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How much is a Google top rankings worth

High rankings on Google can make the difference between an extremely successful online business and a total failure. The position of your website in Google's search results can make or break your business.

But how much exactly is a top ranking on Google worth? What can a top ranking on Google do for your business?

Paid search results are worth $37.7 million per day

Google published its earnings last month. Google-owned sites (i.e. mainly the search results) generated revenues of $3.40 billion in the first quarter of 2008 (that's about $37.7 million per day).

Advertisers wouldn't pay Google so much money if they didn't profit from it. The dollar amount indicates how much it is worth to be listed on Google's first result page. And these numbers only represent the value of the paid search results.

Listings in the natural search results are worth even more

An iProspect study showed that 60.5 percent of Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL users selected a natural (unpaid) search result over paid search result as the most relevant on a sample query. 60.8 percent of Yahoo! and 72.3 percent of Google search engine users chose a natural search result as the most relevant

That means that you will get many more clicks with an natural search engine listing than with a paid listing.

In addition, studies by Enquiro and iProspect revealed that 60.5% to 70.0% of users trust organic results while only 30% to 39.5% of users trust paid results.

In late 2007, information about an internal Google tool that assigned dollar values to the search results leaked:

Illustration: leaked Google data

It turned out that the Google tool was used by members of the AdWords sales team to help prioritize new customer acquisition.

Natural results deliver a higher return-on-investment

As you can see above, a listing in the natural search results is worth much more than a listing in the paid results:

  • web surfers click natural search results much more often
  • web surfers trust natural search results more

Although natural search results generate the most amount of targeted high quality traffic, there is still a great deal of companies that continue to spend their entire marketing budgets on pay per click advertising instead of investing in natural search engine optimization.

Optimizing your websites for high rankings in Google's natural search results provides a much better return-on-investment than pay per click ads. The value of a listing in the natural search results quickly pays for the investment you have to make in natural search engine optimization.

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May 2008 search engine articles