Search Top 5 Is The New Top 10

Microsoft’s new eyeball study shows what we have always known … that people click on the #1 search result most of the time, and all the other spots are just also-rans. 

 But the study reveals a lot more, especially for how search engines can improve the way they display results.  In Search Top 5 Is The New Top 10 Jason Miller summarizes the report, but here is an except from that article that is most useful for SEM-SEO marketing:

1. Users scan four results regardless of where the best listing is (Though we also know from previous studies that the top listings are inherently trusted more, and it appears searchers consider results in couplets – one and two together, eliminating one, usually the second, and then skipping to three and four, suggesting odd-number results are superior to even-numbered results).

2. Users scanned more results when the best listing was moved further down the page, regardless of snippet length, indicating users know at a glance if the result is the correct one.

3. Users look farther down the list for navigational queries than for informational queries.

4. Users expect to find their desired information in the top five results (Other reports have supported that results appearing above the fold, or where scrolling is required, are clicked on with more frequency. In relation to that, Microsoft’s study showed click accuracy rates diminished for rankings 4, 5, 7, and 8. Note: Result six is not included as below the fold, six becomes rank one.)

5. Users examine, on average, eight results before changing their queries, meaning if results 9 and 10 are pretty much SOL.