6 Facts About The First Page of Google To Know in 2021
The latest round of major Google core updates sent some companies into a traffic tailspin, as they had no choice but to watch in horror as their search traffic suddenly plummeted.
For some companies, the results weren’t nearly that bad. In fact, some actually saw nice boosts in traffic than before!
If you’re outside of the industry, the frantic worry and elated celebrations may seem like an overreaction, but these emotions are 100% justified.
Although Google might turn its nose at being labeled a “monopoly,” it certainly has established itself as the world’s go-to search engine.
As such, ranking on the first page for a specific search phrase can generate significant traffic—especially if you’ve secured the featured snippet or the top organic spot.
With the first page being so treasured, we’re taking a close look at some of the most important metrics to understand about the first page of Google.
Important Facts About the First Page of Google
Here’s what you should know about Google’s search results:
1. The #1 result in Google gets approximately 32% of all clicks.
This one is pretty self-explanatory: If you’re in the top spot, you’ll likely get 32% of all clicks for that specific search phrase.
Why it matters: The lower you show up, the less likely you are to get traffic. In fact, the first slot is 10 times more likely to receive traffic versus the link in the 10th spot.
2. When looking for a local service or product, 92% of Google users pick a business on the first page.
For most companies in the United States (those that are largely limited to doing business in a confined geographical location), local SEO is key to growing business over time.
Competing locally instead of globally makes your work significantly easier—and Google users who are in search of your products and services are likely to use you.
Why it matters: If your company can’t compete for short-tail keywords (like “shoes” or “office supplies”), aim for long-tail local keywords, like “women’s dress shoes in Milwaukee” or “best office supplies in Milwaukee.”
This will improve your chances of capturing local buyers ready to do business with you.
3. The top five results receive nearly 68% of all clicks.
If the top five receive 68% of search traffic, that means slots 2-5 only get about the same amount of traffic as the first position!
Still, this is significant, especially when you consider Google manages 5.6 billion searches per day.
Let’s think about that for a moment. Let’s say Google conducts 6 billion searches tomorrow, and 50% of them lead to a click (see Fact No. 4 below). That means the first five slots would see a total of 2.04 billion clicks tomorrow! The first slot would get 1 billion, and two through five would get another billion.
Why it matters: If you’re satisfied with grabbing the sixth slot on Google, you’re not pushing hard enough.
4. The click rates for the 7th-10th results are about the same
The links that appear at the bottom of the page each receive about 3% of the total search clicks. Numerous studies have found little deviation between the last four slots.
Why it matters: If you’ve managed to get from the third page to the second page and from the second page to the bottom of the first page, your work still isn’t done.
Sure, being on the first page for a target keyphrase is good, but it doesn’t become measurably significant until you’re at the top of the first page.
If one of your articles is at the bottom of the first page, take a fresh look at the top-ranking links to see what else you can learn from them. Remember: Moving up one or spots won’t make a major impact until you break into the top five.
5. About half of all searches don’t lead to organic traffic.
In about 50% of searches, people don’t click on an ad or an organic search result. They simply look over the search results, then leave.
Much of this is likely because of how much information is available right there on the search engine results page. Google strives to deliver as much information as possible as quickly as possible, and meta descriptions and featured snippets go a long way in providing users with helpful data without ever actually leaving the Google platform.
Why it matters: Simply ranking on the first page (or even in the featured snippet) isn’t enough anymore.
In any given search, you may also compete against ads, sponsored images, maps, and Google My Business profiles.
But if Google users aren’t clicking, they’re not getting to your site.
This data figure has been a major source of frustration for SEO experts, as it becomes more and more difficult for them to prove the value of their work.
Companies with heavy investments in SEO-specific projects may need to re-evaluate their goals and exactly how they’ll measure success.
6. 75% of people never scroll past the first page.
There’s an old SEO joke that basically goes like this:
Question: “Where’s the best place to hide something?”
Answer: “On the second page of Google!”
Although the joke typically gets a few groans (and a cheesy grin from the person telling it), the sentiment is true. Most people would rather give up or try an entirely different search term than head to the second page of Google.
Why it matters: Again, it pays to be on the first page of Google.
Imagine it this way: What if 75% of people who were interested in your company’s services or products were walking by your store, but they simply ignored all of your signage and visited a competitor?
You’re missing huge opportunities by missing front-page treatment!
Applying the Knowledge
Much of the above facts back up what’s already well known: The top of the search results is valuable real estate—and showing up anywhere else is nearly worthless. With the vast majority of search traffic going to the first page, there’s little value appearing at the bottom of the second page or the top of the third.
If qualified traffic holds any value for your business, you must incorporate SEO best practices into your content strategy. With 50% of traffic not clicking, you’re facing even more competition when it comes to reaching the people who do click.
Unless you’ve explicitly told Google not to, your content will get indexed. Better to write it as well as possible for the best results possible.