What Does First Place Ranking Really Mean?

group of men and women huddled around a computerAnyone who runs a business understands why being first is so important. It can mean greater market share when you’re first with a new product. Or increased media exposure when you’re first in thought leadership.

The desire to be first is also what drives many business owners to pursue a top Google ranking at all costs. But is the effort really worth it? The answer depends on how you look at it.

Only Half the Battle

In the competition to be first on Google, understand that while you can get to the top, conversion is up to you. Your listing has to be compelling enough to make searchers click through to your site, your site needs to be engaging and intuitive, and so on.

So, all your ducks need to be arranged so that your visitor does what you want, whether it’s buying your product, subscribing to your email or something else.

If you’re not taking care of these details, your top ranking simply looks good, but has the same value as a great billboard for a poor business. For tips on creating a powerful and productive user experience (the kind that begs for conversion) click here.

Rank and Its Privileges

Site performance issues aside, a top-ranked business can expect to be rewarded with 33% of the clicks according to Chitika.com, an online advertising analytics firm. The second- and third-ranked sites can expect 18% and 11% respectively.

So, when you’re number one, you’re nearly doubling the activity of your nearest competitor, which seems pretty impressive. (On the flip side, a ranking that falls beyond the first page can expect to get less than one percent of the clicks.)

But how do you go about attaching a value to this? For a quick ballpark estimate, you might take your website conversion rate and multiply it by your ranking. But first, you need to know the size of your market, which Google can help you determine with its, Google Adwords planner tool. It lets you see how many times a keyword is searched in a month.

For example, if you run a muffler repair shop, it can tell you how many times a month the phrase ‘muffler repair’ is searched. If it’s 5,000, you can multiply this number times your first-place ranking, .33, which brings you to 1,650. Then, multiply it by your conversion rate, which for the web can range between .05% and 5% (just in case you don’t know yours). Multiply this by your average sale, and you now have a value to attach to your first place ranking.

For a more detailed answer, Google provides some metrics through its analytics function. Specifically, Google Analytics allows you to track which marketing channels are generating traffic, including organic search.

No matter how your measure it, a first-place Google ranking can be leveraged to your advantage and monetized. Especially when you have a top-notch site to accompany it.

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