UPDATE: March 2022: This article has been updated with the latest insights. 

First place gets your traffic — but what about clicks? It has long been a common goal of SEO optimizers everywhere to capture the top spot on Google’s first page of search results. Taking the first spot guarantees the largest portion of impressions as well as double the amount of traffic offered by the second link.

But, what ultimately matters for monetization is how often users click on the ads within a site. Therefore, Chitika Insights decided to investigate the correlation between the position of a site on Google’s first page of results and the CTR of ads within the site.

As it turns out, the CTR of ads on a website is inversely related to the site’s position on Google’s first page of results – the lower you go on the page, the higher the CTR of the page’s ads. In fact, the CTR on the 10th link on Google’s first page of results almost doubles the CTR of the first link.

Using the CTR in conjunction with the distribution of traffic as a function of result positioning, Chitika Insights derived a Click Index in which the top spot was assigned an index of one, and the index of lower spots is equal to the ratio of the respective position to that of the top position.

This means that for example, the second position, which has an index of .65, gets 65% as many clicks as the top spot (based both on the CTR and the traffic volume). Based on this data, if you could spend 50% as much to get yourself to the second position than you would have to get to the first position, your return on your SEO investment would be higher.

Perhaps, users whose intent is more strongly focused could be more likely to continue searching beyond the first few links of Google’s search results in order to find what they need. Combined, these reasons could help explain why volume decreases and CTR increases as Google page position increases on a scale of one to ten. As a publisher, the importance lies in finding a happy medium between expense, and site position on Google’s first page of results.

See the full study and additional insights with the updated version of the study.

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