There are a lot of people out there that will tell you that organic positioning is not important. Some go one to say that “as long as you are found on page 1 you are ok.” But some recent research done by Compete sheds a different light on the theory that search engine rankings are not as important as they used to be.
Back “in the day” everyone performing SEO services used to say that if you weren’t in the top 3-5 then you weren’t in the game. Somehow over the past few years the general consensus among some SEOs was that ranking wasn’t as important as it used to be.
Recent research by Compete tells a different story though. Based on an analysis of tens of millions of search results pages Compete was able to not only determine things like how many pages have ads, but what position in the organic (as well as paid) results is best in terms of number of clickthroughs.
Finding #1 – Ratio of organic to paid listings
Through their analysis, Compete was able to identify that 55% of all search results pages have at least one paid ad on the page.
However, the overwhelming majority of search results are organic. In fact 85% of all results are organic while only 15% of results found on a search results page are sponsored.
One thing to consider is that not all searches are for products or services. Some are research in nature while others are informational. That would explain why there isn’t ads on more search results. For example, someone looking for information on how to fix their computer’s hard drive isn’t likely to want to see (or click on) an ad to sell them a new computer.
Finding #2 – Organic Rank IS Important
To me, the most important finding in this study is just how important organic rank is. Not only do more organic results get clicked on but if you aren’t in the top 5 you aren’t playing with the “big boys”. Fully 87% of all organic clicks happen in the first 5 results.
Think about that for a second. 87% of ALL clicks go to the top 5 organic results.
What’s more, more than half of all clicks happen with result #1. That’s right. The number 1 result gets 53% of all clicks!
Now, one would think that the #2 result would be close behind, but in reality, the Compete research shows a breakdown of the top 5 like this:
#1 – 53%
#2 – 15%
#3 – 9%
#4 – 6%
#5 – 4%
Again, IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE TOP 5 YOU ARE NOT IN THE GAME! 77% of all clicks go to the top 3 organic results.
Interestingly – the first paid listing also gets the most clicks. And the breakdown is almost the same. Over 80% of all paid clicks go to the top 3 results.
What do the Results Tell Me?
The results tell me that people trust the search engines will return the most relevant results to their search query at the top of the page.
While it is true that some people will scroll down and even click through to page 2 and beyond, most people consider the top results to be the most relevant and likely to suit their needs.
Therefore you MUST be #1.
This also tells me that your keyword research must also properly identify what people are looking for. Then your SEO program must be devised to get you to the top 1-3 results for those search terms. Otherwise your efforts are a waste.
Sure you will get some searchers. But do you want to be found by the 2% or the 88%?
Click here to get the report from the Compete website. all you need to do is supply your email address.