How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search?

How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search? This paper investigates whether a search engine’s ordering of algorithmic results has an important effect on website traffic. A website’s ranking on a search engine results page is positively correlated with the clicks that it receives. This could result from the search engine’s accurately predicting the websites relevance to users. Or it could result from users merely clicking on the highest ranked links, regardless of the website’s relevance. Using a unique dataset, we find that a website’s rank, not just its relevance, strongly and significantly affects the likelihood of a click. We also find evidence that rank influences CTRs partly by controlling access to the scarce attention of users, but primarily by substituting the reputational capital of the search engine for the reputation of individual websites. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Industrial Organization Springer Journals

How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search?

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by The Author(s)
Subject
Economics / Management Science; Industrial Organization; Microeconomics
ISSN
0889-938X
eISSN
1573-7160
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11151-014-9435-y
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper investigates whether a search engine’s ordering of algorithmic results has an important effect on website traffic. A website’s ranking on a search engine results page is positively correlated with the clicks that it receives. This could result from the search engine’s accurately predicting the websites relevance to users. Or it could result from users merely clicking on the highest ranked links, regardless of the website’s relevance. Using a unique dataset, we find that a website’s rank, not just its relevance, strongly and significantly affects the likelihood of a click. We also find evidence that rank influences CTRs partly by controlling access to the scarce attention of users, but primarily by substituting the reputational capital of the search engine for the reputation of individual websites.

Journal

Review of Industrial OrganizationSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 20, 2014

References

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