When I was working at Forrester Research, each publication had a designated content editor whom we jokingly referred to as “the ultimate arbiter of good taste“: he or she had the final word on what deserved publishing and what did not.
I was reminded of this by Google’s “More guidance on building high-quality sites” published on 6 May 2011 by Amit Singhal, head of search quality, on Google Webmaster Central Blog. Read more
The Web’s unlimited shelf space is a myth. In reality (argh!), the Web is a battlefield and companies fiercely compete for scarce premium positions in organic search results because consumers have neither the time nor the patience to explore the millions of other choices. That’s why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is still obsessed with the first page (i.e. top 10 search results) among Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Research shows that this won’t change better soon.
Optify Average Click-Through-Rate (CTR) by Search Results Position Curve
Research from Optify, cited by Le Journal du Net shows that the top 3 results on Google’s first page still concentrate nearly 60% of average Click-Through-Rates (CTRs), with 37,2% on the first position alone. The average CTR on the first page is more than six times higher than the average CTR on the second page. The data is US-only and pre-Panda.
‘s Austin Carr found a huge discrepancy between the number of search results announced by Google
and the number of results that can actually be found through these search engines.
Fast Company Presents Bing and Google as in a Pissing Contest
To answer the question Do Google And Bing Actually Return Billions Of Search Results?, he searched for “New York Times” and counted the number of search results and result pages. Here is what he found:
– Bing: 491,000,000 results announced, only 223 available on 23 pages
– Google: 126,000,000 results announced, only 468 available on 47 pages
Harsh reality. No matter how many trillion pages a search engine can index, nobody is going to click on a page further than page 10. In fact, the majority of users will click on the first results of the first page. Why bother displaying more?
The myth of the Web’s unlimited shelf space is busted. The Web was hoped to offer equal opportunities and unlimited exposure to every product and every company, from the Bavarian Dirndl tailor to America’s largest corporation. Instead, it’s a cut-throat global competition for limited premium placement. Not much different from the fight for aisle-end display in physical stores.
Not so long ago, I used to be Content VP (or VP Content). I really enjoyed it.
Firstly because I believe that trying to create good online content — content that informs, entertains, moves and helps people in every aspect of their life — is a motivating purpose.
But also because I love the double meaning of the word “content”. “What does it mean VP Content?” Asked my mom. “It means that I’m content with what I do” I replied.
She was content with the answer.