SEO and paid search ads are both popular methods of internet marketing. Recently User Centric, a user experience research firm, carried out an eye tracking study that gives information on effectiveness of both these methods.
According to the research findings, in Google, 100% users viewed search results spending 14.7 seconds on them, while only 28% participants saw the ads on right side of the search engine. The results were similar in Bing. 100% users viewed Bing’s search results, spending 10.7 seconds on them, while only 21% saw the ads. On both the search engines, users spent less than one second to view all the ads combined. The center search ads were viewed around 90-91% of times in both Google and Bing, but users hardly spend 0.7 – 0.9 seconds on them.
A survey by Hitwise provides further insight into the matter. In this survey the success rates, meaning the percentage of searches leading to a click, in popular search engines like Google Yahoo and Bing were calculated. Bing and Yahoo recorded success rates of around 81%, while the percentage was much lower for Google at 65.6%. The huge volume of searches at Google may be lowering its success rate to some extent, but the findings indicate that although Google has higher traffic volume, Bing and Yahoo generate more relevant traffic.
All these findings points towards the growing importance of SEO. With the change in behavior of search engine users, SEO will present new challenges, requiring new strategies for the best results.