2nd Page Rankings: You’re the #1 Loser

12 Apr 2nd Page Rankings: You’re the #1 Loser


“Congratulations…you almost won.”

“Of all the losers you came in first… of that group.”

“You’re the #1…loser.”

“No one lost…ahead of you.”

-Jerry Seinfeld








google-1st-page-2nd-page-click-through-rateAt least 2-3 times each week I get asked about the value of showing up on the first page of Google versus the second. How many people actually scroll to the bottom of the page and click the ‘next’ link? Several months ago Chitika (ChiTika- not the banana people) Insights studied the click through rates of each position on the first and second pages of a query, and their findings clearly demonstrate the HUGE difference between first and second page results- and the traffic that each position get.

A sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 94% of users clicked on a first page result and less than 6% actually clicking to the second page and selecting a result displayed there.  One of the biggest drop off’s is between the 10 spot (bottom of the first page) and the 11 spot (top of the second page) from 2.71% down to 1.11%. That’s a 143% dip from one position to the next. Even though the second page doesn’t get many clicks, I’m starting to see some firms advertise second page placement. It just shows how competitive some phrases are getting if companies find ROI in the scraps. Are these clicks, albeit few and far between, more qualified than first page clicks? I’d like to hear feedback or see any research on the question. Feel free to post any ideas or online resources.

The first position has always been the most clicked on location, but many are surprised to see that it gets over 1/3 of all the available clicks. Hence, the  exponential nature (richter-scale-esque) of increasing difficulty as one tries to move up the rankings.  I wonder if the top few spots have increased in clicks with the fairly new Google Instant feature. My behavior has definitely changed, as I tend to watch the results as I type- waiting for one of the top rankings to answer my query as I type.  Let me know if you’re the same- do you find yourself relying on the combination of the first 2-3 results and Google Instant to track down sites you want to visit? Are you still typing your query and scrolling through the page? I will be watching these stats over the next several months to see if they shift at all- and posting my findings.

Facebook Comments
  • Eric
    Posted at 17:39h, 18 April Reply

    I find myself almost always relying on Google to finish my search with its instant feature. Then I am almost always using the top 3 pages unless I am looking for something very specific, or a company website. Even though its not that difficult to get to the second page it just seems like its that much extra time I have to spend when I can be looking at results on the first page. As long as Google is able to keep the search results relevant to what I’m looking for I will stay on the first page.

    • admin
      Posted at 18:08h, 18 April Reply

      I think the research in this article shows that most people think like you do. I’m not always happy with the spammy results that show up on the first page, but more times than naught I find what I need to by simply typing in a phrase and keep typing until the query brings up something I like in the first 3 spots.

  • Quora
    Posted at 20:12h, 26 October Reply

    What is the distribution of traffic between Google organic search results? e.g. #1 vs. #2 in rankings, first page vs. second page…

    I was looking for similar information before coming to Quora… I found a few websites that give some very good information. Sources are below. Note that I would be very interested in tracking this myself on my website… I am trying to figure out the …

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  • andrew broadbent
    Posted at 14:35h, 30 November Reply

    Why is this site only a Page Rank 1?

  • Megan
    Posted at 06:53h, 31 January Reply

    I personally find that the length of my search is related to what I am looking for, if it is something which I am eager to find reliable information I will search further afield to pages 2 and maybe 3,4 but if it something low priority I will stick to the top of the first page.

    I am interested to see if peoples attitudes change depending on where a site is ranked, for example do people trust information from the first page more than others or do they feel if they find something on page 4 it may be more exclusive and thus more interesting?

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  • Alb
    Posted at 17:54h, 17 June Reply

    I have always been looking for such data. I am planning to target some keywords with a huge volume of traffic and I was wondering if second page was profitable. Not always 1st makes people happy so it isnt the end if u reach it. You should work to attract people by ur description.

  • Kevin
    Posted at 15:26h, 30 June Reply

    Wow. Impressive results. I’ve been looking for stats like this to show my potential clients, and I dig this article! Will be using these for sure. Thanks.

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  • Zimp Fluffers
    Posted at 02:45h, 12 September Reply

    I’m on page two, climbing up like a rabid cat trying to get a mouse at the top of a tree.

  • chris
    Posted at 11:43h, 16 September Reply

    I have question, if no one minds?

    I have a site at #1 on page 1 with a keyword that gets 5,000,000 searches a month, but I only get around 20 visits a day.

    It’s only been at #1 for a couple of days, but I was expecting a lot more traffic. Does it take time for it or ?

    • JoeWallis
      Posted at 11:47h, 12 October Reply

      Hi Chris,

      Here are a few things to look at:
      Make sure you aren’t looking at personalized search results. That can make it look like your rankings are a lot better than they actually are.
      Even if you have top position, if the meta title and description aren’t well written, people may pass it by. In fact, a poor title is often all it takes to drive clicks away!
      Are those people looking for a specific brand or company?

      It does take time to build up your own credibility, even with great SERP rankings. In the meantime, make sure the 20 people who are visiting each day have a great experience on your site and find what they are after. Every sale makes a difference!

  • M. D. Vaden portland landscaping
    Posted at 09:08h, 18 September Reply

    Watching this stuff for years, I still wonder what the bigger story is behind all this, at least for my industry which is landscaping and tree care.

    No question more clicks go to the first few positions on page one. But I know how big the companies are for my niche, and it’s evident that they are not getting all that business. There is no way their crews are big enough or numerous enough.

    So that means there has to be more to the big picture, like how many people clicking, are really the serious buyers of a service. And of those serious ones who sill spend money, how many of those are the ones who are also racking-up clicks on #10 or #16 down the list.

    • JoeWallis
      Posted at 11:55h, 12 October Reply

      M.D. Vaden, that’s a great point. Great rankings are only the first step in a successful online business model. We also put a lot of focus on the design and layout of the site. A click is worthless if it doesn’t lead to a good on page experience. A large portion of the work we do for customers is focused on converting site visits to sales.

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  • Al Leyland
    Posted at 17:03h, 22 November Reply

    Google suggest, then top 3 listings. That’s how I search, mostly. Sometimes down to result number 5 or 6, depending on the size of the screen.

    I’ve heard it said, though, that Page 1 is for information seekers, mostly. Wonder if this has any credence. Either way I don’t really care.

    If a site is not on Page 1, result 1 – 7, then it has failed. Period.

  • Click
    Posted at 10:45h, 16 January Reply

    I always assumed that the top three in particular had no real impression difference(figured #1 probably won but not by much). Man was I wrong, had no idea top spot commanded a third of all impressions.

    Thanks for the heads up.

    Question: were these findings consistent with other search queries and aggregating the results or were they just using one? 8 million search results seem on the low side for multiple entries.

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  • Derek
    Posted at 12:34h, 27 April Reply

    Excellent post. I definitely see a traffic bump when my keywords move from 6 to 4, or 4 to 2. Being on the first page is great but being at the top is awesome.

  • Joe Hage
    Posted at 14:37h, 27 May Reply

    Todd, do you have updated information with 2013 statistics?

    • admin
      Posted at 08:39h, 18 September Reply

      Hey Joe- I don’t have updated data. I’d love to post some if you can find any. I’d be happy to cite you and send you some link love for the help! Thanks!

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  • Stewart Harding
    Posted at 20:16h, 27 May Reply

    Advice worth heeding. Thanks very much.

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