In preparing for a presentation I'm going to do in a month or so to a group of catalogue publishers, I decided to do some research to see how search worked to bring traffic to some well known online catalogues. What searches translated into traffic for Lands End, or L.L. Bean, or Victoria's Secret.
The more I dug, with the help of Hitwise, the more surprised I got. In each of these cases, variations of the site's name accounted one half of all search traffic. With Lands End, these variations totaled a little over 48% of all their search referrals. Just over 3% of all search referrals were for www.landsend.com, the exact URL users could have just typed in their address bar.
With L.L. Bean, the total was about 42% and Victoria's Secret was about 63.5%. So, about 1 out of every 2 searches that ended up delivering traffic to these sites appears to be someone who was unsure of the actual URL and thought it would be quicker just to search for it.