The Value of Search Engine Optimization

It’s a question we get all the time.

How do I know optimizing my website for the search engines will be worth the price I’m paying you?

Until recently, I would have to explain about the data reporting features offered by analytics, reveal detailed case studies of sites we’ve SEO’d, present white papers on the subject, etc… But now, Aaron Wall of SEO Book has compiled a fantastic resource for all those who want numbers and stats. If you happen to be someone who likes to sit back, drink a big fat cup of coffee and read website stats, today is your lucky day! The piece is titled ” How Much Money is a Top Google Ranking Worth?”

The short answer- depends on what you’re selling.

If that doesn’t satisfy you, perhaps this will help- Aaron writes:

From my experience, depending on the commercial intent of the keyword, the number of advertisers appearing above the organic search results, and the user intent of a query you can multiply the Google Traffic Estimator numbers by about 4 to 7 to come up with traffic estimates that a #1 organic ranking would garner.

Well that’s fine and dandy to know if I were actually running a PPC campaign, you say. What is the difference in visitor traffic to my site between, say a # 9 or #10 spot compared to ranking #1 in Google?

Aaron answers that for us as well-

AOL’s Leaked Search Data

In August of 2006 AOL leaked millions of search records. Some SEOs scoured through this data to look at click data by ranking. A comment on Jim Boykin’s blog reveals the percent of clicks for each position for 9,038,794 searches and 4,926,623 clicks. Donna Fontenot shared the relative click volume of lower ranked results relative to the top ranked site.

Overall Percent of Clicks

Relative Click Volume

  1. 42.13%, 2,075,765 clicks
  2. 11.90%, 586,100 clicks
  3. 8.50%, 418,643 clicks
  4. 6.06%, 298,532 clicks
  5. 4.92%, 242,169 clicks
  6. 4.05%, 199,541 clicks
  7. 3.41%, 168,080 clicks
  8. 3.01%, 148,489 clicks
  9. 2.85%, 140,356 clicks
  10. 2.99%, 147,551 clicks
  1. 3.5x less
  2. 4.9x less
  3. 6.9x less
  4. 8.5x less
  5. 10.4x less
  6. 12.3x less
  7. 14.0x less
  8. 14.8x less
  9. 14.1x less
1st page totals: 89.82%, 4,425,226 clicks
2nd page totals: 10.18%, 501,397 clicks

Based on this data, if you are ranking 8, 9, or 10 you may be able to increase your traffic for that keyword 1,400% by ranking #1. Even jumping from #8 to #3 can triple your traffic.

Impressive, right?
Maybe it’s time you took a second look at SEO. Your competition certainly is.