I have a question

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Can anyone posting to this group direct me to statistics by a reputable
organization with no axe to grind; (ie., not selling something) with regards
to search engine users' picking from the top 10 (or 20 or 30 or 40)

There are a million sites out there making the claim that "consumers will
only pick from the first or possibly the second page of results".  No one
seems to cite any hard data, or quote anyone's actual research into this.

The closest I have come to this so far is an article I found posted on
searchenginewatch.com, but it was written in early 2001.  I am looking for
something more recent.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me on this.  I will watch for a
reply here, or you can email me at rjames192@cox.net


Re: I have a question

Freakazoid wrote:

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I just searched "Google," like this:
keywords:  statistics "page one" "page two" search results
...and came up with this:

Really think about this, though. If you REALLY want to know, go to a computer
lab, or a place where there alot of people AND computers, and ask them to
search using your search term. Then, WATCH what THEY look at, watch when (or
IF) they scroll down. You will assuredly be as surprised.

Re: I have a question

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I found that moving up from the second page to the first page did not make
more than perhaps 30% improvement in traffic.  I was rather disappointed.
It also seems that position on the first page (#1 to #10) is far less
important than I expected - maybe 10% differential for 1 to 10.

I think searchers read the titles displayed and go for only the most
promising - so make sure your title tells the searcher that your page will
answer their need.   If you tell the searcher that the page will load really
fast that might help also!.
e.g:  Title="This helpful friendly page tells you all about XYZ and loads in
4 seconds."

I would guess the distribution curve (for my traffic, normalised #1 posn=100
visitors) is like so:
#1      100
#5        95
#10      90
#15      70
#20      60

Best regards, Eric.

Re: I have a question

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I don't know of anything more recent, I'm afraid, but would be
interested to hear what you find.

Possibly one reason there is relatively little published on this subject
is that search behaviour varies according to the topic searched, the
motivation of the searcher, and the quality of the results returned.

Any user studies of wide internet search engines on a general audience
are likely to be relevant only to the subjects researched, rather than
of general applicability.

So, for example, if a searcher is looking for a specific product, such
as 'rapid boil kettles' and gets a page of relevant results, the
clickthrough behaviour might be different to something broader, like
'pensions in divorce'.  

I'd also expect to see search behaviour vary between, say, someone
researching a medical issue in depth, and someone who wants to check
opening times at the local library.

You might also be interested in looking into broader studies of how
people navigate the web, and the differences between link-focussed and
search-focussed users, for example.


Clare Associates Ltd
http://www.clareassoc.co.uk /
01822 835802

Re: I have a question

Hi All

I have no scientific evidence, but for my sins I did start off in this
business running an Internet cafe (before the multinationals moved
in).  Our clientele consisted of mainly two types - school
kids/students and travellers/tourists.  Browsing habits did vary
considerably although I would conclude that on the whole most
customers did not dig to deeply for what they were after.

Very few people new how to conduct and advanced search and most, if
the information didn't jump out at them just gave up!

The exceptions were the enthusiast who needed the information and
would go to any length to find it.  These were often the likes of Star
Trekkies who would search for hours for obscure information, or
individuals after info on their favourite band, movie star etc

On the whole the average man in the street didn't appear to have the
patience to go much beyond the first or second page and normally
blamed the Internet for their inability to find relevant information.

I appreciate that things have moved on since those days but i guess a
lot of people would still not look to deeply.

Martyn Fewtrell

Re: I have a question

mfewtrell@networkclub.co.uk (Martyn Fewtrell) wrote in

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I would agree with you, though I think your observations may be affected by
the fact that the users you observed were on a timed system.

I used to run internet courses for small business owners, including one on
searching.  They ran in a room on a university network.

I observed that search patterns change when you stick the searcher in the
middle of a very high-bandwidth network, for which they are not paying per
minute.  Some of them would even skip the coffee breaks!  

Mind you, the coffee was pretty dire.


Clare Associates Ltd
http://www.clareassoc.co.uk /
01822 835802

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