A lot of people obsess about being ranked number one in the Google results. There is no denying that the higher up the screen you are, the more likely you are to be read and clicked on (well unless you’re at the very bottom where you will in fact fair slightly better than in the middle – it’s all to do with the way that humans scan content).

A lot of research is given out by SEO companies that reinforces this. Typical click through rates (the proportion of people who read the results page and who then click on that link in that position) are often quoted as something like:

Position 1: 40%
Position 2: 12%
Position 3: 8%
Position 4: 6%
Position 5: 5%

So there is no denying that number one slot looks the place to be – and it is certainly something you should aspire to (and something SEO companies want to charge you money to try to attain).

However, a lot of this research that I have read seems fundamentally flawed. Think of how you use search. What are the most frequent things you use it for? This will probably be a balance of looking for new sites and just looking up an existing site. A lot of people visit a website they know already by typing in the business name into Google – saving time having to get all the www. and co uk (or was it com?) bits right in the address bar. Most businesses, as long as they have some very basic Search Engine Optimisation in place, will rank number one for their own business name (if you don’t then you seriously need to up the game on your Search Engine Optimisation). So where will a lot of people end up clicking after a web search? position 1.

Filtering those people out of the equation, you might decide not to focus purely on being “ranked number one” but consider these hugely important factors as well:

  • Matching your targeted search terms against what people are actually searching for – keyword research
  • Examining what the search terms are that you are ranking for – you might not score well against bigger competitors on the generic terms but there could be plenty of opportunity on more specific ‘long tail’ searches – focus on content targeting
  • The way you appear in the search results – focus on your title and meta description tags
  • The experience people get when they visit your site – don’t forget to consider Conversion Rate Optimisation (the percentage of people who become customers having visited your site)

If you want pragmatic, down to earth advice on Search Engine Optimisation in Cambridge, Huntingdon or Peterborough from a company whose focus is Making the Internet make Sense™, then why not get in touch?