on April 13, 2011
The above diagram illustrates a key truth about Google search results: if your website doesn’t show up on the first 3 pages of search results, odds are no one is going to find it through organic search. Hence, ranking well for relevant keywords is paramount if you want anyone to find your site through search. Optimally, we use Search Engine Optimization or SEO to make our clients’ websites to show up on the first page of search results (which corresponds to the “legitimate search” area on the diagram). This location is where the most Google users will see the website.
For some very competitive keywords, it takes a lot more SEO work and then some time for Google to notice the work before a website ranks on the first page. For such competitive keywords, it is much easier to rank on the second or third page of results. The downside to this is that not as many people will click through to pages two and three of search results and therefore your website will not get as much attention. However, as the diagram illustrates (“it’s gotta be here somewhere”), a good number of people do click through to the second and third pages.
The big cutoff comes after page three. People searching for something will often give up at this point or try out a new search phrase. Websites that rank on pages four to seven (“desperate”) are much, much less likely to be seen. Don’t get us wrong, ranking on pages 4 to 7 is not a bad thing as it provides a stepping stone that, in conjunction with some Search Engine Optimization work on the website, can vault that site onto the first page. However, no one should be content to rank on pages 4 to 7 without an eye on further gains. The “god help you, what are you still doing here” section (pages eight to infinity) is pretty self-explanatory. Again, it’s not a bad thing to rank here temporarily as you work on optimizing your site for search; however, it’s not where you want your site to be ranking on a long term basis.
In short, ranking on the first page is clearly the best. After that, pages two and three are still pretty good real estate. Once you get past page three though, the real estate is a lot less desirable and should make you want to do some SEO so you can bump elbows with the Joneses at the top of the heap.