Posted by Erin Meyer & filed under National, Search Engine Marketing.

A recent study conducted by the consulting firm, User Centric, took a literal look at how Bing and Google users view search results. Using Tobii T60 eye tracker technology, the study measured what areas of the computer screen participants looked at, and how long they spent looking at those areas. The findings indicate that organic search results garner the most attention on the page, regardless of the search engine being used.

The study participants included twenty-four individuals, within the age range of 18 – 54, who were experienced Bing and Google users. The users were asked to conduct predetermined searches, with specific search terms provided. Both Bing and Google, the engines used in the study, feature a similar search results page layout, consisting of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) paid sponsor site listings on the right and in a shaded center area, just above the organic or unpaid search results. The left side includes filter and refinement search options.  The study findings indicated that of the participants:

  • 100% of them looked at the organic results, spending almost 15 seconds reviewing them.
  • 91% saw the PPC ads in the center top position, but spent less than 1 second viewing them.
  • 70-80% did not even see the PPC ads on the right side of the screen.

The tracking also showed that the left side of the screen, featuring the filtering and refining options, got relatively no attention from the participants. More about this study is available on the User Centric website.