If you’ve ever doubted the importance of SEO and high rankings, a new study from online ad network Chitika shows the higher the rankings, the more traffic sites get. And the differences are drastic. First place rankings pull in 33 percent of the web traffic from search engine results pages. Second place can receive as much as 18 percent of the visitors, and traffic steadily drops off from there.

The recent study has very similar results to one the team ran in 2010, which suggests that there is little expected change in how users are interacting with search engines and highlights the importance of SEO in receiving web traffic.

Chitika Search Analysis

 

 

Chitika said in their announcement, “While being the number one result on a Google search results page is obviously important, these numbers show just how big of an advantage websites of this type have over any competitors listed below them. The importance of SEO for online business is seemingly quantified by these latest statistics, which, judging by their similarity to those observed as part of the 2010 study, are not likely to change significantly in the near future.”

Another expected find of the study is the drop off of traffic from Page 1 to Page 2 of results pages. The search engine result page users see gets 92 percent of all traffic, so getting stuck a couple pages back can result in practical invisibility for your site. However, if you aren’t showing up on the first page, it appears gaining the top spot of whatever page you are on will get you higher rankings than the others on that page.

If you’re interested in Chitika’s methodology for the study, you can see their full report, and Jessica Lee provided further analysis over at Search Engine Watch.

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