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New Study Reveals Drastic Changes in How Consumers View SERPs

Posted on 10.05.2014

With more than 45 thousand searches happening every second on Google, companies must understand how users are viewing search engine results pages (SERPs) if they hope to take full advantage of the all-important channel.

In a recent study by Mediative, the digital marketing company has outlined the differences in how users consumed information on SERPs in 2014 compared to how they consumed information on SERPs in 2005.

The study was conducted with the help of 53 participants that were asked to complete 43 common search tasks, such as what the weather is like in New Orleans, and the use of eye-tracking software to see how they look at the SERPs.

While there were many differences in how users are viewing SERPs now compared to 2005, one of the most fascinating differences is the amount of time users are spending reading each listing. In 2005 users were spending, on average, just less than 2 seconds reading each listing. Now, users are barely spending more than 1 second, just 1.17, reading each listing. No matter how fast users can read, 1.17 second is a tiny amount of time which makes it vital that companies carefully plan what they use for the short summary in each listing.

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Another interesting finding from the study was Google’s Carousel, the strip of images at the top of SERPs, had a much smaller impact on the links below it than did Google’s Knowledge Graph. In fact, the study found that in most cases participants spent a majority of their time focusing on the listings below the Carousel than the images within the feature.

The study also aimed to answer questions such as how important is the location of listings to win clicks and views as well as how click activity for each listing position changed with Google’s new SERP elements.

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