April 20, 2004, 12:00 AM

Placing in top three pages of results key to search marketing success

More than 80% of web users don’t look beyond the first three pages of search results, iProspect finds. Almost one-quarter look only at the first few listings; but men tend to dig deeper into results than women do.

More than 80% of Internet users don’t look beyond the first three pages of search results, underscoring the importance of placing high in searches, according to survey findings from search engine marketing firm iProspect.

22.6% of search engine users end their search after viewing the first few results listings, while an additional 18.6% stop after reading the first entire page of results. 25.8% stop reading after the first few pages of results, while only 14.7% go as far as reading the initial three pages of results.

However, iProspect found, men tended to dig deeper into search results than women did. While 44% of women said they don’t read past the first page of search results, 37.3% of men said they moved onto their next search only after they’d read the first entire page of results. Those differing patterns among female and male web users have marketing implications, according to iProspect CEO Fredrick Marckini.

“Organizations whose products or services target women, such as Avon.com, Pottery Barn and Linens ‘n Things, must make it a priority that their web sites achieve first-page visibility in the search engines on the keywords their target audience queries,” he says.

IProspect also found in looking at search behavior by occupation, that 52.2% of homemakers, more than any other profession identified in the survey, stop looking at search results after the first page. “These findings suggest that for sites that market to homemakers, such as Tupperware, Betty Crocker, and Homemaker.com, failing to appear on the first page of results means missing out on over 50% of potential customers,” Marckini adds.

IProspect’s Search Engine User Attitudes Survey, based on 1,649 online survey respondents, was completed in March in partnership with WebSurveyor, Strategem Research and Survey Sampling International.

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