The heatmaps below were released by Enquiro Search Solutions as part of
a white paper at the end of 2006. The paper is part of a study on
user’s eye movements when using search engines. The take-home message
from looking at the heatmaps is that the "golden triangle" of colour is
where you and your site stand more chance of getting noticed by the
user. The smaller the area, the quicker the users found the right
result (or the result they were expecting) and the more "successful"
their experience was.
As you can see from the three maps, Google would seem to be doing
the best job of getting what they want very quickly. However, it also
emphasises the need for multiple impressions on a page – i.e. your site
appearing in the golden triangle for natural, paid search and where
possible in the Google "OneBox".
Another interesting point we can read from the results is that Portal
sites (i.e. MSN and Yahoo) will introduce a user to the search results
in a much wider area than in simple search pages (i.e. Google). In
other words, while the user is waiting for their search results page to
load, they will probably be scanning around the news and features on
the portal home page for other information.