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How does traffic fall off?
Difference between #1, #3 and #10 postition?

 1:59 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am curious to find out how traffic falls off from the #1 position. What percentage of traffic comes from a #1, versus a #3, #5 or #10 position. Also, which is better, being on the bottom of the first page or the top of the second?



 2:12 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Others will have more in the way of hard and fast stats to offer you, but I'll take anything in the top 5 as we don't see a great difference. Especially 1-3. Position 10? That will do, too. We rely on "hook" titles to draw the viewer in and do not see a drastic drop off just as long as we are in the mix...

The bottom of page one beats the top of page two by a country mile, though. No two ways about it. In my experience, if you are not on page one then you are not seriously in the game for the keyword.


 2:16 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

One more quick note. We usually see higher response rates from position 2 or 3 verses position 1 on Overture keys. A somewhat different animal and mindset of the searcher, yes, but still noteworthy.


 2:45 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

In my experience, I've seen a remarkable difference between being number 1 on the results page or 3rd or 4th. I don't have the percentages to hand, but I noticed a lot more hits because of the higher placing after the last update.
Shoestring is right, anywhere on page one has to be better than the second page.


 3:04 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>I noticed a lot more hits because of the higher placing after the last update

What's the conversion rate though...? ;)


 3:21 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I personally like to shoot for the top 10 always inching my way closer to the number one position. While it might be true that a number 11 or 12 listing will out preform a number 9 or 10 listing I always like to be heading towards the top.

When in such a position as 9, 10 or 11 I like to think ... "I am just passing though".



 4:21 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can share the situation of watching a competitor who was two and moved to one. The site had a counter (oops on their part). Keyword was a garden accessory. Former #1 site was actually a software company that offered desktop software that was a virtual version of the garden accessory. Competitor which was #2 moved to number one and had a 50% increase in traffic. Might have been influenced by the fact that former number one got lots of traffic by being a "novel" version of the garden accessory and not really what surfers were looking for.


 4:32 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

IF all the search results is relevant, then I think is as follow

#1 50~60%
#2 30~40%
#3 20~30%
leftover? < 10%

I want to stress that if results are relevant, different in just 1 ranking can increase (or decrease) in a large amount of visitors.

Postion #10 or #11 (2nd page)?

IF the search is relevant, you might still get some 'water splashes' :)


 4:37 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

>The site had a counter (oops on their part). <

What's wrong with having a counter?


 4:57 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

anywhere on page one has to be better than the second page.

It's a little more subtle than this. Kind of like saying that a roundhouse to the temple is better than a body shot: It depends on the boxer that is delivering the body shot, and who is the opponent receiving the blows.

Title Tag
For instance, consider your Title Text; Is the Title Text not only relevant to the keyword, but does it ALSO say something compelling to the surfer? Many people optimize their title tags with nothing but keywords and the plural of said keywords. This may get you in the top 10, but it doesn't compel anyone to click on you.

Does your description say something compelling to the surfer, something that will convince them that you are the site they are looking for? Or is it a Ransom Note pulled from different paragraphs within the body text, or worse, from the Alt Tags?

Your Competition
What do their listings look like? Do they have well crafted Titles and Descriptions? Are they relevant to the surfers you are targeting? If not, then it doesn't matter if you are in the top 5. You could be in the bottom 5 and that's all right.

PAY PER CLICK: The Great Spoiler.
Pay per click reminds me of the horse races. PPC is like that untested horse with the 20-1 odds... that comes in 3rd place and ruins your trifecta.

If you have a quality scripted position in the top 5, then you have a strong opportunity. BUT, I have some well scripted AdWords that consistently receive a 12-50% click through rates, beating out my ransom note competitors.

Even on pages where I sit on positions 3,4,5, and 6, with a well scripted Title and Description, I can still score a 12% CTR with a well written ad that exactly targets my audience. Many surfers are lazy: They go for a well scripted ad like bees to a flower.

Do not underestimate the power of a quality scripted ad.

Position Is Not Everything
It's a little more subtle than that.

:) Y

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:29 am (utc) on April 2, 2003]


 5:00 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with having a counter?

With a free counter, anybody can click on it and see your stats.

Alternately, with a free JavaScripted counter you can look at the source code, glean the account number, then head over to the stats company and enter the code and see your business.


 5:04 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

What's wrong with having a counter?

Nothing, he/she was able to follow the competitions stats however.
Of course, watching a counter doesn't give anywhere near the whole picture.
Some other things to consider. I've made changes which resulted in the site moving up nicely, but hurt the description. The overall effect was a drop in traffic.:(


 5:17 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well said martini.

SEO tends to make us focus too much on actual ranks. But when presented with the "top of the fold" of results, link text or even a descrition that seems like it will answer the person's question straight away and quickly has a prime advantage.

Of course "above the fold" differs according to screen resolution and window sizes used. But we tend to think 1 to 3 or 4 is a good guess for above the fold for the majority of people.

We tend to think with a very relevant and compelling link text (remember the page title is bolded and underlined) and a good descr, anything above the fold on page one is as good as each other.

Your post was very timely.


 7:03 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well I have experienced moving from 11, top of second page to ten, bottom of first page and recieved probably 50-60% less traffic. May just be me though.


 9:03 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, which is better, being on the bottom of the first page or the top of the second?

Anywhere on the first page is better than the top of the second page.


 9:12 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Oh, and regarding

What percentage of traffic comes from a #1, versus a #3

It is important to have good titles. The good title at #3 can sometimes draw more traffic than the dull title at #1.


 9:20 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also, which is better, being on the bottom of the first page or the top of the second?

Remember Y! has a default of 20 results per page with no indented results. This means the higher the better, regardless of #10 or #11 on Google. #11 on Google can easily be #7 on Y!.


 9:25 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I get few visitors so I have no meaningful stats to offer, but being in an obscure field, I sometimes find that people have found me at "111-120", "301-400" or similar SERPs to show that a minority will go to big lengths to find you. Unfortunately for them, I rank #1 for my main audience, so they were not looking for me but some odd combination of terms on my page.

- Ash


 9:29 am on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)


Yes, I am one of those users who never click on the first in the serps. I always start searching from #2 on the first page.

(Don't ask me why)


 4:56 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Being the good social science major that I was back in school, I always try to keep consumer behavior and mentality in mind. Alot has to be said for the importance that Western culture puts on #1...it is the best, #1 is the winner, SERP 2 came in second so they must be ok too, etc. I like the horse race analogy.


 5:10 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Who said "second ones have to try harder / serve better"?

My experience for specific keywords is: #1 to #3, maybe #5 is not such a big difference. But title counts!

brotherhood of LAN

 5:14 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

above the fold

Definetely, and at the bottom of the top 10 or the "bottom fold" might have an "extra" bonus, particularly number 10 (you get a chance to read it even if youre clicking on the "next" link?)

The platform too. Found my site in the "top 5" on a mobile phone ;)


 5:36 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you are not in the top 5 and your site is chosen, I have found the users to have definitely looked at the description and title rather than randomly clicking. I'm not actually selling anything, but some of my pages appearing 21-30 for non-targeted combination keywords surrounded by quite a bit of jargon, unless of course people are clicking every page in the results.


 6:01 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

I ahve seen, in my logs, click-throughs form place 40 or even 50+. What does that say about hte visitor? Could it be they've checked all the others and not found what they needed?

Does anybody else get strange click-throughs from google like that occasionally?


 6:15 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Killroy. Im not surprised that people click on from pos 40 or 50 or even much more. If im searching for things, i tend to scan through the titles, decription and URL on one page and often go to 3 or 4 pages to look for something specifically i want. Basically i have even more trust in the value of the titles and googles very useful ransom notes than i do have of their industry leading rankings. I never search for one words however, always 2 or 3 word phrases, maybe more. Maybe people looking for specific information will look much further down than just the first few listings or even pages.


 6:20 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Chiyo, that makes sense. But of course we have all seen the people who search for "car" or in my case the country name. What do they expect to find?


 12:08 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I just found a recent German study done with interviews saying that 30,1 % clicked on "one of the first links" and 39 % were looking at the whole first page before clicking on a link.


 12:49 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

just to add my tuppence worth -

I agree with those who point out that title text and spoiler are very very important. Overall, 60% of people might click on number one, but if your title text stands out as being very clear, relevant and interesting you will be clicked on.

We have a site that bounces around the top 20 (mostly going down because the server is v unreliable) and find that whenever we're on page 1 we get loads of clicks and hardly any on page 2. Being in the top half of page 1 helps a bit too, but there is no difference at all between being #1 or #3. I put it all down to targeting a not very serious audience and having the word "arse" in the title.


 3:54 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

our site is for a specific audience with very small numbers, after putting it up in november and getting virtually zilch on google from page 5, we were then on page 3 (26th) no.s doubled then page 2 (11th) doubled again, and now 4th on 1st it has doubled again, its only low hundreds but it brings us good business (time of year helps tremendously). im happy if we are in view on the page without scrolling, rather be top of page 2 than bottom of page 1, personal preference.

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