Sometimes the No. 2 spot on Google can beat the top spot

By Kat Fay, Senior Data Analyst
Reposted from Internet Retailer

Videos, reviews or an author’s picture can drive clicks on search results, according to a study by Blue Nile Research.

Many retailers believe that showing up first in organic search results on Google and Bing is a guarantee of success. But lower positions often generate more clicks than the top spot, especially when the links include videos, pictures and reviews, according to a study from Blue Nile Research. The study identifies the three most common forms of visual content that lead consumers to click:

  • Star reviews of products, such as giving an item one to five stars
  • An image of the article’s author
  • A local map showing stores or other locations the consumer is seeking.
The conclusions are based on a study with 300 consumers. Each was shown only one search result page per scenario, and only the top five search results. In each case the testers showed the consumer a series of search results with a link including visual content in the second position, and a link without rich media in the first position.  The consumers clicked on the enhanced listing 61% of the time. When the same link, without the visual content, was in the first position, study participants clicked on it only 48% of the time. Each of the three scenarios—star reviews, an author image or a local results map—support the hypothesis that “a search result enhanced with rich media can outperform an unenhanced search result higher on the page,” according to the study. For example, star reviews in position 2 capture 76% of clicks compared to an unenhanced retailer in position 1 capturing 9% of clicks. The key takeaway for marketers is to expand the search strategy beyond the lead result. The dominant method to capture online traffic remains securing placement near the top of search results, but marketers can improve results by including rich media as visual appeal can increase click-through rates, the study finds.

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