How much traffic does a website ranked #1 in Google get?

Posted on February 18, 2011


Ranking #1 in Google for your chosen keyword is something that many website owners aspire to. If you rank at the top of Google for keywords related to your industry it means that your search engine optimisation has been successful and that Google believes your website to be the most important, and relevant, within your industry for those keywords.

It truly is a mark of quality for your website. However, ranking number one in Google for your chosen keywords is of course very difficult, as every website within your industry also wants this coveted top spot. In many industries, even a listing on the first page of the results is something to be hailed as a great success, but in the business world ranking #1, #2 or even #10 in Google means nothing unless you can put a financial value on the achievements.

Yes, through a great SEO campaign you can increase your Google rankings, but just how much more traffic can you expect to achieve for your website if you move up the rankings just one place, a couple of places, or even to the pinnacle itself and ranking number one within Google?

This type of information isn’t something that Google makes readily available, for obvious reasons. It wants to keep its CTR (click through rates) secret and doesn’t want webmasters and SEO professionals brandishing them around for all to see. However, a couple of years ago the search engine AOL actually released CTR (Click Through Rate) data from its results pages, showing exactly how many clicks each result within different positions received. The figures revealed within this data from AOL, while not originating from Google, were so large that they can be considered fairly accurate, and can be applied to other search engines such as Yahoo, Bing and yes, even Google.

AOL’s data showed a total of 9,038,794 searches, and 4,926,623 individual clicks. So how many of these clicks happened on the first page of results? How many people actually scrolled past the first page to page two, and how many clicks were attributed to the websites than ranked number one in the rankings? Most importantly, how much more traffic can you expect to receive if you rank number one in Google?

Let’s look at the data, and see how just how valuable a number one Google ranking could be to you, and how much more traffic you could receive if you increased your Google rankings from their current position.

To start with, if your website currently ranks at the bottom of page one – say in position ten for example, you could expect to increase your traffic levels for that keyword by 1,400% if you increased your ranking to number one in Google. The traffic data from AOL shows that, if position ten receives 147,000 clicks from users, the website that occupies the top spot receives almost two million clicks, 1,928,000.

These figures may seem pie in the sky to some, but let’s look at the percentage increase on some more modest traffic levels. If, for example, your website ranks at position ten in Google for a particular keyword and you currently receive in the region of 200 visits per month from that keyword, by increasing your SEO and ranking number one for that keyword you could still expect a 1,400% increase, taking your traffic levels for that keyword to 2,800 visits per month.

Does that sound as though it may be worth it?

OK, so we’ve established that if you currently rank at the bottom of page one of Google you can increase your traffic for that keyword by 1,400% – but what if you rank much higher? What if your website already ranks at position two in Google; how much more traffic could you expect if you ranked number one?

AOL’s figures show that website’s ranked number one in Google receive, on average, 350% more clicks that websites that rank in position two. That’s three and half times the traffic, for increasing your Google rankings by just one position.

Does your competitor rank number one in Google, when you rank number two? If so, they’re getting, on average, 350% more traffic than your website for that keyword.

It’s interesting to note too that websites ranked at the bottom of page one of Google actually get marginally more traffic than websites ranked in the penultimate spot. If your website ranks somewhere in the middle of page one of Google, say position six for example, you could expect to increase your traffic from that keyword tenfold if you increase your rankings to position one.

That’s right. Websites that rank number one in Google receive around ten times the traffic as websites that rank in position six.

So where do you rank in Google for your chosen keywords? Have a look at our table below and see how more traffic you could receive for your keywords if you increase your rankings with SEO.

Ranking PositionTraffic Level
#1Ranking Position 1
#23.5 times less than #1
#34.9 times less than #1
#46.9 times less than #1
#58.5 times less than #1
#610.4 times less than #1
#712.3 times less than #1
#814 times less than #1
#914.8 times less than #1
#1014.1 times less than #1

Ranking near the bottom of page one, as you can see, will earn your website around 14 times fewer clicks than the website that ranks at the top of page one. If your website currently ranks somewhere on the first page, you can use this table to work out, roughly, how much more traffic you could expect to receive for every additional position in which you rank.

Adversely, if you currently rank number one in Google, you can see by how much your traffic would likely drop if your rankings faded away.

So how much is traffic worth to you? At StuckOn we believe a return on investment is important to our clients, rather than just looking at your rankings for a few keywords.

There is one final pause for thought; what if your website doesn’t rank on the first page of Google? Well, the figures released by AOL showed that 10% of clicks on its results came after the first page, meaning that, obviously, 90% of all clicks on the search results came on the first page. Are you ranked on the first page of Google, or are you StuckOn page two, or lower?

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
  • […] in February 2011, we wrote about the click-through rates you could expect to get for your website depending on your ranking on the […]

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