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Old 12-06-2010   #1
Discovery
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Being First On Google Hurts?

An odd thing happened to me today. Since the advent and implementation of the "real time" results on Google I have found myself in a sticky usability fight with the search box. I start typing and the page starts dancing all over the place and the list of suggestions keeps popping up and changing.

Its like watching a mind search for the right word to put into a sentence and seeing all the possibilities fly about in-front of your eyes.

I have to admit I have come to like the real time results feature, as much as I didn't like it at first. But still it has produced a concerning behavior:

Often I start typing in the search box and the suggestions change as I type. I will hit the enter key as to select the word IN the search box and remove the others in the suggestion list.

This results in the word staying in the box, and the suggestion box disappearing but the results didn't seem to change. So I hit enter a second time to initiate the search.

This is where it becomes interesting. Instead of searching again, or in my view the first time; Google actually selects and clicks on the FIRST POSITION paid ad or organic listing.

Try it for yourself:
Start typing a search term
when you have completed it hit enter once.
For the very astute, you will notice a small blue arrow next to one of the top listings, either a PPC ad, or organic listing.
Hit enter again and it clicks that link.

I tested this using all browsers and the result is the same.
I tested the exact same scenario on Yahoo and Bing and NEITHER resulted in selecting and clicking the first ranked listing.

Google does signify that something is being selected by placing an arrow next to the first adwords ad. However, the arrow is small and very easy to miss/ignore while the user is busy conducting the search and all the results are bouncing around. Thus a consumer can and perhaps often does unintentionally hit enter while trying to use the search suggest tool and actually ends up "clicking" the first ad without seeing it or intending to go to that URL.

I'm sure others have noticed this, but this was a first for me.

Have any advertisers who normally fight for first spot found their click volume expanding rapidly since the advent of real time listings? Is this good, bad?

I believe it may be time to have analytics that can report click types:

Touch screen finger press
Mouse Click
Keyboard only interactions: Enter and tab button
Voice command
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Old 12-06-2010   #2
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Re: Being First On Google Hurts?

yeah if you hit the down button the arrow moves down the page and will loop back to the top if you go all the way - had not noticed that it started at the ppc ads if at top... now that is a way for Google to get free clicks
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Old 12-06-2010   #3
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Re: Being First On Google Hurts?

though can't duplicate on IE just FF and Chrome
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Old 12-22-2010   #4
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Re: Being First On Google Hurts?

Could not duplicate. Yet on several instances when doing normal searches Google clicked on an ad when I have not. Methinks adwords has taken some damage since the maps revision.

For most of my campaigns I make sure I stay out of the #1 position as it seems to be the impulse click area with low yield. Yet in one campaign with a highly relevant location I am out for #1.

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Old 12-22-2010   #5
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Re: Being First On Google Hurts?

that double click forces the click
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