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  • 1. Search Engine Results: 2010What search engines may look like in the future, including personalization,universal search, eye tracking and interviews with leading industry expertsBy: Gord HotchkissTracy ShermanRick TobinCory BatesKrista Brown2007 08 16

2. What do the next three years hold for theAbout Enquiro Researchworld of search? Will the search results enquiroresearch.compage in 2010 looks similar to what we useOne of North Americas leading search marketing firms, Enquiro provides online mar-today? keting and research solutions to a client base which includes several Fortune 500 com- panies. Its strategies are based on its own industry research and expertise in usability,We interviewed some of the industrys topand natural and sponsored search. Enquiro has also authored eye tracking studiesanalysts and thought leaders to find out.which have given marketers a greater understanding of user interaction with the majorAnd Enquiro conducted eye tracking onsearch engines and defined Googles Golden Triangle.some of these possible future scenarios tosee how users would interact.About Gord Hotchkiss Gord has been active in the marketing and advertising industry for over 20 years and has led Enquiro to be one of North Americas fastest growing tech companies. Also the board chairperson for the Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization (SEMPO), he is recognized as an industry thought leader who is frequently called upon as a speaker, writer and analyst.EMAILFor questions or to request a quote:sales@enquiro.comMAIL1628 Dickson Ave., Suite 300Kelowna, BC, Canada V1Y 9X1PHONEToll Free: 1.800.277.9997Phone: 1.250.861.5252Fax: 1.250.861.5235 2 Enquiro Research web.enquiroresearch.com phone.250.861.5252 email.sales@enquiro.com 3. Contents Introduction.....4 Methodology....6 The Interviewees........8 The Interviews...10 The Eye Tracking Study.....28 Chunking....30 Fencing....34 Google: 2010?...................................................44 Time Spent on Page by Section - Buyers....50 Time Spent on Page by Section - Buyers....51 Implications for Marketers..54 Acknowledgements...60 The Team..613Enquiro Research web.enquiroresearch.com phone.250.861.5252 email.sales@enquiro.com 4. IntroductionWhat does the next three years hold for the worldresults page have to change in order to be noticed on a richer results page?of search? Will the search results page in 2010Search: 2010looks similar to the search results page were see-ing today? At Enquiro, we have long been saying that the in- troduction of things like personalization and uni-Strategies and tactics used by marketersWe seem to be at a important juncture in the his-versal search results will dramatically impact the entire world of search marketing. The rules willwill have to evolve quickly and dramati-tory of search engines. To this point, most of theinnovation thats been happening with the search change significantly and the strategies and tacticscally in order to keep pace with its rate of used by marketers will have to evolve quickly andengine has been happening in the back end, im-change being seen from the enginesproving and tweaking the algorithms. But in thedramatically in order to keep pace with the rate ofthemselves. past six months weve seen the beginning of what change being seen from the engines themselves. Itpromises to be significant changes in the actual seemed logical to us that now would be an oppor-search interface. Googles unveiling of personal-tune time to take the pulse of the search user ex-ization and universal search together with Asks perience and try to see a few years into the futureunveiling of 3D Search both seem to indicate thathow changes may impact both the user experiencethe pace of change in interface design is pickingand effective strategies to intercept those users.up. Why is this important? The search resultsSo we launched an initiative to interview a selectpages have remained a fairly static landscape forgroup of experts. First we talked to the usabilitythe entire history of search. There has been littlepeople at each of the major engines, Marissa Mayer It seemed logical to usat Google, Larry Cornett at Yahoo, Justin Osmer atchange in the text oriented linear presentation of that now would be an search results. The paradigm of 10 blue organicMicrosoft and Michael Ferguson at Ask. Then we opportune time to take link and a handful of sponsored results has be-reached out to top industry analysts and thought the pulse of the searchcome fairly established amongst all the major play-leaders and chatted with each of them. This group included Danny Sullivan, Jakob Nielsen, Chris user experience and tryers. And this common presentation of results has Sherman and Greg Sterling. With each, we asked to see a few years intolargely dictated what the scanning pattern of thoseresults would be. This scanning pattern has been one simple question: what will the search results the future how changes detailed in two eye tracking results conducted bypage look like in 2010? Of course, implied within may impact both theEnquiro. But all that could change in the very nearthis question is what will our search experience be user experience and ef-future as search engines become bolder in intro- like in 2010? And thats perhaps the bigger ques- tion. What screen will it be happening on? Withfective strategies to intercept those users. ducing innovation into the search results page in- what intent will we be using it?terface.For example, how will increased relevancy impact This white paper not only brings together the vari-our interaction with search results? As personaliza- ous opinions from each of these industry influen-tion starts to provide the opportunity to determinecers and attempts to draw out some consistentrelevancy not just by comparing it to a keyword butthemes, it actually goes two steps further. Wealso comparing it to the intent of the user, will this took all the input we received from these expertsresult in a significantly different level of interaction and aggregated them into a picture of what thewith the search results page? And with the intro-search results page might look like in 2010. Thenduction of more types of results on the defaultwe conducted an internal eye tracking test here atpage, will we be engaged with these results in a Enquiro to see what impact things like a dramati-different manner? Will the mixing of text basedcally new interface, a richer presentation of adver-website results and image-based video resultstising messages, a greater degree of relevancychange how we navigate our way through those based on access to personal information and anresults? Will advertising presented on the searchaggregation of different types of results on the 4 Enquiro Research web.enquiroresearch.com phone.250.861.5252 email.sales@enquiro.com 5. same page might have on the average user. We crepancy in the degree of optimism about howconducted a series of eye tracking tests on differ-much the search experience will change in threeent types of search results pages, including a typi- years. Jakob Nielsen was probably our most prag-cal results page with universal results (as theyrematic respondent, indicating he doesnt expect anycurrently being implemented on Google), personal-significant changes in the three-year framework.ized results as they may look in the next 12 Nevertheless he did speculate on three areas wheremonths, Asks 3D Search, and finally, our view ofwe could see innovation. Contrast this with predic-what the search results page might look like intions of rich Ajax functionality, mash ups and2010 based on the input we received from all our multi-touch displays.experts. Weve included the results from these eyetracking tests in this report. What well do within this white paper is take all the input we received from the interviews and groupThere is, without a doubt, great passionFinally, we share our thoughts about what useful them into a number of common themes. For any-about the future of search and we stronglystrategies might be for search marketers in theone interested in reading the full transcripts of thebelieve that the next three years will rep-future. How do you successfully position yourselfinterviews, these are posted on Gord Hotchkisssto take advantage of the innovations being intro-Out of my Gord blog.resent the most exciting era yet in theduced by the search engines? How do you ensureshort history of web search.that your message will be seen on a much richer, The eye tracking studiesmuch more functional search results page? Of course, given our research bent and our pastWe believe youll find the insights presented fasci- history with eye tracking, one couldnt expect us tonating. It was a question that all our respondents speculate on what a search results page might lookwarmed up to and showed great enthusiasm for.like in 2010 without wondering how a user mightThere is, without a doubt, great passion about the navigate that same page. What we wanted to dofuture of search and we strongly believe that thewas create some comparisons of what interactionsnext three years will represent the most excitingmay look like given some of the innovation thatsera yet in the short history of web search.creeping onto the page. We set up an internal test- ing framework that created four different versionsSearch Engine Results: 2010of similar sets of search results. First of all, we recorded interactions with the results pages to rep-The choice of 2010 as the target date for ourresent the current user experience on Google. Wespeculation was more a matter of looking for a nicegave our participants scenarios that would result inround number than any deliberate thought, but as the presentation of universal search results.it turned out, the setting of the three-year horizonproved to be an interesting one. It was just far Then, we presented scenarios and (based on pastenough ahead that it was difficult to extra