Anyone involved with SEO knows how crucial for a website its good ranking position in a search engine is, but new data from web traffic analyst Compete.com reveals that there is a dramatic difference between being in the first and second position, when it comes to organic search.

The study, which draws on data from “tens of millions” of search engine results pages between October and December 2011, found that some 53% of queries lead to a click on the first result, whereas the second ranking result only generates 15% of clicks. The figure decreases further for the third, fourth and fifth places, which get 9%, 6% and 4% of clicks respectively, Search Engine Watch reports.

Similarly, paid search results also benefit from being positioned at the top half of the search result page. The specific position is not that important for paid clicks, though – it just matters that the ad is placed on the top half, Compete.com says.

Another important finding regarding paid search is that although more than three in five ads appear on the right-hand side of the screen, those only get about 13% of clicks. Interestingly, the result that tops the ad block gets about 4% of clicks and the second one gets 3% of them. The result listed in third position, however, gets 9% of clicks, the study reveals.

Overall, the research concludes that 85% of all results displayed are organic and the remaining 15% are paid search results. More than half of all result pages contain advertisements, the analysis shows.

Ben Hollom

October 11, 2012