There has been a lot of talk about how rich snippets may factor into search click-through rates (CTR) and whether or not the effect it has may be even more important than high rankings themselves.
Now, a study by Nathan Safran, CEO and founder of Blue Nile Research, suggests that the old idea that higher search page positions are the be-all and end-all might need to be reconsidered.
Safran, whose market research firm creates industry-leading research studies, says that the top position in a search result ranking may no longer be the holy grail of SEO professionals and marketers.
This is because the old rules governing static, link-driven search pages are becoming increasingly obsolete, he argues.
Safran believes that “Search results have become dynamic media billboards”, by which he means the
rich media collections of images, video, reviews and map packs today add many more factors to the mix.
Blue Nile Research designed a study to test how searchers click on rich media results, especially in relation to their positioning in rankings.
The study showed respondents search results pages with a target brand enhanced by rich snippets
in position 2 and unenhanced in the top position. There was found to be a 13% lift for position 2 over position 1.
Safran’s hypothesis is that searchers are drawn to rich media results further down the page, and this means that marketers need to shift their focus away from trying to hit the top spot and consider other ways of driving click-through.
Safran states: “These findings strongly support our initial hypothesis that a search result enhanced with rich media can outperform an unenhanced search result higher on the page.
“In our research, users tell us loud and clear that they would sooner click further down the page on a search result enhanced with appealing rich media than on position 1 containing a plain, text-only link.”
This means that marketers who are looking to achieve maximum CTR should consider shifting their focus on the way search results pages that come up from relevant keywords are subsequently viewed.