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Ireland Search survey shows first 3 Google results crucial. Google Ads not looked at.

Download the Mulley Communications Google Search Report (PDF)

We had an eye tracking survey carried out by the National College of Ireland on the way people in Ireland look at Google search results and how they use Google to navigate the web.

After extensive testing the results were that people do not pay much attention to more than three results on a Google search result page and the ads on the right hand side of the results page are barely looked at. THe takeaway from Mulley Communications is that you have to work even harder again nowadays to get the attention of people that do searches and if you thought ads alone will get you traffic, think again. I encourage you to download the report as it goes through some fantastic detail on how this was carried out and the data that was gathered. A blog post alone doesn’t dare to cover it.

Full conclusions from the report:
1. The first thing that 70% of users looked at in the results page was
the first result presented.
2. However, users paid more attention relatively, to the highest
ranking result rather than sponsored links at the top of the page.
3. Most users ignored the sponsored link on right-hand side of the results page.
4. The participants’ main attention was focused on the top three results only.
5. The further down the result was presented on the page, the less
likely the user was to look at it.
6. If users did look beyond the first three results, then it is likely
they would explore the bottom of the page also.
7. If the “solution” was not included in the top two results, users
were more likely to fail finding it.
8. Neither age nor prior interest had significant influence on search behaviour.
9. Generally, gender did not have a big impact on search behaviour,
though females viewed results in more linear manner than males.
10.When asked to go to Bebo or YouTube, many users preferred using the
Google Search engine to navigate to these websites rather than typing
in the URL in the address bar.

The full report goes into more detail. (PDF)

This is a video of heatmaps being generated based on the eye movements of people:

And another:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5
Video 6

Big thank you to Abi Reynolds, Dr. Stephan Weibelzahl from NELL (National College Ireland) and Emma Kytzia also from National College of Ireland.

About the National e-Learning Laboratory (NELL)
As part of National College of Ireland, the National e-Learning Laboratory (NELL) is a research facility specialising in usability testing for human computer interactions. Investigators engage in applied research directed at user-oriented testing and to support good design for e-learning, e-commerce and Internet based applications. Since its establishment in 2008, the facility has been responding to the need for objective empirical testing in this area.

This study/report was funded by the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme to the tune of 5000 euros with the rest (~1000) covered by Mulley Communications.