Weekly SEO news: 26 April 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

A new study of Optify shows how important it is to get a high position in Google's search results. The top results get an average click-through rate of 36.4%. The number of searches and the cost per click for a keyword also influence the clicks. What does this mean to your search engine optimization activities?

Also in the news: Instant previews for Google ads, Google clarifies the landing page policy, slow JavaScript code has no influence on your website rankings and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. The top result on Google gets over 36% of all clicks

A new study of Optify shows how important it is to get a high position in Google's search results. The top results get an average click-through rate of 36.4%. The number of searches and the cost per click for a keyword also influence the clicks. What does this mean to your search engine optimization activities?

What are the exact numbers?

According to Optify, the web pages on position one get a click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4%. Position 2 gets a CTR of 12.5%. The CTR's for position 3-10 are 9.5%, 7.9%, 6.1%, 4.1%, 3.8%, 3.0%, 2.2%. The top results get as many clicks as results 2-5 combined:

Image by Optify

Surprisingly, position 11 gets slightly more clicks than position 10. That's probably because position 11 is the top result on page 2.

The cost per click for AdWords ads and the CTR are related

According to the study, keywords that have a high cost per click (CPC) on Google AdWords have a lower CTR for the organic results.

The first organic result for a keyword with a high CPC gets less than 20% of the clicks. The first result for keywords with a low CPC gets more than 30% of the clicks.

The search volume also influence the click-through rates

According to the study, keywords with many searches get a higher CTR for position one (32% for popular keywords versus 25% for long tail keywords).

Long tail terms keywords have a better overall CTR on page one (9% average CTR for long tail keywords versus 4.6% average CTR for popular keywords).

What does this mean for your search engine optimization campaigns?

These numbers have several implications for your SEO campaigns:

1. Popular keywords are even more competitive than they seem

If you're optimizing your web pages for very competitive keywords then you won't see huge benefits until you get in the top 5 results.

2. It makes sense to optimize for long tail keywords

Long tail keywords have several advantages:

  • they are much more targeted than popular keywords and you will get a much higher conversion rate
  • it is much easier to get high rankings for a long tail keyword because there is less competition
  • you will get more visitors through long tail keywords (unless you are in the top 5 results for a popular keyword)

For most businesses, getting page 1 rankings for a lot of long tail keywords is much easier and more valuable than getting high rankings for a few popular keywords.

3. High rankings are important

Ranking on the first result page for a keyword that is related to your business is still more valuable than anywhere else. The higher the position, the better.

The Top 10 Optimizer in IBP will help you to get your website on Google's first result page for as many keywords as possible. Start with targeted long tail keywords to get as many customers as possible and then proceed to the more competitive keywords to maximize the number of website visitors.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

Preview Instant previews for Google ads

"Starting today, the Instant Previews icon will appear next to ads on Google.com allowing users to preview the ad's landing page. With Instant Previews, your customers are able to quickly preview a page to see if its content matches what they're searching for. [...]

Instant Preview clicks are free of charge -- you're only charged if a user clicks through to your actual landing page."

More clarity in AdWords for advertisers affected by landing page policy

"We're making it easier to know when you're affected by a landing page or site policy problem, rather than a landing page quality problem. [...]

The primary purpose of landing page policy is to make sure that the sites to which users are taken after clicking on ads are safe, trustworthy, and legal. [...] Landing page quality, on the other hand, is important for ensuring that users have a positive experience on your site. It can affect your ad position and performance in the AdWords auction."

Demand MediaSites retool for Google effect

"Seeing a 40% decline in sales since Google adjusted its algorithm, online ergonomic-products retailer Ergo In Demand Inc. in Central Point, Ore., reduced its 17-person staff to five, moved to a 4,500-square-foot office space from one more than double in size and cut $4,000 in monthly software subscriptions. [...]

Google is hurting small businesses like his that can't afford to market their way to the top of search results. 'We have absolutely zero information of what we should change,' he says."

Editor's note: if you want to know what exactly you have to change to get your website in Google's top 10 results, analyze your web pages with IBP's Top 10 Optimizer.

Just what is web site quality?

"Web spam isn't a solved problem, and it likely won't be in the foreseeable future, but the search engines (especially Google) have been receiving a considerable amount of criticism lately for the quality of content that appears in their top results for many queries.

While combating spam still seems like an important aspect of what they do, Google seems to have broadened how they rank pages to include consideration of quality signals. Much of what they consider may help answer the question that I raised at the start of this post, 'How likely are people to believe what they find on your pages, or contact you to learn more about what you offer, or conduct a transaction on your site?'"

Video: how is Google helping Google Analytics users with site speed?

Can a slow Google Analytics JavaScript code (or JavaScript codes from other sites that slow down your website) affect the Google rankings of your website? Google's Matt Cutts answers that question in a video:

"In general, if you can make your site faster, that's fantastic. But it's not the sort of thing where you really have to worry about: 'Oh, there's this one bit of JavaScript that I have to include from someone else and it's not fast enough.' That's typically not going to be an issue in terms of Google search rankings."

Search engine newslets

  • 68% say Google Webmaster Tools data is not accurate.
  • 301 redirects: formatting bulk redirects.
  • More predictions in Google Autocomplete.
  • How to manipulate social movements by hacking Twitter.
  • Bing's broad match problem.
  • Information about Google's Panda update in the UK.
  • Royal wedding related searches on Google.
  • Yahoo plans to keep search records for 18 months.
  • How is Google Public DNS data used? Answer: it's not used for rankings.
  • Google's China market share: declining.

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3. Success stories


300,000 readers will read your success story!

Let us know how IBP has helped you to improve your website and we might publish your success story with a link to your website in this newsletter. The more detailed your story is, the better. Click here to tell us your story.

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4. Previous articles

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