Sounds too good to be true right? Well, it isn’t.
While we SEO’s always try for the number one spot, it’s a popular “secret” that getting to that spot takes time. And most of the times, even with your amazing link building and on site optimization skills, all you can reach is the first page, and you hang in there for a long time. Jumping from Page 50 to Page 1 could take 4-6 months, but beating the number one guy often takes a longer period. And if he’s a super hero website like AT&T or Mashable, then the chances are so less, and you got to be contented with the number 6,7,8 and 9 spots.
But, here’s the thing. Getting on page 1 is probably worth more than you think. There is absolutely nothing wrong if you cannot be number one.
Why? Let’s dig further.
1. A typical user goes beyond the number one result.
I do not have any research data to prove this at the moment (though I’m working on it) but my understanding is that a typical Google user does not end his search with the first guy. He might not check the second or third guy if he finds a relevant title on the first result but…as a typical information seeker, there is more to the journey. While we look at heatmaps, (Amazing insights here) obviously the first and second result gets the most clicks, yes. But this is just the “one time search process”. If we look at repeat searches, more users go for the lower ranking websites. I admit the search volume is not as huge as the first guy but still, there is a significant volume there as well.
Tip: According to this study by Cornell University, the top 3 results on Google get 79% of all the clicks.
2. Number one site might not be relevant to the user although Google thinks it is.
Probably not all the time, of course, Google does a good job at sorting websites according to the search query. But an average user is not as educated as a Google employee or an SEO on how to use Google. He might try different phrases and search strings which he things are relevant for this information.
Rank 1 – 100%
Rank 2 – 100%
Rank 3 – 100%
Rank 4 – 85%
Rank 5 – 60%
Rank 6 – 50%
Rank 7 – 50%
Rank 8 – 30%
Rank 9 – 30%
Rank 10 – 20%
Now, compared to the first result, it might sound negligible, but it is a significant amount of traffic there.
For example, in the following search, I’m inclined to check each result and not just stop with the first one.
This may not be the case with everyone, but from the way the information is on the search page, it is but inevitable and compelling for an information seeker to check more than one site. Iv the above example, one may need to check the biking maps, biking clubs and even the biking safety tips. This means that its not only the first guy (who obviously is getting most of the clicks), but even the 7th and 8th result get clicks.
3. Relevancy on Page Titles and Short Term Attention Span
Which brings us to the main point to be discussed in this post.
Keeping in mind the short term attention span of an average Internet user, he/she is on an ongoing pursuit of information, and in the process, he/she is not satisfied 100% with just one or two websites. Google knows this, which is why they have patented studies prioritizing search results by client search satisfaction. Where, based on your previous “satisfaction experience” with a website, its more likely to see results from that page on future searches.
There is a lot webmasters can do to ensure better satisfaction levels with a website. While many SEOs try to get through with “tricks” to get click-throughs it is all the more important that the information you provide on the website is relevant to the page title and the meta information. If people go back from your website to the search page in the first few seconds (I’m unsure how much but I’m assuming 2-3 seconds or lesser), then it signals “bad quality” for your website.
So, how to get more visitors than the number 1 guy on Google?
1. Use catchy yet relevant page titles and meta description.
2. Give additional information options on the landing pages.
3. Give search options on landing pages.
4. Write content that compels the visitor to dig further to your pages.
5. Do not stick with stale content that makes people leave your page quickly.
6. Make sure the page load time is minimal, really minimal.
7. Write good, lengthy, beefy content and not stale copy-paste information.
8. Create more than one page for a targeted keyword with different levels of information.
9. Deep link to more pages from a primary index page. Practice internal linking.
10. Do not try to “trick” Google users to click on your page. They’ll ultimately find it out.
So, there you go. What are your thoughts?