The value of a Top Ranking

In his article What’s a Top Ranking worth at E-Marketing Performance, Stoney deGeyter has provided a superb analysis on what a top ranking is actually worth to a site owner. He goes way beyond the usual “a #1 ranking gets 5 times as many clicks as a #5 ranking” type statement and provides a detailed analysis on many different elements of ranking.

The various issues that may have an impact on rankin value that Stoney identifies are :

What is a Search Engine Worth?
The value of a top ranking on Google is different from that of Yahoo or MSN. Every engine gets a different volume of searchers, a different quality of searchers and a different intensity of searchers. Each of these plays a role in determining the value that a top ranking provides.

What is a Keyword Worth?
All keywords are not created equal… a top ranking for one keyword will produce different traffic, both in numbers and relevance.

What is Your Industry Worth?
Some industries get a huge amount of traffic while others can produce only a fraction of that.

What is Your Profit Margin Worth?
Profit margins are a huge factor in the value of a ranking. Search volume can be low for your industry or keywords, but if you are in an industry with a high profit margin it doesn’t take much to succeed.

What is a Search Position Worth?
The position you get in the search results can matter a great deal.

What is Localisation & Personalisation Worth?
Search engines continually look for ways to provide more relevant results to the user. This is both good and bad to the business because what is more relevant for one is not as relevant for the other.

So what is a top ranking worth? – it just simply depends. It is important to understand that search engine rankings are merely a single measure of success, not success in themselves. You can do a lot by focusing on other more traditional marketing aspects of your site such as usability, conversion improvement than top rankings alone.