How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search?

Glick, Mark, Richards, Greg, Sapozhnikov, Margarita and Seabright, Paul (2014) How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search? Review of Industrial Organization, 5 (2). pp. 99-119.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/28434

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.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: September 2014
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Internet search, Page rank, Click-through rates, Scarce attention
JEL codes: D03 - Behavioral Economics; Underlying Principles
D12 - Consumer Economics - Empirical Analysis
D83 - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 14:49
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:23
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:28434
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/16557

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