being more qualified. However clicks appear to drop off after about five words.

CTR by Word Count

The study doesn’t parse queries into commercial and non-commercial categories unfortunately.

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