Alright, maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but SEOMoz’s February 21 blog was an interesting study on where the first organic search result on a page is shown in a number of different scenarios, with the full spectrum, from best case to worst case scenarios, considered. The study demonstrates that where the organic search results appear on the first page of Google search is highly variable, with many number one results appearing below the fold.
That’s right: Number one for some terms is below the fold, and as we’ve established, few people look there when they are trying to get information about a certain product or service. So, the question then becomes whether competing for that first spot is truly a good investment.
If you look at the details, it isn’t hard to see that Google loves to put rich content and paid search content above the organic results. To what degree they do this often is simply a matter of whether or not it makes sense to do so. Some keywords which trigger rich snippets like this are “weather,” “stocks,” and so forth, because these indicate that the user is looking for specific information that Google has access to and can provide directly. However, paid ads above the first organic search result is extremely common, and it is reasonably likely that Google will seek to maximize the use of this real estate for any term.
As such, perhaps we should consider the possibility that competing for that number one spot is not always the most valuable use of your time on all keywords. Instead, we should be looking to see which keywords provide the most real estate to organic search results, and competing on those terms.