SEO And Click Through Rates – A Reality Check

traffic image

If you’re trying to rank your website at the top of the search engines using SEO, you’re probably thinking once that happens, the future will be rosy and you’ll be raking in the dough. Not so fast. You see, you might not be aware of the reality of click through rates and how much traffic you’re really going to get.

Here’s the reality. Let me give you an example.

Suppose you’ve chosen a keyword that gets 5000 searches per month – that is, 5000 people type into Google that keyword phrase. You’ve done your SEO properly and now you’re website is on page 1, position #4, for that keyword. That may seem great and it is, BUT… in this scenario, you can expect to get only about 274 visitors to your site per month.

Why is that?

Several years ago a study was done that is still relevant today. This study explains the click through rates a website can expect in each position in the top 10. These figures should be used when planning your marketing and forecasting your sales.

Because even though the keyword is searched 5000 times (and, BTW, that figure is not exact, it’s an average, so it may be more or less) not all of those 5000 people are going to click on one of the top 10 results. Some may click on one of the ads that display above the results. Some may click on one of the ads that display in the side bar. Some may not click on anything.

For starters, about 95% of that 5000 people will click on anything. Then, the website in position #1 can only expect about 45% of those 5000 people to click on the site. After than, the traffic goes down considerably. If your website is in position #4, you can expect about 5 1/2% of those 5000 people – about 274 – to click on your website.

Wow, this is a really small figure, you say. Yes, it is.

Look at the graphic that follows to see the actual percentage of visitors a website cane expect to receive based on that website’s position in the top 10 results:

click through rate info graphic

As you can see, the amount of traffic a website can expect goes down A LOT as the top 10 position decreases. Again, these figures are estimations only, but are valid enough that you should use them.

Now, to complicate matters, the bad news doesn’t stop there.

Industry standards say the the click through rate to a vendor’s website from your website is only 1% to 2%. In addition, the vendor’s click through rate – in other words – how many people visiting the vendor’s website will actually buy the product is only 1% – 1% percent.

Again these are averages. Your goal, and the goal of every vendor, is to increase click through rates and conversions. This is the #1 THING that should be done. Always focus on click through rates and conversions. Heck, some vendors claim conversions at 5% or even 10%. This is high and not the norm.

So back to our example. If your website is ranking in position #4 for a keyword that gets 5000 searches per month, how many sales can you expect. If you take a higher figure than the norm, say 2%, you can only expect .1 sales a month, or one tenth of a sale. That means you can expect 1 sale over a 10 month period.

274 x 2% = 5.48 then, 5.48 x 2% = .1

Take a look at the following graphic to get a few sample sales figures based on a website’s position in the top 10:

click through stats

As you can see, even in position #1, you can only expect .9 sales or about 1 per month. This, my friends, will not make you rich.

So, with this bit of news, where should you go from here? How do you make enough sales to have a decent income? ONE WORD… TRAFFIC! You need more traffic. YOU NEED LOTS AND LOTS OF TRAFFIC!

Many successful webmasters don’t just SEO one keyword. They might SEO 50. Many successful webmasters don’t just drive traffic through SEO, they use paid traffic sources, blog postings, forum signatures, and a host of other methods.

The good news is you can expect that once the traffic ball is rolling, it will snowball and get bigger and bigger. This is what happens. It snowballs. If people like your site and the information you provide, they will start to bookmark it and come back again and again. They will start to share postings with friends. They will post a link on their site back to yours. More people will see it, more people will share and link back, etc. etc.

This is why for a majority of people, making money online does not come quickly. This is why making money online does not come at all – because most people don’t see results quickly like they expected and give up – they don’t stay the course.

But you are different right? You know what you want. You’re willing to give it your all. You’re willing to stay the course until you succeed. Knowing the truth about click through rates might have given you a reality check, but now you know, and now you can forge ahead realistically. It can happen for you like it has for thousands that have come before.


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