First Page Listings On Google Even More Important

A study conducted by Jupiter Research in April 2008, proves quite conclusively that the number of users who looked at only the first few results or the first page of search engine results increased between 2002 and 2008, while those looking at the second, third or further pages reduced in number.

The series of graphs below explain these findings one by one:

More searchers limit themselves to the 1st page

% of searchers viewing only a few SERPs
The percentage of searchers viewing only a few of the results has gone up quite dramatically, emphasizing the need for websites to rank within the top 3 results, or above the fold, rather than just anywhere on the first page.

% of searchers viewing only 1st page of SERPs
A much higher percentage of searchers limited themselves to just the 1st page of the search engine results in 2008 than they did in 2002. This could be due to shorter attention spans, but is more likely to be due to the reduction in spam on organic search results and the improved quality of search results through the introduction of features such as universal search.

In all likelihood, the contributing factors are a mix of both. While search results have improved in quality, users have become much more impatient, and move from one page to another very quickly. This is backed up by the second finding in the study – 26% of searchers try a new search query after viewing just the first page of results, up from 14% in 2002.

Fewer searchers look at the 2nd or further pages

Correspondingly, the percentage of searchers looking at the first two pages has fallen:
% of searchers viewing up to 2nd page of SERPs

As has the percentage of searchers looking at the first three pages:
% of searchers viewing up to 3rd page of SERPs

Search marketing professionals need to take note of this finding. There are two important factors to keep in mind:

  1. Differentiation has become even more important now
  2. Using all means available has also become extremely important.

Marketing professionals can use a variety of assets available to them in the digital library, such as video, audio and images, and put them up on the web site where appropriate. Having multimedia on site would in itself give websites an edge over the competition, in addition to the possibility of showing up in the ‘blended results’ on universal search.

Apart from competing with other organic search results, advertisers will also need to consider using new paid search strategies that are now available, such as video ads in Google search, to improve the users awareness of their brand.


  • SticKer says:

    6 months back I used to rank 40 for a very competitive keyword in Google and I used to receive roughly around 1000 Hits from Google. I optimized my site, did some link buildng and today I rank 12 for that same keyword and I’ve seen a significant rise in traffic from Google.

    From what I’ve experienced it is very important to come up in the first 3 pages of the search results.

  • Tom says:

    If I have the math right on this: 41+17+7=65% of searchers limit their investigation to the first three pages of results. So that means…35% will look at four or more pages? That seems high, but it’s good news for smaller sites trying to get attention on competitive key phrases.

  • Thanks for your reference to findings from the iProspect Blended Search Results Study. If your readers would like to access all the findings of that study — or any other iProspect search engine marketing study — they can feel free to do so with our compliments (don’t even have to fill out a form).

  • Fat Lester says:

    As the potential reward for top rankings increases, so will the demand in the increasingly-competitive field of SEO. This news should come as welcome to top SEO professionals, as it seems the barriers-to-entry are increasing from the standpoint of end-results.

  • Creditandmortgageindex says:

    The problem is that it’s getting hard to rank on SEO because people are spending wayy too much money on putting their word out on other sites and while Google doesn’t allow this, it works like a charm. For people like me who are only into building free links, it’s getting difficult to survive!

  • Jimmy says:

    I agree with the last poster, it does seem like the little guy is getting pushed out and the only way to fight back is with the longer tail keyworkds but you have to wonder how long this will work for the small guy too.

    Money spend on this area is one thing giving the big guys the advantage but fact older sites rank better also adds to this.

    You research with regards to what people view/do online is interesting because it reflects exactly how I would view search results

  • fab4 says:

    These really are amazing stats. Just shows the importance of keyword research. Making sure that you are building pages into your website that have a purpose. i.e. check the demand before you give the supply!

  • Nora says:

    thank you for this article but I do not agree with you. I have a site show up at the third page and it hardly get some visitors from google although it is very searchable keyword. I think more than 90% do not check the 3rd page 🙁

  • indydisplay says:

    Thank you for the effort you put into sharing this with us. Amazing post

  • indydisplay says:

    I appreciate it that you share something so useful with the readers of this blog

  • Scott says:

    As an affiliate of e cig brand “Safe Cig” this article helps me. thank you jupiter for helping out with graphs, charts, timelines etc. Great article.