Brad Geddes / PPC Geek
Official Google Ads Seminar Leader.
Author of Advanced Google AdWords.
Co-Founder, Adalysis.
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Brad Geddes's Theories on Marketing Are Search Queries Becoming Even More Unique? Statistics from Google

Are Search Queries Becoming Even More Unique? Statistics from Google

One of my favorite numbers that Google published in November, 2008 is:

“20% of the queries Google receives each day are ones we haven’t seen in at least 90 days, if at all?” – source.

That number has stood alone for for quite some time being one of the defining numbers of just how unique keyword queries can be.

I just got permission to publish a new number that Google included in a presentation they sent me:

20% of searches each day are new or haven’t been completed in the last 6 months

Now, it is possible that these queries were that unique all along; but think about that number. 1 in 5 searches conducted on Google either haven’t been done before, or at least haven’t been conducted in the last six months. That’s strengthens the usefulness of the new match type: modified broad match.

In the same presentation there is another stunning stat:

70% of queries have no exact-matched keywords

PPC marketers often talk about the usefulness of exact versus broad match, and I believe many of them. It’s not the lack of marketers using exact match as much as the large variety of search queries that occur. This stat does look at all queries and doesn’t just examine commercial queries. However, regardless of your interpretation – it’s a big number.

According to Hitwise (March 2010 stats) approximately 65% of queries are one to three words; which means roughly 35% of queries are longer than three words. According to the last stat from this Google slide:

54.5% of user queries are greater than 3 words

There is a large discrepancy between Hitwise’s 35% and Google’s 54.5% number. These numbers are based upon Google US Internal data – so I’d expect them to be accurate for However, it is possible that Yahoo and Bing see shorter queries making Hitwise’s numbers accurate across all search properties.

If you want to see the slide, here’s an image:



  1. Matt McGee
    May 25, 2010 at 1:11 am · Reply

    Hey Brad – love the last Google stats about query length, thanks for sharing this. One thing on the Hitwise difference: the Hitwise numbers measure queries that produce a click, not raw searches (which is presumably what Google is sharing). That may explain the difference.

  2. Brad Geddes aka eWhisper
    May 25, 2010 at 10:23 am · Reply


    That’s very possible. I was trying to think of what could cause that much of a discrepancy in the data and think you might have it.

    However, in some cases that makes the Google number even more impressive. I’d guess 1/2 my searches (and I’m not the average searcher…) are just trying to find the correct spelling of something. In fact, I’d venture to say all of my one keyword queries are actually just to find proper spelling and then I just copy/paste back into the actual program.

  3. Antony
    May 26, 2010 at 3:12 am · Reply

    Fascinating set of stats – first time I’d come across them! Especially the fact that most keyword sets we’d investigate might be 2 or 3 words, but perhaps we really SHOULD be focusing on the long tail ……….

  4. Shawn Livengood
    May 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm · Reply

    Wow, this is a compelling reason to keep updating your PPC keywords on a regular basis. Keywords that may turn a profit for you in six months might not even exist yet.

  5. Mike
    June 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm · Reply

    I guess out of my own experience when I search I use longer phrases to get better results. With the users getting better in using the tools or advanced searches of search engines, I guess there is a whole new market out there yet untapped.

    Good article and very interesting stats.


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