I was preparing tonight for a meeting with a prospect when I saw a great article on the value of #1 rankings on SEO Book.

The premise is that #1 position on Google commands roughly 35-40% of the clicks for a term, and the top 10 on page 1 control the top 90% of clicks!  .  So…if you are not #1, the rest of the page 1 results are a dramatic drop-off.  And…if you are not on Page 1, you may as well be on Page 20.  You don't exist.

This provides some mathematical backing to what most of us have long known.  Check out the article, and specifically the graph showing the AOL data that was leaked out a few years ago.

When you consider the above data, with this next piece of data, you will see the sheer power of being #1. The following is research by Chitika research director Daniel Ruby done in May, 2010.

Ruby states, “It’s just kind of shocking to look at the numbers and see just how important it is, and how much of a jump there is from 2 to 1.  The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.  Going from the 11thspot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic.  However, the base number is very low – that 143% jump is from 1.11% of all Google traffic to 2.71%.  As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position.

Traffic by Google Result

Google Result Impressions Percentage
1 2,834,806 34.35%
2 1,399,502 16.96%
3 942,706 11.42%
4 638,106 7.73%
5 510,721 6.19%
6 416,887 5.05%
7 331,500 4.02%
8 286,118 3.47%
9 235,197 2.85%
10 223,320 2.71%
11 91,978 1.11%
12 69,778 0.85%
13 57,952 0.70%
14 46,822 0.57%
15 39,635 0.48%
16 32,168 0.39%
17 26,933 0.33%
18 23,131 0.28%
19 22,027 0.27%
20 23,953 0.29%

Numbers are based on a sample of 8,253,240 impressions across the Chitika advertising network in May, 2010.