How much of it is real? Analysis of paid placement in web search engine results

Scott Nicholson, Tito Sierra, U. Yeliz Eseryel, Ji Hong Park, Philip Barkow, Erika J. Pozo, Jane Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Most Web search tools integrate sponsored results with results from their internal editorial database in providing results to users. The goal of this research is to get a better idea of how much of the screen real estate displays "real" editorial results as compared to sponsored results. The overall average results are that 40% of all results presented on the first screen are "real" results, and when the entire first Web page is considered, 67% of the results are nonsponsored results. For general search tools such as Google, 56% of the first screen and 82% of the first Web page contain nonsponsored results. Other results include that query structure makes a significant difference in the percentage of nonsponsored results returned by a search. Similarly, the topic of the query also can have a significant effect on the percentage of sponsored results displayed by most Web search tools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-461
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Feb 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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