Web searchers generally favour organic results over paid links, and are less likely to look beyond the first three pages of search engine results.

These findings come from an iProspect ‘Blended Search Results Study’, conducted by Jupiter Research.

According to this study, almost 70% of web users said they normally click on a link in the first page of results, while 92% chose a website from the first three pages.

The survey suggests that searchers are becoming more impatient, as fewer users are willing to click on results past the first three pages – 8% in 2008 compared with 19% in 2002.

This doesn’t mean that web users will abandon searches if they don’t find what they want, as most will change either the search term, or the search engine after looking at the results.

Over 90% will change the search term if they can’t find what they are looking for in the first three search results pages. 23% are more impatient though, and will start another search after looking at the first page.

This is good news for those retailers and other websites which rank well in the organic listings, and highlights the need for an effective SEO strategy.

In 2008, search engine optimisation (SEO) accounted for around 18% of all search ad spending.