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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.
When in such a position as 9, 10 or 11 I like to think ... "I am just passing though".
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' :)
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.
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?
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.
[edited by: martinibuster at 5:29 am (utc) on April 2, 2003]
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.:(
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.
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.