Golden Triangle (Internet Marketing)
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The Golden Triangle in internet marketing depicts the triangular viewing pattern on a webpage which is created by tracking eye activity of users. It is an eye-tracking heat-mapping that shows that people look and click on a specific area on a page of search results, which gives rise to an “F” form.
This term relates to search engine marketing strategies and was coined back in 2005 during studies which were carried out by Enquiro, Eyetools and DidIt to show which area on search result pages drew the attention of viewers the most.
In search engine marketing, companies try to place their websites in the top results for searches. It was previously considered that a website should be seen on the first page of the search engine and it was even better if the website was ranked higher on the first page. This was until a trend was identified, showing that it was only the first three results on a search engine that had high click-through rates whilst the remaining results had very low click-through rates.
Enquiro, Eyetools and DidIt carried out a study to better understand the average search patterns and to try to find out whether there was anything which differentiated a result ranked first from a result ranked sixth on a search engine page.
The study has shown that, during a search, the vast majority of eye tracking activities happens in a triangle at the top of the search results page indicating that the areas of maximum interest create a "golden triangle".
Implications of the Golden Triangle
The reason for the increase in click through rates on the first three search results is due to the way users view the result page. Google’s study showed that users usually read the entire title and description of the first three listings, then the title and only part of the description of the next few results. As users scroll down the page, they tend to read only titles and then, towards the end of the page, not even that. This implies that a website may not be getting any traffic due to its positioning on the search results.
Using the Golden Triangle
The Golden Triangle is the area of the page where users read the title and the description of each search result which eventually results in higher click-through rates. For marketing purposes, getting a website into the Golden Triangle of any search result page is the key to increasing traffic to a site.
The results of the study show that any search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing performed is most effective a website ranks in the top three for your primary keyword. The Golden Triangle forces internet marketers to focus on tailoring a website’s title and description to give relevant and concise information. SEO marketers should also use long-tail keywords to increase their chances of being displayed within the Golden Triangle for less popular keywords.
The Golden Triangle Changing Over Time
In October 2014, Mediative released a study supporting the idea that the Golden Triangle phenomenon has declined as search engine results pages, and user behavior, have shifted and evolved since 2005.
As a result of the rise in mobile usage, search patterns have become more and more vertical, and less horizontal, and we can see similarities in the way people search on mobile and on desktop. Mediative released another study in March 2016, looking at how consumers conduct searches on Google using a mobile device, supporting that theory.
- Eyetools, Google Search’s Golden Triangle, archived version retrieved 4 September 2014
- "The Evolution of Google's Search Results Pages & Effects on User Behaviour".
- "How do consumers conduct searches on Google using a mobile device?". Mediative. Retrieved 2016-03-14.