I came across this interesting article When Search Engines Become Answer Engines which highlights the move by users of “dipping a toe into websites rather than truly “visiting” them. Using search engines as their Web interface, people simply grab query-related nuggets from sites, but don’t engage with the sites themselves.

It later reports:

For search engines, becoming the user interface to the Web’s embarrassment of riches is good news. It’s also good news for users, who can find answers by visiting a few search hits rather than enduring the obscure design and poor navigation found on many sites.

It also states that using the count of unique users to a site is fairly pointless as most people will probably sampling a small part of the site to see if they get an answer, rather than engaging with the site. Loyal users are a much more useful metric.

I rather like this article, I think because it points to a rosy future for TRIP. We are increasingly engaged with trying to serve answers to users. This stems from having good content served well to users, introducing innovations such as conclusion previews (meaning users can get answers from our site) and the fact that we have a large, loyal following – over 70% of our users either bookmark us or directly type in our URL.

The article then links out to another report using eyetracking technology.