All About Content

Search Fatigue, Seriously?

Posted by Melanie Phung on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 10:05 pm

Oh woe is the plight of the searcher. I didn’t know how bad it was until I read about this article: Search Fatigue: Finding a Cure for the Database Blues.

Apparently search engine users are suffering from a malady called search fatigue.

Search fatigue, according to the author Jeffrey Beall, is “a feeling of dissatisfaction when search results do not return the desired information”. Yikes!

I expect it to be listed in the next version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (although the DSM-IV isn’t going to see a revision until 2011, according to Wikipedia).

But what about search marketing fatigue, a feeling of dissatisfaction when search engine optimization efforts do not return top-3 results for targeted keywords? As soon as that’s covered under worker’s comp, I’m putting in for permanent disability.

Comments (5)

Category: Industry Buzz,User Behavior


Comment by Jeffrey Beall

Made Thursday, 12 of April , 2007 at 9:02 pm

I can send you a copy of my article if you are interested.

I’m very sorry but I don’t understand the point you are trying to make about search fatigue in this posting.


Jeffrey Beall

Comment by MarcoBianchi

Made Saturday, 14 of April , 2007 at 10:30 pm

Interesting!! Could I have it as well? I live in Italy and could translate it and post it if you want…

Comment by Melanie Phung

Made Monday, 16 of April , 2007 at 1:14 pm

Yes, actually, I would be interested. All I’ve read of it is what other people have been reporting, and their particular biases — so I’d like to see the original material. (And what traditional media companies should understand about my generation: if it’s not accessible via a search engine, or at the very least online somewhere, it might as well not exist.)

I don’t really have a point per se about search fatigue; just more of a rant. This society tends to create labels for anything that deviates from our expectations of perfection. Have a child who misbehaves? They have ADD. Feel sluggish during the winter? You have seasonal affective disorder. Frustrated with your search results? You have search fatigue.

I’m not saying these symptoms don’t exist. But do they really need their own name? Isn’t it enough just to say “I feel shitty during the winter” or “I’m frustrated that I can’t find what I’m looking for”?

How far are we going to go in creating a culture where everyone feels afflicted by something? (I say just until we get popular acceptance of search marketing fatigue, no further.)

Comment by Melanie Phung

Made Monday, 16 of April , 2007 at 1:17 pm

p.s. if you don’t want to publish it in the comments, you can send the paper to g7fzd5e02 [at]sneakemail [dot] com.

Please let me know if it would be ok to excerpt some portions.

Comment by BillW

Made Monday, 14 of January , 2008 at 2:42 pm

I agree that as a society we often get carried away with labels and I’m not sure how I would react if I heard someone complaining about “suffering” from Search Engine Fatigue.

But in a digital world, common terms (labels), allow people worldwide to discuss common issues. Labeling the term “Search Engine Fatigue” will allow us to find solutions to a problem that I think the majority of people recognize as an issue. A solution may come in the form of education or training, it may result in better technologies and new ideas. Whatever the solution may be, it allows people to discuss, debate and hopefully collaborate in creating a better web experience.

As the founder of 3LUXE we recognized that the web makes it very easy for people to get overwhelmed when researching new purchases, as a result we launched in June. At 3LUXE we only feature reviews on the top three products in the categories researched. We select the top three after exhaustively researching a category, doing the research you would do if you had more time.

I believe 3LUXE is one solution to “Search Engine Fatigue,” even though the label didn’t exist when we launched.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.