A new report suggests internet searchers are getting more impatient and now 68% of users make their choice from the top 10 search engine results!
The report was conducted over December 2007 & January 2008 & tried to develop an understanding of how search engine users behaved in their searches on the three largest search engines: Google, Yahoo! and MSN.
The study revealed that 68% of search engine users click a search result within the first page of results and 92% click a result within the first three pages of search results! The importance of appearing high in the search results has always been emphasised by SEO companies & it seems this importance is steadily growing! There is a clear pattern developing between the data from 2002 to 2008 which indicates that more search engine users click the first page in 2008 (68%) as compared to 2002 (48%). Inversely, fewer search engine users are willing to click results past the third page in 2008 (8%) as compared 2002 (19%). In both these cases, there is a year on year rise & fall respectively.
So more than ever, it is vital for search marketers to ensure that their sites appear within the first three pages of search results and especially on page one.
In a second related finding, the study revealed that 49% of search engine users who continue their search process when not initially finding what they seek, change their search term and/or search engine after reviewing just the first page of search results, rather than search further down the SERPS & 91% do so if they do not find what they seek in the first three pages. Again from 2002 to 2008, it seems that more users are abandoning their query after reviewing the first page in 2008 (49%) as compared 2002 (28%) & fewer users are willing to continue their review of results past the third page in 2008 (9%) as compared to 2002 (22%).
Again, the need to obtain top placements on search results pages has progressively increased in importance for search engine marketers.
Finally, the study reveals that brand equity is conveyed upon companies whose websites appear among the top search results by roughly a third of the search engine users. In 2008, 39% of search engine users believe that the companies whose websites are returned among the top search results are the leaders in their field. This figure has grown from 33% in 2002. Another 42% feel neutral on this question, with only 19% believing that top search engine rankings do not automatically denote an industry leader.
Initiatives that produce top search engine rankings can clearly help companies achieve their branding goals.
The study, tabled by Yahoo!, iProspect and Juniper Research, paints a dark picture for website owners who are sitting below the top 10 results! Theoretically, they are only exposing their sites to 32% of searchers by sitting off the first page.
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