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How much Traffic does Being Ranked 1 on Google Bring?

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of June 2006 Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

Ever wonder how much traffic the top keyword position on Google can bring in on a keyword?

Chris Smith sheds a little light on the topic and gives an example of one site he was working on that had a very popular term (which he calls ‘term X’ that fell from 1st to 2nd place for a few days:

‘I can tell you that our site receives approximately 30k of visits on average per day from Google, just from keyword searches for Term X. There’s typically one or two Sponsored Links just above us on the SERP, and a few Sponsored Links on the right side column, too.

When we dropped to second slot on the SERP for Term X, we lost approx 18k of visits per day. So, there it is: the difference between the number one slot and the number two slot for a major keyword term comes to about a 60% change in visits!’

He then finds terms that have similar levels of searches on Google Analytics to his ‘term X’ to show what other types of terms would be getting 30,000 or so visits a day from Google.

Now I’m not sure how accurate all his analysis is but it does show the power of being well ranked for popular terms can be!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Since blogs constantly change the content on their sites, it seems hard to have a consistent position on the SERPs. I know search engines don’t look soley at the content, but it does play a factor so it would be harder for blogs to remain at a high position for specific keywords.

    I believe MSN relies mostly on the context and have seen my blog jump all over the place each day depending on the posts I do for the day. Google relies a bit more on link popularity and is slower to update, though I don’t rank very well there so I can’t really track any results.

  2. There are some new emerging opportunities for using Google to drive traffic to a web site other than simply improving a site’s search engine rank. I outline some of these at:

    In a nutshell, as Google offers new services, it is also offering new opportunities to use its reach.

  3. Perhaps what might be more important than just the traffic numbers was whether or not the income from sales on that site dropped when it slipped to the number 2 spot.

    For several years my wife had a site that ranked as either number one or number two for a very competitive search term. Over that period while the amount of traffic did drop whenever she was down on the number 2 spot the income from sales didn’t take as big a dive as you might expect.

    We think that what we were seeing there was the tyre-kicker phenomena – lots of people who are just looking hit the site that’s on top while more serious buyers seem to be prepared to looker deeper before they make a purchase.

    I’ve spoken to Adwords advertisers who avoid the number one and number two spots in whatever terms they are focusing on for the same reason. Traffic goes up if they have hit the top spot but sales go down.

  4. It’s interesting but way too simplistic- it depends on the search term and the type of person searching for it. For some terms people do go through the results in order (yes the #1 still gets clicked first) but for other searches the #1 result is actually rubbish and it’s obvious from its description. I have actually avoided #1 position for a number of searches because of this.

    Still, it’s probably fair to say that a lot of people do click on #1 position.

    I agree with what Stuart says also.

  5. […] Being Ranked #1 on Google Darren Rowse at Problogger.net talks about a recent post by Chris Smith about being number one for a keyword on Google. In the article he makes mention of the difference between being in first and being in second on Google for a keyword and says the difference in traffic can be as much as 60%! I can tell you that our site receives approximately 30k of visits on average per day from Google, just from keyword searches for Term X. There’s typically one or two Sponsored Links just above us on the SERP, and a few Sponsored Links on the right side column, too. […]

  6. Stuart, I’ve noticed the same thing across a multitude of rankings. A lot of Google traffic is crap, IMHO, because it’s merely competing webmasters.

    Google has huge volume, but a ton of tire-kickers.

  7. Darren,
    I was, still am #1 for Brooke Brodack on Google, seems silly to be excited about it but its bringing me about 500 searches a day since its been in the news in some major publications. About her on YouTube. And with a solid YouTube fan base they all seem to “google her”.

    I’m doing this on a number of sites as well and these are brand new sites. Not sure what I’m doing differently but hey whatever it works. Thanks Google and let’s go drink to that.

    But in the long term does it equal readers which is what I really want. We will just have to wait and see.

  8. You make a good point Darren, and thanks for highlighting the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).
    When you post this, though, it makes me wonder, how come you ignored my tipoff about the Google Librarian Center and how Google would be developing algorithms accordingly? Well, I guess I can understand that issues with the new baby will take over and some things might fall through the cracks.

    To my fellow PB readers interested in the tipoff, I wrote a pillar article on the topic. It starts by showing the Center’s importance and giving proofs for it, then follows up with 4 SEO trends and tips for adapting. You can find it here:
    Google Librarian Program Means 4 SEO Trends

    If you just want the tips (I suggest you read the whole thing), you can start later into the topic:
    Google Development Trends, SEO Tips

    City Search Engine Optimization and Marketing by Bookworm, SEO/M specialist

  9. Wow, City SEO/M, you make it sound almost personal that Darren ‘ignored you’. You got your link, anyway.

  10. City SEO/M – to be honest I get around 50 ‘tipoffs’ every day from readers and I could quite easily spend most of my day reading them all and responding to them. Please don’t take my inaction on a tipoff personally – the day I got it I probably either:

    – felt I’d either posted enough content
    – didn’t feel the post was relevant
    – didn’t have time to read everything sent to me
    – was running my wife back and forwards to the doctor :-)

    I don’t post everything I’m sent (I probably post closer to 10% of it) – no offense.

  11. our experience is that it does bring in some traffic for sure… but I think it depends on the keyword. If it’s a popular keyword phrase that i guess traffic could be enormous.

  12. This issue perhaps reflects more on the way people search rather than what they are searching for.

    Being ‘on the inside’ of web development and general web usage, I guess (as I have no proof that everyone is like me) most people who run websites or weblogs search in different ways to those who are casual internet users.

    The person on the inside is likely to search for a term, scan not only the link returned by the search engine but also the accompanying text, whether the link is sponsored, and the general ‘feel’ for what the link is implying (its structure and context in relation to the search).

    The casual user is more likely to search, look at the first link (regardless of being sponored or not) and click it. And then work their way down the links until they find what they want, sometimes leaving a site before its half loaded.

    I find these days that I may ignore the first half-dozen links returned, based on the information presented in that all important first few lines of text under the link.

    Am I missing some good sites? – possibly, but if this method means that the first link I hit means I find the information I need, without having to hit multiple spam sites first……

  13. […] How much Traffic does Being Ranked 1 on Google Bring? The 80/20 rule applies to SEO (Search Engine Optimzation). Someone has a 60% difference in traffic between position 1 and 2 in the Google search results. […]

  14. […] Update: In June, Chris Smith revealed some results pertaining to the difference of being No. 1 and No. 2 on Google (found via ProBlogger). The difference described is substantially less than what AOL data shows, but is still significant nevertheless (No. 2 receives 40% less traffic than No. 1). […]

  15. I think ranks on #1 or # 2 do not have a huge different like this article mentioned (60 %) . It is because most of the visitors will try to get more information and COMPARE, and this is what Internet is good for.

  16. I have a website was rank no.1 before and now rank no.3.
    the different only 10-15 % I think your 60 % is too much. maybe is the nature of keywords is different.

  17. We get traffic from many keywords, Moving Boxes is the top keywork but we settled for Discount Moving Boxes which brings lots of traffic.

  18. I’m not sure if the drop would be THAT much from position 1 and position 2. In the end of the day, its about qualified clicks isn’t it? Many ppl would just click on the first position because its there, realise it isnt the right one for them, scan a little further down the page before clicking on the other listing. I’d dare say that at least 25% of the 60% difference would be this case? anyone else agree?

  19. I have had a solar panel site ranked on 1st page of google and yahoo for competitive terms. I also have another high traffic property site that has dropped from no 1 to number 4. The difference in traffic to the property site was 75% less at number 4 than position 1. Solar panels used to get 20 uniques a day at number 7 when hit number 2 that went up to 45 uniques a day. So work the ratios out. I think it all really does not matter as the keyword tools are only estimators the proof is in the pudding. It takes a lot of work to rank well so keep on putting the hours in. Some you win, some you lose, but so what theirs a new niche every day.

  20. wow, such a huge drop in just one slot. then what about those who are not on first page of google at all?

  21. I believe this data would vary drastically depending on your keywords, your site niche and search engines. Being ranked first on a particular keyword may not be continuous for long, it may vary depending on your sites content. But dropping by 60% in site traffic just because your moved to second position is little hard to believe. But i guess, these are experts speaking, and they know hard facts.

  22. I have several key words that have given me good results . The highest search was being in the six place out of 18,000K. But income from partners I am associated ,does not reflect my high ranking on search engines. What I do not have clear is that if your site appears in the first places that goes from 18000 to some millions pages in search engines results, shown on the upper right side,and depending of the time search is made, is related to traffic and this at the time should show- up in your income?
    thank you for your answer

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