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by Nathan S
Eyetools eye tracking lab has confirmed using lots of really cool technology what many in the SEO business already know: that getting “above the fold” in search results is key to holding a user’s interest.

Using heat-based mapping technology which tracks eye focus on a computer screen, the Eyetools tracking lab tested fifty different people on various search situations. What they discovered was that the bulk of eye focus on a page was laid out in a “golden triangle” or “F” pattern on the page, with most of the focus at the top, and the least focus on the bottom.

This isn’t that surprising. However, what is interesting are the specific statistics which constitute that golden triangle. I know what you’re probably thinking: Pretty much 100% at the top, and pretty much 0% at the bottom, right? That’s what I thought, but that’s not what Eyetools found. What they found was a much less severe drop for any search results which are “above the fold”—that is, seeable without scrolling down. 100% looked at the top of the page (naturally), but the bottom of the page (before scrolling down) still received the attention of 85% of those studied. That’s not bad.

It was the results “below the fold”: that is, the ones which required the reader to scroll down, which did not get much viewer interest: Only 50% saw the very first line after scrolling down! That’s right, that one inch represents a loss of 35% of your viewership. The very bottom of page one gets seen by 20% of the people, so there’s another 30% lost if you’re the last result on page one. So, without even getting to page two, you can see how important it is to be “above the fold” on the first page of Google: It is detrimental to your company’s visibility to be seen anywhere else.

What do you think of this? I was frankly surprised that things dropped off so quickly, and wonder how many people ever even look at page two. It can’t be more than 20% of all searchers, but I have a funny feeling that statistic is, in fact, much lower. Share your thoughts!

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