My recent online car shopping experience is an example of an experienced web user using direct search.
Do experienced web surfers use direct search, or is it limited to the inexperienced? I’d argue that both use it.
I consider myself an experienced web user. I use direct navigation — typing a domain into the browser — all the time. But this is navigation, not search. It’s domain names like Amazon.com, StlCardinals.com, and DNW.com.
As for direct search — typing a generic domain name into the browser to find related content — I don’t use it as much. But when shopping for a car recently, I found myself using it.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with Matt Bentley when he was Chief Strategy Officer of Sedo. He said that people use direct search when they’re new to the internet and when they’re researching new categories. For me, searching for a car was a new category that I haven’t paid much attention to since buying my last car.
I haven’t gone crazy with direct search while looking for a car. In fact, I think I’ve only typed in one domain without knowing what would be on the other side: cars.com. I haven’t typed in any long tail direct search terms, although I’ve gone to plenty of car sites with lower quality domains that advertise themselves extensively.
It just goes to show the power of category killer generic domain names. Pros and newbies; they attract them all.