“Fastest tab” beats Google rank?

We had an interesting conversion here at SC Towers this week about user behaviour, performance and tabbed browsers.

The key insight was about how we use the “Open Link in New Tab” feature when looking at Google results or any other search/comparison engine results list.

Most of us then do a quick “Open Link in New Tab” on about 4 or 5 entries on the results list that look interesting or are “at the right price” and then CLICK ON THE TAB THAT LOADS FIRST.

So, in effect, the “fastest tab” wins, REGARDLESS of the order that they may have been returned in the Google or comparison engine ranking.

Yes, the higher ranking entry is most likely to be the one that you “Open Link in New Tab” first and hence gets a “head start” whilst you move your mouse down and do the next right click to launch the next tab but that time delay is usually quite small.

If the first site is a second or two slower than the next opened tab it is quite possible that it will be bypassed as the user interacts with the first available tab.

Most of us also agreed that if the first available tab has what we wanted (the right product at the right price or the information we were looking for) we might never even look at the other tab.

So whilst the other sites’ analytics still might register a visit it never actually had one… and all because someone else’s site was just faster enough to snag the user’s attention first.

The real question is how representative are our browsing habits of the wider population?

Do you use your tabbed browser in the same way?