I think we’ve all had this experience. We do a quick search, click on the result that looks
promising and then hit the back button on the browser almost immediately. Sometimes it happens because we made a bad choice in search.
Often it happens because the page we ended up with doesn’t load quickly and cleanly. Or it doesn’t have the information we are looking for front and center. Or finding the information is too much work. In short, it’s a horrible landing page.
We’ve known for a long time that content which appears above the fold on a web page gets significantly more attention than information which requires the reader to physically move.
In fact, Jakob Neilsen analyzed over 57,000 instances of users looking at something on a screen and reported in 2010 that web users will spend 80% of their time looking at the information above the fold. His primary conclusion was that “the material that’s the most important for the users’ goals or your business goals should be above the fold”. If for no other reason then this should be your incentive to appear at the top end of a SERP.
One of my favorite things about paid search is that you can track conversions and determine exactly what your ROI is because I hate spending money without knowing what the result is going to be. This is why I’ve always wondered how brick-and-mortar-only stores can use AdWords without being terrified of the lack of analytical data I’ve grown used to having when you run everything online.
After reading a well-done article by Greg Sterling over on Search Engine Land, my fears (and anyone else who shares them) should start feeling assuaged. It’s been reported that for every dollar of revenue in e-commerce, paid search drives another six dollars of in-store revenue. The study generating the data was conducted by RevTrax, a retail marketing firm, and took place from August 2009 – August 2011. They tracked customers who clicked on paid search ads to a landing page with a coupon that could be redeemed in a physical store.