How do people perspective hunt engine formula pages?

The F-shaped settlement has been a ordinarily accepted approach in that web users crop sites and hunt results. 

Has user poise altered given then, or have maybe a changes that Google and others have done to a display of hunt formula done a difference?

An eyetracking investigate carried out by ConversionXL looks into this question, comparing a formula with prior studies.

Here are a few pivotal commentary from a article…

The F-pattern no longer binds up

The F-pattern was something discovered during contrariety by Jakob Nielsen. The anticipating being that users review or indicate pages in dual plane movements followed by a straight movement. Thus a F-shape.

For hunt results, as in a instance shown on a right next (this is from 2006) we can see that a initial dual or 3 formula attract many attention, while formula next 4 or 5 downwards attract reduction interest.


Now a SERPs are different. We have some-more images to locate a eye in some results, as good as facilities like abounding snippets, that mount in contrariety to a some-more text-heavy Google formula of a past.

Perhaps as a outcome of this ConversionXL were incompetent to replicate a F-shape in their tests. In a instance below, a initial outcome gets a limit attention, with really small next a third result.


Google was right to mislay right palm side ads

Google’s removal of right palm side ads progressing this year is corroborated adult by a study.

In a nutshell, ads on a right didn’t get many attention, yet ads during a tip of hunt formula did, during slightest until users realised they were ads (explains a green text I’d say).

ads eye

Contrasts between Bing and Google

The investigate found a few differences in user poise on a dual hunt engines:

  • Users took longer before exploring next a overlay on Bing. Google users began to perspective next a overlay after around 7.1 seconds. On Bing this figure was 10.5 seconds.
  •  Bing users spend some-more time observation formula above a fold. On Bing, users spent around 9.8 seconds compared to 7.8 on Google.
  • Bing users took longer to perspective a initial organic result. On Google, users noticed it after 3.3 seconds. On Bing this was 8.8 seconds.

In summary

I’d suggest reading a full essay for some-more fact around a tests, yet there are some engaging findings.

It seems that a f-shaped settlement might be no more, yet I’d like to see other eye tracking studies before sketch that end with certainty. There are so many variables – series of ads in results, images, featured snippets etc – that can outcome a reading pattern.

There might good be a series of opposite patterns according to outcome forms and, of course, user poise might change according to a vigilant behind a search.

One thing seems to be transparent yet – a tip dual or 3 formula still authority many attention. (This is from an Advanced Web Ranking CTR investigate in 2014)


Graham Charlton is Editor in Chief during ClickZ Global.

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