#1 in Google is not really the best thing???

Common sense would dictate that being on the top of the results for a specific search is good for business. If your website could be the #1 search result for a common search string such as “Discount Medication” or “Aftermarket Porsche Parts”, you would think that should put your business way above the competition, right? Here’s an interesting research result I found on iMedia Connection, in this article.

Wrong. Well, used to be right, but now it’s wrong!!! Here is why :

Let’s look at the click tendencies on Google back in 2003 :

Google Click Habits in 2003

In a recent trend study of users’ click habits on the Google search engine, the results told us otherwise.

Google Click Habits in 2006

As you can see it was the case back in 2003, but as time shifted by, it was not necessarily the case. The clicks are more evenly distributed, and the bulges seem to be around result #3~5. And while I was looking at this i realized, “Wow. I rarely click on #1 either! For some reason I have the tendency to click the next few, for whatever reason!”

You can find more yearly charts at the original article here. They will show you interesting results. It will show you the slow decline of the importance and value of ad-positioning.

Here are my suspicions on why this is :

  1. Intimidation. I think this comes from me personally. I have history being a corporate junky in a cubicle, and I know how these corporates work. The largest richest ones will simply spend the extra cash for the best spots (whether it be through advertising or extensive use of SEO engineers), but in my personal opinion (and I’m sure many people feel the same way), the largest corporations are the least friendly and caring for customers. So for some reason, when I select which businesses to go with, I go with the underdogs which I perceive to be more personal in their approach to business, although they may not have the millions for the extra cash.
  2. People actually read the descriptions before they go through. Google offers a short description of each search result, and it shows the placing of the search keywords as well. As people get more and more educated and sophisticated in the realm of internet, they are more selective when it comes to clicking links. Blindly clicking the #1 result days are gone, I guess.
  3. People look for diversity. Instead of jumping to that website in position #1, people now take a more diverse approach to selecting their services, and they want to compare and contrast even more. Who’s cheaper? Which website is easier to use? When I search for certain services, I find myself clicking through most of the results on the 1st page before digging further in. I’m the type of guy that has “open search results in a new window” option checked ON by default, and I open the whole bunch and scan through them all. And then I close most of them after I narrow down to the good ones. For me, position is not that important. As long as a site appears within the first 2 pages for me, I’m good.

One of the exceptions I can think of to this rule would be this : If somebody wanted to find the website for a specific company they already knew, for example, “Scotia Bank”, then it should obviously be at #1, but this isn’t achieved by extra dollars, it’s done by making your site properly.

So now ask yourself. Is it worth paying the extra $$$ to be on #1 on Google? Your competitors who don’t pay nearly as much are getting just as much traffic at #2, #3, #10! Would this bring a shift in advertising mechanisms in Google? Hope that was entertaining and interesting enough for all of you.

Comments are encouraged and appreciated!

By |2007-02-16T22:02:04-08:00January 19th, 2007|Categories: Marketing and Media, SEO, Web Development|7 Comments

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