Is Ranking In the Number 1 Position Important?

Is search engine optimization important? How do you know that ranking in the top few positions or so will get you THAT much more traffic to your site?

What is search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is the process of implementing keywords into a website in places where search-bots are known to crawl when looking for relevant keywords. These search-bots then use the keywords they find to apply relevance to that particular site. The site will then, hopefully with correct optimization tactics implemented, rank on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing.

But is it absolutely necessary to obtain the first position in Google for organic rankings? Or is position 5, 6, or 7 just as good at driving traffic organically to a site?

According to an eye tracking analysis study conducted by Cornell University, it was found that having a website listed in the 10th position on the first page of results in Google didn’t mean that the site was going to receive the least amount of traffic. In fact, position 7 received the lowest amount of traffic.

Average time spent before clicking.

It was found on average, it took 7.78 seconds for a user to select which link they were going to click on within Google while browsing. For the first two organic results in Google, the average time for a user to decide which result they were going to click on was the same amount of time. It was found, however, that after the second organic result, fixation time drops off more quickly.

Moving down the first page of results from the 6th to the 10th organic listings, viewing time and the number of clicks dropped significantly with test subjects. This is likely the fact these results “blend in” between the top results and bottom. For these listings, they receive approximately equal attention in both clicks and viewing time. The conclusion was, once a user begins to scroll down the page, the rank becomes less of an influence for attention. These findings are illustrated in the image below.

Total number of clicks distributed between listings

What’s interesting about where users clicked is organic listing #7 only received 0.36% of the total percentage of clicks, compared to result #10 (at the bottom of the page) which received a higher percentages of total clicks. Position #7 is likely where the “fold” of the browser would be – making the point that when a user has to scroll for information “below the fold” there is a good chance any information in that area on a web page will be missed by the visitor.

This is also likely the explanation for position #10 having a higher percentage of clicks – as the user has scrolled to the bottom of the page, resulting in their eye missing result #9 and going directly to result #10.

Another interesting finding in the study found that users spend most of their time looking at the left side of the search engine – or specifically where keywords are generally inserted into title tags within an optimization implementation. This makes sense as we all read from left to right. As the image shows below, the majority of the user’s eye movement was focused where keywords have been inserted:

Ranking in the #1 and #2 organic positions are clearly the best positions to rank in to attract a high percentage of organic clicks to a site; however it is good to know that if your site is 10th, you are still attracting a higher percentage of clicks than the #9th and #7th positions. Ensure your site also includes keywords that are being used by internet users to search for your products in the title tag, as the second image indicates that if keywords are present, users are already spending more time looking at these areas for information and if they see the keywords they searched with present in these areas, they are more likely to click. Contact 6S Marketing today about improving your site’s organic optimization.

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