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How high do you need to rank to get traffic?

There is a common teaching among seo training experts and consultants that unless your site is ranked number one in the search engine results pages you won’t get much of the available traffic. It is claimed that the number one site for a given keyword phrase gets 40% of the traffic, with the number ten only getting about 10% of that.

While we are not going to argue with the fact that the top ranked page often gets the most of the search traffic for a given keyword phrase, we would point out that things aren’t quite as simple as some gurus would lead you to believe. There are variables to consider. A lot of the time, the traffic share is quite even across the top ten search results pages. Read on to discover what the influencing factors are.

Let’s start with factors that influence the click through rates ( CTRs ) of the entire top ten unpaid search engine listings.

Google maps/my business listings

With local search phrases there will be a maps section at the top of the page that contains three listings for businesses that cover the geographic location referenced in the search term. Organic listings will then appear below these, often below the fold. And if there are also adwords ads above the fold, the natural results will be pushed down even further. Unsurprisingly, this negatively affects the traffic share for all organic results but a number one organic ranking would offer the best chance of getting decent traffic volume.

Google adwords search ads

Most keywords worth targeting with your seo campaigns will have adwords advertisers, which will appear at the top and right hand side of the SERPs. As with the maps listings, this will take up valuable above the fold real estate and have a negative impact on the click through rates on the natural results. Often, you’ll see maps and adwords ads together, which bumps down the organically ranked sites even lower. Having said that, the top ranked site will likely get the most traffic.

Now, we’ll check out the factors that affect how the traffic is distributed across the sites in the top ten of the search results:

Titles and descriptions

Sites that are listed in the SERPs will get more or less click throughs that other sites depending on how well written the titles and descriptions are and whether or not they contain the searchers’ exact search term. If you are currently being outranked by a competitor, you could still equal, or even exceed, their CTR if your meta tags are skillfully crafted and enticing.

The keywords you are targeting

Some phrases will reflect a desire on the searcher’s part to buy something of value. The more expensive the potential purchase, the more sites they will look at. If you offer high ticket items or services, then, your site could get a decent amount of traffic even if it is holds lower first page positions for most of your keywords.

People tend to check all the sites on the first page ( and sometimes beyond ) so that they can consider all their options.

So, overall, there are many factors that determine how much traffic the organic search engine results get and how the traffic is distributed among the pages in the top ten. Number one position isn’t always absolutely necessary to get decent traffic and sales ( especially if your chosen phrases have high search volume ).

Chief strategist here at seo assassins.

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