We all know how important it is to rank well in search engines in terms of traffic and visibility. But according to a new study I came across last night by advertising network Chitika, ranking at the top does not automatically mean that visitors will click on ads on the website once they land there.

Chitika found that, in fact, ad click-through rates can vary significantly as a result of visitors coming from the top position compared to other positions. Analysis of the correlation between the two revealed that the highest click-through rates occurred when users landed on a page that ranked at number ten.

A possible explanation for this unexpected finding may be the fact that users have been unhappy or unsatisfied with previous results. When users keep scrolling down to reach position number ten, this is likely to be because they have not found what they were looking for in higher-ranking results, Chitika explained. This increases the probability of a user clicking on an ad related to their search query.

Top-ranking websites certainly receive the most traffic. However, this study has shown they score the lowest click-through rates among the top ten results. This does not mean that marketers should strive to rank at number ten for all keywords, but simply shows that lower rankings have their benefits after all, Search Engine Watch commented.

Cristian Potter, a data solutions engineer at Chitika, noted that the research was based on aggregate traffic trends and findings do not necessarily apply to groups of sites.

By Ben Hollom