Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Google Threshold

The different ways people land on your site ...

"What happens to people before they reach your website? Most of us think of this as a marketing question, drawing an invisible line between the steps visitors take to find our websites and the steps those visitors take once they reach our sites. If people see an ad or hear about a website and type in the URL, that approach may be fine. As more and more visitors reach sites from search engines, though, understanding how those visitors cross the "Google threshold" and what happens to them before and after crossing it is, I'll argue, much more than a marketing question. Understanding the Google threshold is fundamental to usability and to your bottom line.

To explain, let's explore three different scenarios:

Scenario 1: Go Back to Start
Figure 1 represents what has become the normal scenario for most website users that arrive from search engines. In its simplest form, you have a five-step process, although in practice the search results steps could represent dozens of pages. After the threshold, visitors arrive at your home-page and essentially start with a clean slate.

You may think this is a good thing. After all, your home-page probably contains the best explanation of your website, best navigation, and most options. The problem is that you've essentially asked your visitors to start over after what may have already been a frustrating process. You may protest: "What happens on Google isn't my fault!", and you're right, but a visitor's impatience isn't going to magically reset when they cross the threshold. The more difficult the task of reaching your site has been, the worse their overall experience, and the more you'll suffer for it."    (Continued via User Effect)    [Usability Resources]

Google Threshold - Usability, User Interface Design

Google Threshold


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