Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog

11Apr/08Off

Is ranking in the top 10 good enough?

It seems that most webmasters and internet marketers have the goal of getting their sites onto page one of Google. I admit that I, too, feel a sense of joy and satisfaction when my sites hit the top 10 for my keywords.

But is the top 10 good enough? Should you rest on your laurels once you've achieved page one ranking? Not according to the AOL search data that was compromised in 2006. Yes, that data is two years old, but I think it's important to revisit those results and remind ourselves of what it revealed.

That compromised data gave us the following break-down of the percentage of clicks received by each of the top 11 search results:

Rank Percent
1 22.6%
2 6.4%
3 4.5%
4 3.2%
5 2.6%
6 2.1%
7 1.8%
8 1.6%
9 1.5%
10 1.6%
11 0.35%

 
"Wait," you say, "those numbers barely add up to 50%!" That's true. According to the AOL data, that's because 46% of all queries resulted in no clicks -- meaning that the user didn't see what they were looking for and so tried something else or moved on.

There are a few points I want to make about this. First, this is data from AOL, and without being too unkind to AOL users, well, they're not the savviest of searchers. That makes a difference. I would theorize that Google searchers would be a bit more prone to "dig" for the result they need, especially since in my own experience the figures aren't quite so drastic as this data shows.

That said, though, this chart helps to demonstrate the vast difference between the #1 ranking for a set of keywords and all of the other rankings. Basically, the number one ranking gets the lion's share of the traffic, and the other 9 of the top 10 just get the tricklings.

Number 11, the first result on page 2, gets virtually no traffic at all. I included it in the results to demonstrate how little effect a page 2 ranking has on your traffic.

This is one of the reasons I advocate trying to rank for a series of long-tail keywords, and not putting all of your efforts into one set of very popular keywords. Getting to #1 for a single set of competitive keywords requires an exponential amount more effort than ranking #1 for dozens of long-tail keywords. And, as demonstrated by this data, those dozens of "lesser" rankings will be far more valuable to the bottom line of your traffic than a #9 or #10 ranking for a competitive keyword.

Let me illustrate.

Let's say that your niche has a set of competitive keywords that generates 10,000 searches a day. Sounds like a goldmine if you have a page one ranking right? Let's see.

If you managed to get on page one, but only rank #9, based on the AOL data you would only get 150 of those visitors to your site (4,500 or so per month). However, if you manage to rank #1 for 10 keywords that each only receive 1,000 searches a day, you would get 226 visitors (6,780 or so per month). That's 150% more traffic for the long-tail keywords. And I promise you, it's dramatically easier to achieve (and maintain) 10 less competitive rankings than it is for one super-competitive one. In fact, in many cases you can achieve multiple #1 rankings for long-tail keywords with the same quantity of links needed just to get you on page one for the super-competitive keywords!

Just ask the happy 3WayLinks.net customer who recently posted at the users' forum regarding their first $369 day in affiliate profits. Or another forum poster who reached his first $100+ AdSense day thanks to 3WayLinks' ranking his sites for lesser-competition keywords.

So remember, when planning your keyword targets for your web site, don't forget to target a variety of long-tail keywords. Even if you are planning on going after a competitive set of keywords, still keep the long-tail on your agenda, and give them at least as much of your time and resources. Do so and you'll reap the rewards to be found in Google's "low hanging fruit."