“If you’re not first, you’re last” – Ricky Bobby (from the movie Talladega Nights)

I love Will Ferrell.

I remember the first time I saw him on Saturday Night Live (I think it was the Spartan Cheerleader Skit). I laughed for 10 minutes straight. I knew that he was a special talent. I’m an SNL buff all the way back into 1980’s when I was in high school (showing my age a bit here).

Anyway, so as his fame has grown, I’ve seen nearly all his films and to be honest, I’ve never seen a Will Ferrell film that I didn’t like.

Talledega Nights is a classic. After he wins a race, he’s being interviewed and responds to a question with: “If you’re not first, you’re last”. It’s funny, in it’s context, and is also on point with our topic today…

Is there a significant advantage to being the FIRST listing on a search engine results page?

New research just released from Compete.com is pretty telling in regards to the importance of the difference between a first and second place listing.

Their recent analysis of several million consumer generated search results from this last past quarter of 2012 tell us (first graphic above):

  • 85% of listings shown on the major search engines are “organic”. What this means is that the free listings still dominate search results. In order to get your fair share, you need to be committed to an effective off-site search engine optimization campaign so that you can get in the top organic results.
  • 15% of the listings shown on the major search engines are paid. These are the “pay-per-click” type of listings we’ve all seen and participate in.

Additionally, they also report that when in comes to actual clicks on those organic listings:

  • 53% of clicks are done on the very FIRST search result.
  • 15% of clicks are done on the second search result.
  • 9% of clicks are done on the third search result.
  • 6% of clicks are done on the 4th search result.
  • 4% of clicks are done on the 5th search result.

Since the vast majority of listings on a search engine results page are organic AND the majority of clicks are on the FIRST listing, it’s very important to monitor your organic rankings are have an effective strategy in place to get you to #1 or as close as possible. It’s that important…

What about paid listings? (Pay-Per-Click)

This same pattern repeats itself with paid listings.

The data demonstrates that the even though only 24% of paid ads appear at the top “block” of the typical search page, they garnish 85% of the clicks! 85%!!

The remaining listings on the side and bottom, even though they command their fair share of exposure, only get 15% of the clicks.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re participating in a paid listing campaign, you’d better make sure that it is properly setup and managed, so that you get maximum exposure for your ad dollar. Otherwise, you could be wasting your money.

Personally, I believe the first graphic at the top is the most telling. To repeat here: 85% of all search engine results displayed are ORGANIC! No cost for clicks. 1 click or 1000, your price per click is always ZERO.

SEO is alive and well.

Make sure you have a solid plan in place to get your company’s web site the rankings it deserves and your fair share of the HUGE AMOUNT of search traffic out there for the taking.

Traffic (properly captured)  = Leads (that are valuable assets) = Future Sales (that you can sell to OVER and OVER again).

Am I saying if you’re not in the top results you wont see traffic? Absolutely not. I’m just saying even the driver in last place gets a check… It’s just not as big as the guy in 1st… (see that, I tied it all together!)

Still a little hazy about the details? We’re here to help you.

Call us today at 1.877.490.8324 for some new ideas and a free, no-hassle consultation.

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To your success!

Ben Vaughn
Sr. Online Business Strategist
AutoWeb Technologies