A few years back I came across an almost unbelievable statistic: between 20% and 25% of daily searches on Google have never been searched for before. Google has been around for almost 15 years at this point and gets a few billion searches per day so for more than 1 in 5 queries to be brand new — never searched before, ever — it’s really quite amazing.
I’ve been running Lean Domain Search for almost 11 months now and was curious to see how its numbers compared to Google’s.
I started by exporting a list of queries performed each day via MixPanel’s Ruby API. I then wrote a script to go day by day and check how many searches performed that day had never been performed before (either on that day or previous days). Casing and the presence of spaces were ignored so that “webdesign” and “Web Design” were treated the same.
Even though I knew Google’s 20%-25% number, I felt like things would be different. Google is a general purpose search engine; Lean Domain Search is a domain name generator. Surely the difference in purpose would be reflected in the numbers. Nope.
Here’s the daily average:
Here’s a weekly moving average:
On the day of the HackerNews launch (Jan 16, 2012) half of the queries had never been searched for before. Why half and not 100%? Because during day as more and more HackerNews visitors performed searches it became less and less likely that subsequent searches would be unique. By the end of the day 15,901 searches had been performed, but 7,954 were duplicates of other searches that had been performed that day.
Over the next month the number dropped from 49% new to 40% to 36% and then down to the mid-20s. What’s really amazing is that it’s hovered around that point ever since then despite the fact that more than 300,000 new searches have been performed since that time.
The overall daily average since launching is 24.75% meaning that 1 in every 4 searches has never been performed before. That was true in February, it’s true now, and if Google’s stats are any indication, it’s probably going to be true in a few years as well.