Search engines have been a staple in surfing the Internet ever since Google surprised the world in the late 90’s when it first launched its sparse home page that contained a simple search bar in the center of the page in a sea of white space. Where’s the navigation? Where’s the information-filled home page? These were questions people asked as they scratched their heads in utter disbelief. Well, these people are still scratching their heads. Although prior to Google’s search engine launch, searching was already part of the menu in Internet life, Google made it the main course. Google, from day one, changed the landscape of how we find things in the digitally connected network of motherboards called the Internet.
Besides regularly pulling up web pages from browser bookmarks and receiving RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from favorite news source, searching the web has been the most efficient way of scheming through the vast and possibly infinite amount of information available. (Almost) gone are the days when people ask me, “What’s Fordham Law’s web site? Or, “What’s your law school’s URL (Uniform Resource Locator)?” These days, I just say, Google “Fordham Law,” and it’s universally understood. (The Oxford English Dictionary officially added “google” on June 15, 2006.) Even if one misspells “Fordham” or enters “fordham” in lower-case, search engines will still find http://law.fordham.edu.
In the first quarter of 2011, close to two-thirds of Law School visitors originated from a search engine (64.03%.) As opposed to direct traffic (26.63 %) and referring sites (9.34%,) the Law School’s web site comes up in search algorithms whenever “fordham law” is entered in a search bar. Direct traffic refers to a visit that resulted from typing a Law School’s URL in a browser line, e.g., http://law.fordham.edu/admissions.
Among these searches, 60.80% were Google results. Bing, Microsoft’s party latecomer, came in at a dismal 1.82%. The most popular search phrases were, “fordham law,” “fordham law school,” “fordham law email,” ”fordham law registrar,” and “fordham law status checker.” As expected, all top search phrases had “fordham law.”