baloney farmer writes "How much do search engines influence the availability of information online? A new study gives some surprising results. Search engines help with popularity, but not as much as you'd think: 'Traffic increased far less than would be expected if search engines were enhancing popularity. It actually increased less than would be predicted if traffic were directly proportional to inbound links. In the end, it appears that each inbound link only increases traffic by a factor of 0.8. The results suggest that the reliance of web users on search engines is actually suppressing the impact of popularity.'"