Google has become the 8000 pound search Gorilla. During their meteoric growth there has been a trend that people’s expectations have gotten higher and their attention span shorter. There was a time when people would click though a page, two or even three of search results, but that is not so common any more. Today, if you don’t rank in the top 3, searchers will barely notice your listing.
Our good friends at Think Eyetracking recently completed an eyetracking study and compared it with an eyetracking study they did in 2005 for people looking at a Google search results page.
In this is a case a picture is worth a thousand words:
As seen in the heatmap above, fixations are studded around the top 5 results and the majority of clicks are upon the top 3 results (discounting the sponsored link). The sponsored link was actually not well attended to due to the fact that searchers are now familiar with advertiser placement within Google. The 2008 heatmap supports the recent trend observed by Cornell University (Their study found that the top 3 Google results get 79% of all clicks) and by AOL (Findings were that 63% of clicks were concentrated upon the top three search results).
What do you do when you don’t find your results right away? The same as 86% of the respondents who replied that they would modify the search terms or refine the search by category.
What do you think will change over the next 3 years in searcher behavior?
One thing is for certain you better still rank at the top and then be sure you can covert them to sales, leads, etc.