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we rose to #1 for our major keyword at the beginning of this month. we were #2 (actually #3 behind an indented second listing) for the previous months of the year.
1) the % of people who have found our site using just this one keyword has not changed significantly (approx. 9%)
2) the amount of traffic has not changed significantly.
3) the % of google referrals has gone up slightly from 30% to 33%, but we attribute this more to the fact that our forums have been spidered for the first time, and are bringing us a great deal of topic-related traffic.
i have always suspected that the difference between being #1 and #2 is negligible, and feel confident that this is now borne out by our stats.
anyway just wanted to share.
p.s. of course the image benefits of being #1 are FAR better for advertising sales ;-)
Traffic is traffic is traffic. Traffic is easy to get and if you want more traffic you can buy it if you like. But are you studying the traffic you get now? Working to increase your conversion rates? Getting people to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter? Are you giving people a reason to come back to your site? Are you tracking return visitors?
I'm sure the difference between first and second depends a lot on the query, but for the information thing that my search is, being first is likely better than the rest of the top ten put together.
I have an information site (i.e., an editorial or content site), and when I'm knocked out of the #1 position, it's usually by an obviously commercial site that's selling hotels, tours, or something similar. Since readers who search on those keyphrases are looking for general travel information, they probably just skip past the commercial sites until they find a site that matches what they're searching for--whether it's in the #1, the #3, or the #5 position on the SERP.
I think, that it doesn't matter so much on which position you are, it depends much more on which result page the link appears. As long as you are on the first result page, you get good traffic from Google.
1. The "title" of the site in the serps
2. The Google "Description" snippet given
3. The DMOZ/Google "Description" snippet given
4. The name of the page shown in serps " e.g. whether it is www.widgets.co.uk, or www.notwidgets.co.uk/somethingelse/somethingelse/widgets.co.uk
5. The search result "position".
The actual significance of each of 1-5 will depends upon the surfer and the particular search conducted. The surfer's own algorithm (his mind) will compute which of the search results he actually clicks on, depending upon the above.
I can see scenarios where moving from #1 to #2 has a significant result, and also situations when it is insignificant.
A. moving from #1 to #2 may significantly increase hits, where elements of 1-4 above are similar for both sites. i.e. the surfer likes the title, description, and name of the page for both sites, has nothing else to use to decide which site to click except its position.
B. Moving from #1 to #2 may have no significant impact of hits, where elements 1-4 for both sites are very different. For example, a site in #2 position may have a better title, decsription, and domain name which meets the needs of the vast majoirty of surfers searching using that search term, whilst the one in #1 position has a less meaningful title, description and perhaps a deeplinked page. In this case, the serps position has less relevance to surfer and instead elements 1-4 have greater significance.
But even if you get much less visitors for a page two position, the conversion may be much better than a high traffic search #1 position. My best converting page gets the lowest traffic of all pages. It's not the best selling page though. Just the one with the highest conversion rate. My future goal is to bring this page under the top 5 positions, get more visitors, therefor more sales - allthough i'm pretty sure, the conversion will go down compared to the current numbers, the income will (hopefully) go up - it's all relative.