I just read this article on UIE Brain Sparks that states:
[I]t's pretty clear that users choose to use on-site Search when the page they're on fails them. They scan the page for trigger words. Only when they can't find them, do they turn to Search. It's their trigger words they type into the search box. (In essence, they are creating their own links to the content, primarily due to absence of the necessary links on the page.) … Usage of Search is a predictor that the scent on your pages isn't working. Fix the scent and the demand for Search goes way down.
and I can’t help but say – WHAT?
If you didn’t figure it out – I disagree with this idea. Although I do understand the point they’re trying to make – design navigation that is logical and full of “trigger words” so that you’re users can find what they need without having to depend on a search engine – I don’t agree that my users are using the search engine on my site because I have failed to give them an effective navigation system. When I know what I’m looking for I go straight to the search box on a page – when the site doesn’t have one I got to Google or Yahoo! and point their engines at the site.
Some people are searchers and some are browsers – I’m a searcher – and so are probably 1/2 of my users – so why not cater to any possible audience?
Just my 2 cents on the matter.