Yesterday I was in the Universal and Blended Search session at SES San Jose. Shashi Seth from Cooliris provided what I thought was a rather interesting statistic: In the typical search, searchers hit the "next page" link less than 20% of the time.
This means that less than 20% of searches actually get to the second page of search results. This leads to two important questions.
1) Are search engines simple not able to provide more than 10 relevant results for a query?
2) If they are, then why wouldn't they provide more than 10 results?
It seems to me that if the search engines are confident that they are providing strong, relevant results to a query, that they would want to provide more results than just 10 to each searcher. This isn't an issue with advertising, with longer results pages more PPC ads can be displayed. Expanding the results provides a lot more freedom than they would otherwise have.
I would think that providing more results on the first page would be a significant benefit to each user. More results means more options, which means more opportunity for the searcher to find what they are looking for.
With blended results, I would think this might be especially important. Since we are mixing images, blogs, news and whatever else the engines find relevant into the first ten results, expanding beyond ten provides more opportunities for the searcher to find the page, or information that best satisfies their query.
Which leads back to the first question. If the engines are still only providing 10 results on that first page, are they not confident in the quality of their results? Perhaps that question is answered by the users who click to the next page. Or more precisely, it's answered by the number of users who don't.
Personally, I'd like to see engines default to 25 results. Ten results seems to stem back to the days of slow internet connection speeds. That's not an issue anymore. I think it's time for the engines to come out of the early internet ages and start providing more results per page.
So to the search engines, I say... if you're confident in your results. Show us. Show us more results per page... by default.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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