The Value of Google Result Positioning

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Since Chitika Insights’ last report in May 2010 about the value of Google result positioning, the Google search algorithm has changed hundreds of times. With these changes in mind, the Insights team sought to update our Google result valuation statistics. To quantify this study, Chitika Insights examined tens of millions of online ad impressions in which the user was referred to the page via a Google search.

From the referring Google URL, Chitika is able to extract the position that the page was on within the prior search results page. From this, Chitika can measure what percentage of Google traffic comes from each position of the search results page. The data set was drawn from a date range of May 21st to May 27th, 2013.
Google Results Graph (1)
The percentage of traffic for each position looks very similar to results published three years ago. A website with the first position in the search results contributed to 33% of the traffic, compared to 18% for the second position.

The data also shows that the first position on any page of results contributed to more traffic than the second position in each respective page (i.e. traffic from users dropped by 27%, 11.3%, and 5.4% from the first position to second position in page two, three, and four). Also, similar to the previous report, the drop in traffic volume between the last position on a page and first position on the next page was high. The traffic dropped by 140% going from 10th to 11th position and 86% going from 20th to 21st position.

The drop in cumulative traffic moving from one page to another was even more significant.
Percentage of Google Traffic
Sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 92% of all traffic from an average search. When moving from page one to two, the traffic dropped by 95%, and by 78% and 58% for the subsequent pages.

While being the number one result on a Google search results page is obviously important, these numbers show just how big of an advantage websites of this type have over any competitors listed below them. The importance of SEO for online business is seemingly quantified by these statistics. Judging by their similarity to those observed as part of the 2010 study, they are not likely to change significantly in the near future.

Gabe Donnini
Gabe Donnini is a Data Solutions Engineer at Chitika and a lead author for reports by Chitika Insights, the research arm the online ad service. After graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration from Ithaca College, Gabe has been pursuing his passion for technology by researching and analyzing new and emerging trends in the online world. His reports have been featured in a range of international media outlets including; CNN, PC World, MSNBC,The Wall Street Journal, International Business Times and Huffington Post, among others.Follow Gabe on twitter @gdonnini
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  • Daniel Heywood

    Hi Gabe, thanks for the statistics it’s frightening how the % of traffic drops for websites (like mine)teetering on the brink of page 1 and the top of page 2 for a particular search term. Ranking 1 is obviously the holy grail and it can be a tall order too. Do you think adding Google authorship and/or hreviews to make a website look more enticing on the results page can help those lower on the results get some traffic and make a dent the market share of number 1?

  • Sahil

    Its more important to build a great brand with great content which can be the best possible resource in the niche for the users as positions doesn’t matter when you are well known brand and have a credibility, authority and user’s trust factor going along with you. Many brands such as Amazon, eBay for example gets more clicks on the first page of search results even though they are positioned at 4 or 5 because of the authority & credibility they posess.