Thursday, March 05, 2015

How Do You Google?

On Wednesday night while in Advertising & Branding class, we were discussing the proposed Lowline project in the Lower East Side.  I had a question regarding the cost to build the High Line, so I typed into Google "high line cost", and Google returned the result below:

I didn't even need to check the search results, because Google determined that the NY Times is reputable and gave me the information directly from the article.

Apparently, companies and anti-trust officials in Europe have an issue with this (precisely for the reason stated above - no need to click through the results).  Mediative performed an eye-tracking study to see how our search habits have changed over time.  The "golden triangle" found in a 2005 study (upper left of page) no longer applies. The new study shows that our eyes still focus on the upper left, but then scan down the left side of the page to check out the new sections Google has added (local, maps, news, etc), and there's less horizontal scanning across the top (see image below).  Additionally, we now take less time to find the result we want (8-9 seconds vs. 14-15 in previous study).

For companies, this is good news because you no longer have to be the first search result.  If you're in the top 3-5 results then users will quickly scan the results and find what's most relevant to them (if not the first result).  With  changes to Google's search algorithm (more fact based results), it will be interesting to see how users behavior changes even further.

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