Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What will a top listing get you?

When I began with the SEO, I had this problem. I obviously knew that I wanted the top positions in the SERPs but I wasn't sure why. My boss would ask me, what is the difference in CTR between the number 1 result, and the number 7. Or 1 &3. Paid and Natural. I never knew exactly what to tell him. Sooooo I did what I always do when I am asked a question to which I don't know the answer. I researched it. The answers have direct baring on your online marketing mix. This is what I found:

This data is accurate as of February 2005

  • 60% of all searchers clicked on the first three Organic listings
  • 85% clicked on the first three PAID listings
  • 95% of users use Google sometimes or often, while 64 percent use it as their primary search engine
  • More than 92 percent of searchers never use brand names as search terms.
  • A majority of 70 to 80 percent of buyers searched on generic terms, with searches on brand names peaking immediately before purchase.
  • 97% of Google searchers don't click past the first three pages
  • There is a 300% increase in unique visitors when moving from page 2 in the SERPS to page 1.
  • Eye Tracking Study for SERPs

This data has some incredible implications. For example, we can extrapolate from this data that because searchers search on generic terms and because they shop around (clicking in and out of sites) and because generic terms typically cost more than specific ones in paid search that free natural ranking is very valuable. Natural High ranking should be sought after for higher keywords, while brands and more specific keywords SHOULD be targeted with PPC.

Think about it. According to the data which you can find in the links below, a higher percentage of searchers click the top paid listings than the top natural listings. AND when people do search on brand names or very specific terms they are usually about to purchase.

So doesn't it stand to reason that you want to be at the top of the most clicked on part of the page for terms which are likely to have a higher conversion rate? If these searchers are ready to buy and they find a price in their range, they may never even get to natural search. All other things being equal (usability, conversion rates between natural and paid, etc), you want that top spot for those specific terms!

So. Those are my thoughts on the matter. Enjoy them.

Googling the bottom line.
Google Stats


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