A report from ebrary found that 85 percent of college students first turn to search engines to conduct research.

Businesses looking to target college students and other young adults should focus on search engine marketing, according to a report from ebrary. The study found that 85 percent of research among this demographic starts on Google or another search engine. The report, relayed by eMarketer, focused mostly on academic research, but it’s likely that these search habits have pervaded other areas of these consumers’ live as well.

As more young adults research products and services on the web, their reliance on valuable web content will grow substantially. Print books as a research tool are used by 79 percent of the respondents, and reliance on print textbooks sat at just 73 percent. Search engines’ research influence jumped to 85 percent from 81 percent in 2008, suggesting SEO is increasingly important to reaching students.

Ranking well on search engines requires an SEO strategy that focuses on delivering quality content to the user. However, the more frequently consumers see strong results, the more likely they are to use it for different areas of their life.

Brafton recently reported that the search engine’s role in research for shopping, school or work and other areas continues to rise – and likely won’t descend any time soon. Fifty-five percent of Americans said they use search engines at least twice every day, with an additional 30 percent saying they use them at least once daily.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.