Why you have to rank #1 in natural search engine results

Jakob Nielsen’s latest newsletter
reports on a study that shows that a huge percentage of people click on
the #1 search result and a much smaller number click on #2. Search
engine optimization is extremely important in your internet marketing
strategy. Long term, it is even more important than your pay-per-click
strategy, since natural search delivers 6 times more sales than paid search.

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11 Comments

  1. Agreed. Trouble is getting naturally ranked at #1 in a commodity business might be even harder than a super bowl tv spot. (Not that you would want that.) Even worse, you can’t pay million’s for it.

  2. One must take these SEW and Jupiter Research reports with a grain of salt. Having worked in the industry and being witness to the actual numbers, they are more often wrong than right, and in some cases by an order of magnitude.

    There is also one critical assumption made here which is that conversion to sale are the same from an organic or a paid search link. This is often times not the case. Traffic (leads) and sales are tweo different metrics.

  3. As you said, the difficulty is in commodities. But barring the extremes, it’s not impossible to get on top of many phrases. I mean, “Paul Allen” is a real exception, because of the other guy. But most of us have no excuse not to be the #1 natural result for our name, if we have any inclination to such, simply because most of us don’t randomly have a billionaire fighting with us for the #1 spot. If you’re trying to be #1 for iPod, you need some serious (and seriously expensive SEO marketing people). But for the vast majority of us, we exist because we have a niche, and by definition, a niche doesn’t have a tremendous amount of competition.

  4. Though it may be difficult (impossible?) to rank #1 for certain key terms, it is my experience that it is downright easy for established e-commerce sites to rank very well for large numbers of niche terms. In many cases, those niche terms convert to sales at a much higher rate than general terms because they are for specific items (‘pink plastic ipod cover’ instead of the aforementioned ‘ipod’).
    Often a simple mod-rewrite to make an older database-driven site into a SE friendly one is enough to accomplish this task (and makes an investment in SEO very worthwhile). 🙂

  5. Having ranked very highly for lots of very competitive keywords, I can vouch for what this study shows.

    On multiple keywords my sites were twice as profitable when ranked #1 vs #2.
    Same thing for being #2 vs #3.

    On certain sites the difference was hundreds of dollars per day (like $300->$600).

    Also, it is difficult to rank highly for competitive keywords, but not as difficult as it’s made out to be. You just have to realize that yahoo and msn traffic is just as good as is google traffic and that there’s just as much yahoo/msn traffic as there is google traffic. It’s much easier to get a #1 ranking on yahoo/msn than it is google and the traffic is usually more profitable traffic than is #1 google traffic (depending on your market of course).

    If (for the time being…of course some day these other SE’s will catch up to where google is now) people would start optimizing for Yahoo and MSN, they’d find much more success.

  6. Ranking as number one is important, but you also have to focus on the users. Give them incentives to buy your product, and even more important make them come back to your site.

  7. Dave Martin

    I am on my school’s computer – so I went through Google to get to your site. I just noticed that you had moved from #3 for the term ‘Paul Allen’ to #2. Congrats Paul, you are one step closer to the top.

  8. internet cash flow business

    Hello:

    Your blog entry caught my eyes.

    The mistake that most website owners and businesses are currently making is that they are depending on their traffics to come from search engines alone.

    Some are even squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly doing PPC campaign.

    This is fatal.

    It is impossible for all websites to rank at #1 or among the top 10 all at once.

    So, once businesses realize this obvious fact, it should be common sense for them to know that the solution should be to diversify their marketing and promotion.

    Stop depending on the uncertain search engine traffic otherwise you’ll go bankrupt soon.

    You need to do different kinds of marketing and promotions both online and offline.

    Some of them are newspaper and magazine advertising, TV, cable and radio advertising, direct mailing promotion, text-link campaign, link exchange campaign, events sponsorship promotion, press release, article promotions.

    And there are many softwares you can get to automate all this and make it easy. Visit: http://www.maychic.com/clickbankbuddy/index.cgi

    When you do all these promotions, you get a lot of exposures, traffic from many sources and will not be forced anymore to depend on search engines traffic and rankings alone.

    Dollarbliss
    http://www.dollarbliss.com

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