user psychology on SERP

Understanding the User Psychology on SERP for Refined SEO efforts!

The study of user psychology combined with refined SEO efforts can prove to be a long term benefit with sustainable results for a long period of time. In the current era, SEO is more inclined towards the user-centric approach. It, therefore, becomes essential to study and understand user behavior when he/she is in front of SERP screen.

What do people use search engines for?

In the modernised world of IoT, using search engines is an everyday task that has become a daily chore of normal users. Normal users tend to accesses search engines by multiple devices eg. mobile, tablet and desktop. People use search engines for knowledge or research, entertainment and assistance to make the decision.

How does the user search start?

As discussed above, the user is looking for something or he/she wants to fulfill some purpose by typing the words in search box. The word or string(of words) typed in search engine box is termed as ‘search query’.

The user makes its own phrase i.e natural language search with an intent of getting info, experience or assistance.

The auto-fill feature of Google helps user to a great deal, though some may not choose and prefer to compose a  ‘query’ themselves.

What is most viewed part in SERPS?

We know that the SERP structure has underwent many changes to evolve into a most user-friendly and easy browsable UI. The heat map survey done on desktop revealed some interesting facts about the portions of a computer screen which catches the eye-balls. There are many other ways to study the pattern of user behavior on Google SERP eg. monitoring CTR w.r.t. position.

It goes without saying that the top fold of SERP will grab more of the attention, with second attention grabber being just below the top fold and some little authority can be given to end portion of the page. The study says – central portion is most looked for and trusted part of SERP as per user psychology.

To add to above pointers, we can say the user focuses more on Title and URL fields when the query results are displayed.

It is also because the user eyes are drawn on bolded content.

The user will then browse or unintentionally look for the near or related query results i.e. having same of slightly different words. This is also one of the factor that grabs user attention. It is also observed that more specific the query, with long tail keywords, more specific or user-friendly are the results.

Is this the reason, Google now ‘bold’ only the specific search query words only in the description part of the SERP snippet?

What are the prime variables that affect user behavior on SERP?

There are many variables that affect the user behavior on Search Engine Results Pages. The few of them can be listed as below:

  1. Basic users will refer to the search results in a sequential manner
  2. The user may be likely to skip unappealing title
  3. Some search users will focus attention to any of the popular or branded terms
  4. Users’ knowledge about the subject is also a deciding factor for click
  5. The search engine ‘bolded words’ and interface or design compels user to click on the most prominent location

SEO relation to click on results link?

The SEOs usually want their content on the first page and in the top 5 search results. Though, it is not proven that if the ranking for your keywords is 1-5, it is bound to get high CTR. In addition to what we saw above about variables that affect user click behavior, the user may click on what compels to the eyes eg. titles, descriptions, URLs, structured data.


With the advent of IoT and many devices, the user screen sizes and layouts have changed. This also has a huge impact on user search behaviors and technical limits. Though the basic fundamentals of SEO remains the same, some efforts are required to make it refined for humans.

We will talk about this in our upcoming posts. Stay tuned….

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