Clickthrough Rates in the Age of Google Universal Search

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I’ve been thinking about Google Universal Search lately and have read a lot of posts and articles on the topic. Most of the coverage looks at the increased importance of getting into video and news search results. Of course, this makes perfect sense and should’ve been part of everyone’s marketing strategy even before the Universal Search rollout.

Here is the question, though: how will a video or a picture smacked right in the middle of the SERP affect clickthrough rates for both organic and sponsored results?

Here are the clickthrough rates for regular Google search engine results page, according to the 2006 eye-tracking study (PDF) done by Cornell University:

Google SEPR Click and Attention distribution ‘heat-map’ (via seoresearcher.com)

Now, having blended results added to the equation should change the math. I would imagine the clickthrough rates going down as the attention shifts from top-left corner to the clearly visible video, local and news results. I would love to see a heatmap of the Google Universal Search results page.

So will the new blended results become the holy grail of search engine marketing? What do you think?

About the Author

Andrey Milyan was the first editor-in-chief of Search Marketing Standard, the leading print publication covering the search marketing industry. He has been following and reporting on industry developments for over 10 years. Andrey now works in the paid search sector of a prominent search marketing agency.

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One Comment

  1. John Matenkosky

    I know this is Olde School to some, but hear me out. Imagine going to a library to do some research. You ask a librarian for help. Being very knowledgeable on your research topic, the librarian finds a stack of potentially valuable printed sources of information for you. But when you go to look at these sources, the librarian says "Not so fast, Buster! You can look at the first two, but, before you can see the next three, you have to look at these two videotapes and this CD. And, oh, by the way, you will have to go to the tv room to see a related news clip before you can see the rest." That, my friends, is Universal Search. Why can't Goog just provide everybody with a custom default search profile? Want video? Check the box. Want news? Check the box. You get the idea. C'mon, Goog! Having 100 people working on this for a long time doesn't make it any less of a dumb idea...