Copywriting, Guidance, Marketing, SEO, Strategy

What’s the value of a first-page google position?

Wherever in the world you’re based and wherever in the world you sell your wares, you really are on top of the world if you’re on Page One of Google. Because Page One gets a gobsmacking 92% of all the traffic while anyone on Page Two has to scrape by on a measly 5%.

What does a first-page Google position really mean?

Thing about business is that no matter what field or industry you’re in, pretty much all of us, from the striving freelancer to the corporate giants, tend to be very competitive types. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact you could say it’s an essential trait in anyone who hopes to be successful in business.

Jockeying for position.

So it’s hardly surprising that we’re all constantly jockeying for position in those all-important Google rankings as well as in the day-to-day business of striving to outwit, outsell and out-perform our rivals in our particular marketplace. Of course the visibility or otherwise of your business on Google is probably correlated with its performance and hence profitability – but that’s not necessarily the case. So don’t go too green with envy just because your leading competitor’s right up there on Google – there are countless ways in which a company can fritter away that hard-earned competitive advantage. But that’s a story for another day.

A yardstick for our marketing activity.

The fact remains that for most of us, Google ranking is the rough and ready yardstick we use to measure the result of our marketing activity. So when assessing, say, our latest efforts at optimising our SEO, the immediate question is, where did we rank before? And where do we rank now. And broadly speaking those are two perfectly valid questions – to which the answers should prove enlightening as to your campaign’s success or otherwise.

And a very accurate one – up to a point!

On the face of it, it’s downright conclusive. There’s no question that a really prominent Google position has a massive effect on your page traffic. In a study that assessed tens of millions of ad impressions, online network Chitika concludes that regardless of the page you appear on… regardless of whether your listing appears on page 1, 2, 3, 4, or 54, the business listed first on that page will benefit from 33% of all the traffic. And the figure plunges depressingly steeply as your position slips down the page: 18% for second highest, 11% for third… The reduction in traffic seems almost exponential by the time you get to tenth on the page – dropping by 140% for the eleventh position.

Page One – it’s the only place to be.

It’s worth pointing out that these results are based on search results in the US and Canada – but since Google is an American company but, let’s face it, a truly global phenomenon, we think it’s safe to assume that these results hold true for the UK, continental Europe and, indeed, the rest of the world.

Wherever in the world you’re based and wherever in the world you sell your wares, you really are on top of the world if you’re on Page One of Google. Because Page One gets a gobsmacking 92% of all the traffic while anyone on Page Two has to scrape by on a measly 5%.

But it’s not as simple as that…

Of course it isn’t. Nothing on the internet’s ever as simple as it looks, is it! Remember when the whole world revolved around getting yourself included in those ten links at the top of the page that were highlighted in blue? There was a time when your SEO campaign had a simple, single-minded aim: to get you to the number one slot on page one of Google (or indeed Yahoo or Altavista in the very old days)…

To a large extent, it still is. But since those simple years of the early noughties and before, Google began beefing up the status of anyone who made it to the number one slot. Just by achieving that rank, you got more site links with expanded descriptions and links to more other pages… Instantly you had the effect of shoving whoever’s Number 2 further down.

Fresh challenges provide us with new tools.

Bringing things right up to date, you may well have noticed that they’re taking this ‘reward’ for being ‘Number One’ even further these days. In addition to your blue-highlighted listing, you get a nice big box to the right of the page featuring a potted history, loads of image links and, quite often, the phone number, postal address and even a link for directions… You don’t even need to click on a link or go to a website to get the information you’re after.

That gives the ‘Number One’ a massive advantage over everyone lower on the page. And if you think that makes things complicated for us SEO guys, how about the fact that there are well over 75 different variations on this Google ‘Top of the Pops’ theme. We’re sure your heart goes out to us in sympathy! But seriously, the whole business of improving your Google page ranking has now got so complex, with so many subtleties, that SEO is more crucial to business success than ever before. And consequently harder than ever to get right.

This isn’t the place to dwell in detail on the dark arts we practice on our clients’ behalf. Suffice to say there’s never time for complacency in an arena that never ever stands still. Yes, we know our stuff – but that never means there’s any shortage of new stuff to learn. And we think the good news is that each new set of SEO complexities and challenges gives us a fresh set of tools with which to engineer the right results that reap rewards.

See how we can help you with your quest to page one…


Journal Home