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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 April 2006, 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
Search users 'stop at page three'
Alta Vista
Companies are advised to be found on the first page of search results
Most people using a search engine expect to find what they are looking for on the first page of results, says a US study.

At most, people will go through three pages of results before giving up, found the survey by Jupiter Research and marketing firm iProspect.

It also found that a third of users linked companies in the first page of results with top brands.

The study surveyed 2,369 people from a US online consumer panel.

It also found 62% of those surveyed clicked on a result on the first page, up from 48% in 2002.

Some 90% of consumers clicked on a link in these pages, up from 81% in 2002.

And 41% of consumers changed engines or their search term if they did not find what they were searching for on the first page.

Effective marketing

Robert Murray, president of iProspect, said the study shows the "increased importance of being found in the first top search results".

It's another call for search engines to look at their performance
Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch
He added as search engine efficacy has improved, along with the searching skills of users, so have expectations.

"They [users] know what they want, and they want to find it immediately, and the majority want to find it on page one," he said.

He said businesses needed to take the results of the study on board.

"It should be clear that to be effective, marketers need to take action to ensure that their company is found in the top search results on a broad range of search terms and not just single word generic terms."

"It's time that companies that are refreshing, re-designing, or launching a new website start with the end in mind. If no one can find it, no one will use it."

Increasing traffic

Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Watch, said the study reinforced current thinking.

"It's always been the case that businesses want to be on the first page because then you get the traffic," he told the BBC News website.

"This study tells me it was already important to be on the first page, now it is even more so.

"It's another call for search engines to look at their performance."

He said businesses wanting to improve their chances of returning good results should have "good pages, text rich content, and good links pointing to you".

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