Q : How do you keep the milk from turning sour?
A : By keeping it in the cow.
The study analyzed the relationship between the purpose of the search, be it looking up a phone number, study on a topic, buy a product, and what area of the page the users focused on the most when looking at the SERP (search engine results page).
But here’s what matters to us, internet marketing types, in practical terms: the study concluded that your ranking position alone was not what determined whether your listing would be clicked on or not.
In other words, you can be ranked #1 and still receive less click than the second position!
The fact is that most users looked at your description snippet (i.e. meta description) to help them decide if the content looks interesting enough to click on it.
The study involved 58 individuals of different ages and gender, who were given 22 individual tasks. Not a huge pool of participants one might argue, but remember, folks, we are not researching a treatment for cancer here.
Here’s an image from the study to illustrate my point (the image provided by Ani López who translated the study from Spanish):
In the fist column, you see the intention behind the search, qualified as informational, navigational, transactional, or multimedia. I will not go into details on that one; it’s too academic, and my purpose is to provide you with PRACTICAL advice on getting more clicks from SERPs.
As you can see, whatever the intention, most users looked at the description (snippet) the longest, more than the title or URL.
The only reasonable conclusion here is:
Write your title tags and permalinks (URLs) for the search engines, but your description tags for the searchers.
That’s exactly what might move the search engine users to click on your organic listing over your competition.
Please understand that explaining what meta title and description tags are goes way beyond the scope of this post.
If you need this information and more, head over to my blog via High Search Engine Ranking Optimization link and download my free “7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination” report.
Question: would you qualify this study as a bunch of hogwash and let your competitors use it instead?