Importance of Search Engine Results Position

Page One of Google: Important?

We give a lot of attention to position in search engine results. When a searcher enters a query and Google tells them of the thousands of results found, how far into that list do they typically go looking for a site to visit? Is it just the first page? Or do they typically go through several pages searching for the desired result? There is a recent quality study by Optify based on a lot of data that gives answers to some of these questions, and tells us how much importance we should give to position in search engine results.

The Study

The study used 250 randomly chosen sites and 10,000 keywords. Using their software to gather data, they were able to identify the average clickthrough ratios for URLs that appeared at various positions in Google organic (free) search results. This chart, from the study, shows that position #1 has a CTR exceeding 35%, while position #2 is only 12%. In fact, being shown in position #1, on the average, will give your site more visitors than are received by the sites in positions #2 and #3 combined.

Organic Position and Clickthrough Rate

There’s a small drop between #10 and #11, because that’s the end of page one. It’s easy to see from the chart that appearing on page 2 is not nearly as good as appearing on page 1. The authors of the study provided another graph that highlights the advantage of appearing on page 1:

Organic Clickthrough Rate and Conversion

This chart dramatically illustrates the importance of appearing on page 1. The average page 1 entry has a CTR of 8.9%, while the average page 2 entry has a CTR of 1.5%. Page 1 on the average gives CTRs that are nearly 4 times as high as page 2.
In my experience, it’s often difficult for small businesses to hold the #1 spot on Google results (depending on lots of factors), but it’s useful for them to make the effort to appear on page 1, and this is a practical goal for small businesses, over time.

The Bottom Line

Your position in search engine results has huge impact on the effectiveness of your Web marketing efforts. There’s a lot more to do turning visitors into customers, but you need good position in search engine results to bring them to the site in the first place. Make the investment in time and money to get onto page 1.

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