Navigational searches on the rise – Could the cult of the URL be over?

May 22, 2008

Navigational searches on the rise - Could the cult of the URL be over?Website URLs have been given almost cult status over recent years with site owners spending a long time trying to come up with a perfect name for their site. A successful URL needs to be short, snappy and above all easily memorable. However, that cult status and need for the perfect name may now be ending as navigational searches are on the rise.

Navigational searches are when a Web user searches for a URL using a search engine such as Google or Yahoo! complete with the .com or where the adding of a .com would take the user direct to the site. This is instead of just typing the address in to the address bar of their Web browser.

Although this may seem strange to some, and it is indeed a bit lazy, it’s a growing trend with 7 of the fastest searching terms on Google last year being navigational searches.

I must admit I’ve done it myself on quite a few occasions. When I know a site’s name such as Amazon or MySpace but don’t necessarily have the site saved in my bookmarks or favourites, then I just click my Home button (set to Google) and type it there instead. Don’t ask me why, I just do.

So what does this mean for advertisers and brand marketing? The last few years have seen companies finally realising the power of the Web for promoting their brands and products, and many adverts on the television and radio finish with the Internet destination spelt out. But that may now have to change.

As an article on Read Write Web discusses, Kelloggs may be ahead of the game, as their latest marketing campaign for Special K finished by advising people to search Yahoo! for ‘Special K’ rather than the normal “Visit”.

Search has always been an important element of the Web and it could be argued was the first Web 2.0 application, making the Internet a much more organised and navigable place to visit. Now, with the mobile Web on the increase, and that meaning cumbersome URLs are no longer fashionable, Web search engines are set to become even more important.

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