How much does being no.1 really matter?

A lot of importance is put on being number 1, coming first, being better than the rest. But does it really matter?

Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats for example came 3rd in the UK General Election, and look at the power they’re are now wielding, or Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent 2009 who is certainly not complaining. But when in the world of “Search” coming second is a different matter!

I’ve just been going through Googles Webmaster tools, a mine of information about your site, which supplements Google Analytics. Specifically what you can now see in Webmaster Tools is the quantity of impressions your keywords or phrases get in the Google search results and the number of clicks they produce. You can also drill down to see how many clicks you get dependant on your position in the search results.

Webmaster Tools search results

Clicks by position - click for larger view

What you can see from the results is a stark contrast between appearing first or appearing second in Google. If you click on the image for a larger view you’ll see that in both first and second position for this search term my result appeared 590 times. For position one I got 320 clicks but when my result appeared second I only got 73 clicks.

Now lets put that into perspective, say I sold products and that the site had a conversion rate of 2%, click to sale, with an average spend of £50.

  • Position 1 becomes worth £320
  • Position 2 becomes worth £73

Therefore, being first in the search results can be worth over 4 times as much in terms of revenue with the right keywords or phrases.

About Sean Clark

Building successful online companies since 1999, we help you market your business online. Whether you need help with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search (PPC) or Social Media Marketing call us today on 01603 343477 for a free initial consultation.

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  • thepaulsilver

    You are assuming though that the conversion rate by position is equal, something that is not the case in Paid Search; quite often lower positions (ie. 3 or 4) convert better than position 1…

  • Of course, the conversion rate may differ by position but with such a large difference in click through rate I think in most cases you’d still get a better ROI with position 1. Also, have in mind that these are natural search results, once you start to look at paid results you can often get more clicks from a lower position. With paid search you have the luxury of testing and can control your ad position more than you can with natural search.