Here’s an excerpt from Google engineers research paper “How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?”
Search engines make it easy to check facts online, but finding some specific kinds of information sometimes proves to be difficult. We studied the behavioral signals that suggest that a user is having trouble in a search task. First, we ran a lab study with 23 users to gain a preliminary understanding on how users’ behavior changes when they struggle finding the information they’re looking for. The observations were then tested with 179 participants who all completed an average of 22.3 tasks from a pool of 100 tasks. The large-scale study provided quantitative support for our qualitative observations from the lab study. When having difficulty in finding information, users start to formulate more diverse queries, they use advanced operators more, and they spend a longer time on the search result page as compared to the successful tasks. The results complement the existing body of research focusing on successful search strategies.
How does Search Behavior Change as Search Becomes More Difficult?