We all know that the ultimate goal of SEO is to get to the top. But to the top of what? The purposes of SEO are to get your site to the top of the rankings, on top of your competitors, and in turn to the front of your consumers’ minds.

How Important Is the First Spot?

Although it’s always been important, this goal of being on top is more crucial than ever. A recent study released by Compete.com supports this claim. After analyzing “tens of millions” of search engine results pages (SERPs) in the last quarter of 2011, the top result receives 53 percent of total clicks.

April 2011

This is an astounding increase, especially when compared to Optify’s study in April 2011. Their breakdown of CTR according to position was as follows:

  1. 36.4 percent of clicks
  2. 12.5 percent of clicks
  3. 9.5 percent of clicks

October 2012

It appears that in the past 18 months alone, these metrics have changed dramatically. Compete.com’s allocation of Google’s organic CTR is as follows:

  1. 53 percent of clicks
  2. 15 percent of clicks
  3. 9 percent of clicks

Granted, Optify’s study analyzed B2B and B2C sites only, with a sample size of 250. “Tens of millions” is clearly more statistically significant.

Paid Placement vs. Organic Placement

The graphic below illustrates the advantage of being in those top spots, in relation to both paid and organic listings. On the left is where things appear, while the right demonstrates the actual CTR allotted to the same real estate.

Get to the top of the search resultsThis study is also interesting in terms of paid ads. Being above the organic results has always been important, but now we have yet another breakdown for the ad results appearing in this top space:

  1. 59 percent of clicks
  2. 15 percent of clicks
  3. 9 percent of clicks

Place Yourself in the Prime Location

Morale of the story? Get to the top. Get to the top of the search results, get above your competitors, and get ahead of the game. From researching quick ways to increase your rankings to putting long-term SEO strategies in place, it’s not enough to make the first page to make an impression. You have to make the first first impression.

Jamie Bates