Tracking Organic SEO Benefits

It’s common knowledge over half of all Internet users abandon their searches after reviewing the first two SERPs (define). Consequently, it’s long been search engine optimizers’ goal to incur the benefits of ranking as highly as possible in search engines’ organic results pages.

Quantifiable data as to what the average Web site can expect to achieve by doing so in its first few months is less widely available. Seeking to assign numbers to this scenario, a new study by Oneupweb finds a site entering Google’s top natural SERP for the first time can expect an exponential increase in traffic and double the number of conversions.

The study analyzed Web sites entering Google’s first, second, or third SERP for the first time in 2004. Of the 114 search terms tracked using the company’s ROI Trax analytics tool, 56 were three-word terms; 50 were two words; 7 were four-word terms; and one a single-word term. Brand name keywords were not tracked.

Traffic change for sites appearing on Googles first page of results
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In the first month a site appears on Google’s first SERP, its conversion rates rise 142 percent, according to the study. The second month, conversion rates nearly doubled (194 percent) compared to the month prior to entering the top SERP. In terms of unique visitors, the average site appearing in Google’s top natural SERP could expect a 337 percent increase in traffic in its first month and a 627 percent increase in the second month.

“The important thing to note is that when a company first gets listed on Google’s first page, the traffic in the first two months goes up almost exponentially, and conversion rates also improve strongly,” said Rachel North, Oneupweb’s marketing director. “It draws a more qualified customer that converts more frequently.”

Traffic rate change for sites appearing on Googles second or third page of results
Click on graphic to view chart

For sites that make their initial appearance on Google’s second and third SERP, the study found the number of unique visitors to the site increased 517 percent in the first month and 942 percent the next (compared to the month before the site first appeared on either the second or third page).

Because sites ranking below page three don’t generally convert, the study didn’t chart conversion rate increase for a site appearing on Google’s second or third SERP. “While conversion rates tripled from the first to the second month, the rates are very low (300 percent of nothing is still nothing),” the study concludes.

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