Search Tactics & Viewing Patterns

Posted on January 8th, 2020 by Mary Caitlyn Polovich

The old list of ten blue links on a Google results page has been replaced by a variety of results, leaving users with no idea what to expect when they search for a new inquiry. A study by the Nielson Norman Group reveals how users have been navigating Google’s new layout — the Pinball Pattern.

While this pattern isn’t exactly new, it is evolving — much like the way Google SERPs are evolving. The new SERPs and how people interact with them is the main reason Google did away with the traditional position in paid search. 

Knowing the pattern consumers tend to make in even a single Google search leads is an important factor in implementing effective media campaign tactics, which ultimately leads to reaching more of your paid search audience. 

 

Our True Expertise:

Senior Search Strategist Steve Sherfy offers his expertise on Google’s SERPs and the evolving viewing pattern of users:

How does the way people are viewing pages when they search affect how the Search Team executes campaigns for clients? 

The changes in viewing pattern paired with the removal of the average position and it being replaced with top of page impression share has an effect on how we execute campaigns.  Many clients in the past liked to use the average position as a metric of success and we have had to steer away from that. Also knowing that the SERPs are evolving and how clients need to be present in many sections of the SERP is one reason why our clients should utilize True Local.  It changes how we approach what tactics we will use, the need to be much more strategic in our spending, as well as lays out more specific KPIs when on-boarding a new client or starting a new campaign.

What are your thoughts on the pinball pattern? how do you see it evolving?  

If nothing else Google is very consistent with the idea of testing and changing things.  The most important factor with search right now for clients is mobile optimization. Mobile site compatibility is now a major ranking factor not only for organic results but also it plays heavily into the paid search quality score which is the biggest determiner of how high an ad will rank or how often an ad will show.  Additionally, both of these play into voice search. It is imperative to stress that “voice search” is not exclusive to home devices such as Alexa or Google Home. The vast majority of voice search is conducted on mobile devices, therefore voice and mobile are going to continue to be the main things influencing SERP results. However, the one thing that will remain consistent is Google making sure paid search ads will feature prominently in the results.

As an expert in this field, what are some key things you take into account in order to provide the client’s the best results from Search? 

Relevancy is and will remain the most important factor when determining both paid strategy and tactics for clients.  We have many tools at our disposal to help us determine the best keyword sets to advertise on in order to present the most relevant ad to the right searcher at the right time. The good news is that with the changes in SERP we now have searchers spending more time on a SERP page which translates into a greater opportunity to catch attention and earn a click.