Take a look at this experiment. Take a look at Google (don’t worry, we’ll wait). Search for “Michael Jordan.” What do you find? Most likely, you saw a row of basketball players related to your search as the first thing you saw. Ok, so you glanced over it. On the other hand, there is a Wikipedia blurb on the right. Let’s keep scrolling. Additionally, people ask for “Top Stories” and “Videos.” Whoa! But where is the search engine ranking information? You’re on the non-linear search page. We are no longer in the days when all you had to think about was landing on the first search engine result page. Nowadays, it’s hard to even get to the top of the search engine result pages.

The impact of non-linear scanning on user search behavior

Search results pages have earned the nickname “pinball patterns.” If you think about what your eyes were doing to scan the SERP page, you can imagine what it must look like. As a result of the pinball pattern, searchers don’t scan results from top to bottom. Basically, they are going right, left, up, down, and so forth. So what exactly does that mean to you?

  • This statistic is based on the Nielsen Norman Group’s research that said when a result page was enhanced with features like featured snippets and images, these results are capable of receiving 74% of the hits.
  • Results are more often viewed by users. Researchers found that searches spend 5.7 seconds scanning the SERP before making a decision. That means being the top result does not always translate into success
  • The click-through. According to the report, to get noticed, you still need to make it to the top five to be seen.

Here are three tips for standing out in a crowd

Distractions are common among humans. It is clear that being number one in search results is no longer good enough (even though you can still try). And what does that mean? Therefore, if you can become one of those distractions to bring people into the funnel, you’re more likely to get a click. What’s the best way to make that happen?

Paid advertising: Search engine marketing (SEM) can make a huge difference in grabbing your searcher’s attention and having them stay on your page.

Video: Videos are becoming more popular. There’s no need to be long. There’s no need to be you. You just need it to be there and engaging. The more results you pop up on the SERP, the better.

The featured snippet: A featured snippet, i.e. position zero, appears at the top of the search results page. Ensure that the content you provide Google is easily digestible by users so that it serves up the results to them faster.

We understand if your eyes are still trying to adjust to the sudden bouncing around on the page. Trying to comprehend a non-linear search engine ranking page can be overwhelming. Understanding and owning it, however, is a different matter. Our Las Vegas SEO agency can help you grow your business in 2022 and beyond by taking your online presence to the next level. Contact us today for a free quote to find out how local SEO, SEM, video, and social media can help your business grow.