0. Introduction

The current lack of data from Google about the behavior of users has been the greatest frustration for SEOs. Although some previous studies have tried to analyze user behavior on Google, most of them are outdated as SERP features have changed over the past years.

This study intends to fill the gap and shed some timely and novel insights on how users interact with Google’s SERP features.

In this study, we address the following research questions:

  1. What percentage of users used the search suggestion?
  2. What is the average time to first click?
  3. What percentage of users scroll to the bottom of the first page?
  4. What percentage of users change their search query?
  5. What percentage of users bounces back to the search results and chooses a different result? (i.e.pogo-sticking)?
  6. How many pages do users visit on average?
  7. What percent of clicks go to organic search results?
  8. What percent of clicks go to Google Adwords or paid listings?
  9. What percent of clicks go to video results?
  10. What percent of clicks go to google maps listings?
  11. What percent of clicks go to shopping results?
  12. What percent of clicks go to “people also ask” box?
  13. What percent of clicks go to page 2nd+ Google page?
  14. How long is the average Google search session? (after entering a search query and hitting enter)
  15. What´s the average number of clicks in a Google Search Session?
  16. Do we see any relationships between key variables?

0.1 Methodology

Step 1 Survey Design: We provided the survey respondents with a set of Google search queries. In order to provide a broad set of search queries, we settled for the following ones:

  1. Commercial_1_pyhsical: find a car phone holder (assumption: Google shopping results)
  2. Commercial_2_service: find a credit card (assumptions: affiliate articles)
  3. Local: find a car accident lawyer (assumptions: ads)
  4. Informational_1: find how to cut your own hair (assumptions: videos)
  5. Informational_2: find how to treat back pain (assumptions: in-depth articles)
  6. Transactional: find supplements that may help with lower back pain
  7. Commercial_3_service: buy groceries online in your local area

You can find the survey questions here: Link

Step 2 Survey Tools and Screen Recording: Secondly, we decided to screen record survey participants to derive useful data points for our study. Our survey tool of choice was surveygizmo.com, as it nicely integrated with the screen recording software addpipe.com. US-Participants for the study were recruited on Mechnical Turk. We also run a pre-screening to make sure respondents were familiar with the instructions. The survey instructions can be found here and a sample screen recording video can be watched here.

Step 3 Data Annotation: Thirdly, to consider only valid responses for the data annotation task, we reviewed each of the videos individually to check whether instructions were followed properly. Of the 454 submitted videos, 259 passed our screening. We then annotated the remaining 259 videos and entered each data point into a spread sheet. We collected data with a total recording time of 2276 minutes (38 hours).

0.2 Overview of the respondents

Respondents provided information about their use of search engines.

We observe that Google is most commonly used by 94% of users. Bing is the biggest competitor with a much smaller share of 2.7%.

76% of users use Google search multiple times a day, and 94% use it at least once every day.