How much is a top Google ranking worth?

Heads up! This post was written when Metric Marketing was known as Canada's Web Shop.
featured image Often when I am visiting clients and discussing our search engine optimization packages, I get the question “How much is a top Google ranking really worth”.  First let me explain search engine optimization (SEO).  SEO is an online marketing tactic where an SEO specialist makes modifications to your website and does certain tactics away from your website that increases your position in a Search Engine (i.e. Google) search results page.  First rule about SEO is that there are no guarantees.  If a company guarantees you a first page position they are either doing this work unethically or they are the founders of Google and are privy to the Google mathematical search algorithm – highly unlikely. :)

So what is a top Google ranking worth?  Well it depends on a few things:

  • What is the competitiveness of the target keyword? If no one searches for that keyword then the top position is worth nothing.
  • What is the conversion rate of the website on the target keyword? I.e. how many visitors does it take to convert into one sale?  
  • What is the value of each sale from that target keyword?
  • Where did the client initially rank for the target keyword and where do they rank now?

These items aside, there is some general research that outlines the value of a top position.

As you can see 42% of the clicks go to the number #1 ranked position and the clicks reduce from there with the entire second page still counting for 10% of the clicks (which is interesting).  So if you move from a #9 position to #1 you will increase your traffic from the keyword by 39% -- pretty powerful.

Another way to illustrate the value of a top ranking on Google is by using research from eye tracking analysis studies as presented in the graphic see below from

As you can see from the graphic the top position in Google generates 56% of the clicks and 28% of the total time that a unique visitor will spend on an average page.  Notice the significant difference between top spot and the last position.

In conclusion, is a top position generally worth a lot for an average competitive key phrase?  The answer is: definitely.  However, if your website is not aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, or does not have a clear call to action (to generate a lead or online sale etc.) all your work to get that top position will be wasted.  As the saying goes, you can bring a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.  On the web, the site itself is key to making the horse drink.  We advise clients to fix up their websites and ensure they are optimized for conversions before beginning tactics to increase visitation.  It’s not fun to spend money to increase your traffic and then see nothing for it.  The two tactics must go hand in hand.  Ethical, natural SEO can be very effective, but get your website analyzed first to determine if it is optimized for conversions. 

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