Digital Real Estate and The Real Goal of SEOby Dean Hawker on July 26, 2023
You can most likely see where I am going with this. The goal of SEO isn't "a" or even 10 keywords ranking on the first page of Google, it is multiple of 10's or even hundreds if you commit to a sound plan. What we are really striving to achieve is occupying as much Digital Real Estate as possible! We know location matters in the brick and mortar world and that rule has not changed. Location matters equally as much if not more than the old school reasons and here is one of the biggest reasons.
Click-through rates in the first position of the first page of Google range, depending on the industry, between 28% and 32%! The real telling stat behind that one is the next CTR. The second position on the first page drops nearly in half, to around 17%, the third position drops to around 10%, the fourth to 7%, and the fifth drops to about a 5% click-through rate. Again, these are on average and also change, but only slightly, based on the industry.
If you consider the top five positions on the first page, what we could also traditionally refer to as above the fold, around 65%-70% of ALL clicks are occurring in that real estate. Fewer than 1% of users click on position eleven, which is the top of page two. This just goes to show, how valuable those top five positions are. Your chances of capturing a visitor to your page are much higher if your site is ranking for keywords in the top five positions. This is the real goal! Get as many ranking keywords to occupy the top five positions as possible and continue that growth trend month after month, or translated means "take up more digital Real Estate"!
The data is compelling and should be used as a general guide as I don't want to discount the value of positions six through 20 or basically the first two pages overall. But, when we track ranking keywords, we won't report anything beyond page two as in our eyes, that is real estate not producing any value to the website. The critical piece here then is this. If you are actively running an organic initiative, make sure of two things. First, be sure you are seeing what keywords your site is ranking for. Second, make sure you know what positions they are ranking in. Those two elements need to be monitored constantly to make sure your business is gathering up as much Digital Real Estate as possible.
While these positions are popular, I don't typically agree with them as being the real goal when it comes to optimizing for Organic Search. I think there are a lot of correlations between old school business and your online presence. As I have discussed in my previous post, the characteristics clients and customers look for in business, are relatively unchanged over the years and likely decades. These characteristics are the Know, Like, and Trust factors we seek when researching a business. Maybe not all three at once, but it is very probable that two of these three qualify at any given moment.
So back to the similarity of old school business success and your organic strategy online. It drills down to three words. Location, Location, Location. Anyone that understands the power of location understands the power of the gas station on the corner being able to charge more than the competitor three blocks away off main street. So let's reflect on that for a second. Namely Main Street. There is usually a grand association with being on Main Street. Its the center, the hub, and the businesses that have made it can afford to be there. There is a little prestige with being on Main. People don't feel proud buying Baltic Avenue, (despite its sometimes great strategic move). But, owning Park Place makes you the king of the hill!
If your business is on Main, there is nowhere else to strive for, you have made it! You occupy prime real estate!
SEO offers many benefits but I think sometimes we lack an understanding of exactly what it is out to accomplish. For the longest time marketers have put a focus on the first page, the first position. Sometimes this is framed as "we will get your keyword on the first page of Google". Or, some SEO models fall under ranking for one, five, ten keywords, or more and will charge accordingly.