A recent post over at the iCrossing blog (disclaimer: I work there) notes that around 3% of all Bing referrals come from the ‘related searches’ option. I’d consider that to be a pretty decent initial usage rate, especially for a brand new interface. But I can’t tell if this should be considered a success or a failure on behalf of Bing.
On one had I can see how it’s successful because a lot of people are utilizing it, meaning it’s aiding users in finding the answer to their query. But on the other hand it signifies that Bing is not getting it right initially, and users are having to refine their queires in order to find what they’re looking for.
I wonder if Google was more aggressive with their related searches how much more they’d be used. Or perhaps Google does a much better job of detecting initial query intent and delivers more relevant results so people don’t need related searches? Google has loads of usage data (significantly more than either Yahoo or MSN) telling them what type of listings people clicked on based on the query entered. They’ve probably used this to refine their results, which is one of the reasons you probably don’t see as many related results. I wonder what the percentage of total Google referrals from the small sample set iCrossing used come from related searches.
Might be a good topic for a later post.