A report published by Search Engine Watch revealed that of 62 percent of respondents from a recent study do not want to see social results on the search engine results page (SERP). According to the study, only 19 percent of respondents said they find social results in the SERP beneficial. The report cites distraction and privacy concerns as the reasons the majority of respondents do not want social mixed with search results.
The survey asked a variety of questions about SERP layout preferences, including which search engine, Bing or Google, respondents favor for seeing social results. Results indicated that 63 percent of searchers prefer the layout of Bing’s SERP, which has social results off to the side, whereas only 37 percent prefer Google’s SERP layout, which integrates social results into the natural search results listing.
When asked about how the universal results are presented by each search engine, 53 percent of respondents preferred Google’s layout, as opposed to Bing (31 percent). The survey also asked respondents to express how they feel about the presentations of the specific aspects of universal search results, including news, shopping, and images. The largest discrepancy appeared in news, where Google had a user preference of 49 percent and Bing had 23 percent; the remaining 28 percent of respondents had no preference.
Based on the survey findings, searchers do not currently benefit from the inclusion of social in their SERPs. According to the report conclusions, search engines must step back and reevaluate the impact a continually evolving SERP has on searcher opinion, interaction, and practice.