Google Search Engine Study: How Do People Read Search Engine Results?

A new search engine study from Enquiro and EyeTools, the Search Eye Tracking Study, reveals how users respond to Google search engine results.  The study reveals some interesting things, some are a surprise, some are not.  Study results were based on studies using eye-tracking technology to see where people's eyes go on the search engine results page.

Top sponsored results are highly visible and get pretty good click throughs, but not as good as the #1 "organic" result (non-sponsored).  In Google search results, the number one organic result is typically best, partly because people are not looking for sponsored results and partly because of something the study dubbed the "Google Effect."  The "Google Effect " defines an effect they noticed where people have apparently come to expect that the #1 organic result from Google will usually be the best match for what they are looking for.

The study found that most viewers first scan down the left side of the page looking for visual cues that indicate something that matches what they were looking for.  Then they scan to the right if something catches their attention.  People are also looking for something that matches their idea of what they are looking for, not just for keywords.  They pick up clues from the search engine results and pick the one that they think best matches what they are looking for regardless of where it is on the page.

The study also examined many other factors, from factors on the Google search engine results page to demographic and gender differences for the searcher.

Read more about how the Google search engine results study at Search Engine Watch...