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how many serp pages do people look at?
if your result is past page 2 (#20) does anyone see it?

 4:39 pm on Nov 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

We talk so much here about our search engine results and where our various pages show up. But, assuming most people search using the default of 10 results per page, has anyone researched how many people go past page one? or two? or three? I would think only a few people who are very desperate to find the information they need would ever go past 30 results. But I may be way off with that assumption.

At what point does a webmaster need to go to other means like AdWords to help people their site or individual pages?



 2:05 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's like asking, "How high is the sky?"


 2:15 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

i think if there was any research into this it would be so generalised that it would be worthless anyway. it surely depends on so many factors like:

1) how relevant/spammy the current results are
2) how competitive the market is
3) how desperate the searcher is to research their findings

i bet a few people could add a lot more to this list.

In a more competitive market with relevant results the user may be more likely to drill through the results a bit more, but that is speculation from me.

just my 2 cents.



 2:29 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's a good question.

Lots of commercial categories have more than 10 or 20 companies vying for top spot, so lots of good, well-optimised sites don't get a page 1 or even 2 listing.


 2:37 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure I've seen a study addressing this issue, but as was already mentioned it really depends upon the market you are in.

My one low traffic shopping site (lots of competition) gets a few visits every day from page 3+ surfers. If you don't have page one results you really must have very a enticing text description on your listing.



 3:14 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

i rarley go past page 1. Would never go to page 3


 4:35 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

According to a recent study from iProspect, three-quarters of Internet users use search engines. However, 16 percent of Internet users only look at the first few search results, while 32 percent will read through to the bottom of the first page.

Only 23 percent of searchers go beyond the second page, and the numbers drop for every page thereafter.

Only 10.3 percent of Internet users will look through the first three pages of results, while just 8.7 percent will look through more than three pages.

The study also indicates that 52.1 percent of Internet users choose the same search engine or directory when searching for information, while 35 percent alternate among a number of favorite search properties.

Just 13 percent of users said that they use different search engines for different types of searches.

Overall, Internet users were happy with the results garnered from engines, with three quarters of respondents claiming their searches were successful most of the time.

However, the research also found that Internet users normally switch to an alternative search engine if they are unable to find the information they’re looking for.

Only 7.5 percent of Internet users said they refined their search with additional keywords in cases where they were unable to achieve satisfactory results.

I can sticky the URL for the article if you like.


 4:54 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's funny that you should use the word "researched" in your question. When I am just searching for something, I won't dig through many pages of results, but when I am doing research on something, it is not uncommon for me to go several hundred results deep.


 5:01 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)


I agree. I am currently getting another degree and have been doing lots of research lately on papers that need to be written. I have actually found myself going over the 50 page mark trying to find the stuff I am looking for. Not sure if you could attribute this to the quality of the SERPs or not. It seems sad that it takes that much digging to get bonafide, reputable results from any of the engines. There's a lot of stuff out there and sometimes you need to really search to weed out the garbage.


 6:20 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)


When you are doing the deep research, try setting your preferences to 100 results per page. I find it really speeds things up for me.

Sometimes I can blame the quality of the SERPs for having to go that deep, but more often it is that the SERPs are relevant to the search terms, but not necessarily to the specific answer I am looking for.

For example, I was searching for information on the the health aspects of a certain material. Almost everyone mentioned a 3% limit for a certain ingredient, but there was no mention of whether that limit was for problems caused from ingestion or from inhalation. I could not even find it on the website of the supposed source of the information. Someone very deep in the SERPs finally linked to the actual report.

With your academic work there is the additional requirement of finding citable sources. It's on thing to be able to personally decide that you trust the information, it is another to be able to quote it in your papers.


 6:47 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

If I can remember correctly, the study "An Analysis of Web Documents Retrieved and Viewed" by Dr. Bernard Jansen and Amanda Spink had a discussion (and tables) of what percentage a web page will be viewed if it is #1, #2, #3, and so on. You may want to search for that paper.


 7:04 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

At what point does a webmaster need to go to other means like AdWords to help people their site or individual pages?

If they do not have the traffic they need or they are not on page 1 hot spots.
Everything happens above the fold on page one.
Combine webdudes info with recent eyescan and page hot spots study.
It showed that if one would draw a line from the half way point of the right side of the page, to the bottom left hand corner, everything above that is where 80 to 90% of searchers look, on page 1.
Top left (first) and top to middle right (second) being the most viewed.
Ever wondered why the sponsored listings on the serps fill those spots?


 11:01 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

i rarley go past page 1. Would never go to page 3

do you find the info you want on page 1?
or do you rather change your query to more specific one?


 11:20 pm on Nov 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

Depends on the search term, depends on the quality of the serps.. I have gotten deep hits on all of my sites at some point or another.

Some get them more frequently than others.

I tend to search with very explicit search terms as I have been using search engines for 10 plus years and just naturally evolved into using them an a way that actually gives you an accurate result.

Short and generic search terms are unlikely to provide people what they really want unless they weed through things.

Sometimes even with specific searches they may include other topics or items I am not interested in and I will have to weed through several pages to find my results. You obviously see exponentially greater traffic from front page rankings, but a small percentage of people go deep, and even some of them go relatively deep from time to time.


 3:15 am on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

Most of my arrivals come in on kw combinations that are listed on the first page of G, MSN, or Y. However, I find that visitors who come in on searches that are buried on the third or fourth page give me a heads-up on kw combinations that have potential - that is, they wouldn't have come in on searches buried so deeply unless the ones listed above were relative crap. I've used those searches to tweak pages, with good results.


 4:40 am on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

My understanding is that most people don't even use the scroll bar. In other words, if you are on the first page of SERPs, but users have to scroll to see your listing, you are 2nd tier for sure.


 4:54 am on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think I read somewhere recently that over 75% of users click on the #1 result over 90% of the time. They skip the first result if it's obviously not what they're after, but they just usually go with it. Not sure I read that, though, so take it with a grain of salt. :)



 3:30 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)


Yeah, I already have my default set to 100 returns. The fact is that most of the papers I write need to have credible, verifiable resources. This means that references need to come from journals, universities, government, etc. There is a lot of crap out there and it will pop up on you. One thing I have found that helps greatly is to limit the search to .edu or .gov, at least for the university and government pages. I was talking about searches in general.

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