A new study shows that ranking first for a keyword nets an average of 36.4 percent of organic clicks but ranking second nets just 12.5 percent, emphasizing the importance of a number one ranking. Before we examine the data closer, one important note is that the study did not include PPC clicks and thus the actual percentage on the whole could be lower when you factor in PPC ads.
Here is a breakdown of the average CTR by position:
Position 1: 36.4%
Position 2: 12.5%
Position 3: 9.5%
Position 4: 7.9%
Position 5: 6.1%
Position 6: 4.1%
Position 7: 3.8%
Position 8: 3.5%
Position 9: 3.0%
Position 10: 2.2%
If the data is correct, one could essentially triple their revenue for a particular keyword by advancing from second to first. This would certainly change how companies approach the SEO process, because many companies optimize a specific keyword up to a point then focus on optimizing other keywords, repeating the process until each keyword is theoretically in first position. Let’s look at the following example and assume that search query volume (1,000), lead revenue ($25) and conversion rate (8 percent) for these keywords is identical and no PPC ads are clicked:
Keyword A: Position 2 – 10 Sales, Revenue $250
Keyword B: Position 7 – 3 Sales, Revenue $75
Many firms will turn their attention to boosting keyword B under the assumption that at the present time, keyword A has been sufficiently optimized and resources for keyword A can be shifted towards B. Let’s assume two weeks of work to get A to rank first on a consistent basis and two weeks of work will boost Keyword B to position 4.
Keyword A: Position 2 -> Position 1
Sales 10 -> 29
Revenue $250 -> $725
Revenue change +$475
Keyword B: Position 7 -> Position 4
Sales 3 -> 6
Revenue $75 -> $150
Revenue change +$75
While increasing three positions may look better on a client report, increasing one position nets an additional $400 in this example.
Some other things to consider when looking at overall organic CTR factors:
– Quality of PPC ads (bad ads will likely produce more organic visits, good ads will likely produce fewer organic clicks)
– Quality of organic titles and meta descriptions (CTR will vary based on whether tags are stuffed with keywords or include messaging)
– Presence of map (a huge map is going to push listings down to the point where being 10th in regular results is essentially invisible
This isn’t the first time a study has estimated the value of ranking first for a keyword. Multiple studies have shown that ranking first nets you between 34 and 46 percent of clicks but some of the earlier studies were conducted before the creation of diversified search landing pages with more options, maps, etc…. Remember though, being number one and getting the associated traffic is meaningless if it doesn’t convert.