Joe Meloni

A report from found that 53 percent percent of organic search clicks go to the first link on a SERP. The analysis also found that 85 percent of links on search results pages are organic while the remaining 15 percent are paid.

With more than half of clicks going to the first result, the remaining links see decreasing traffic in comparison. According to SEW, 15 percent of organic traffic goes to the second link, 9 percent to the third and the clicks dwindle farther down the line.

For SEO marketers, this may suggest that a top ranking is critical to success, and it certainly helps to achieve the No. 1 listing. Queries sent for the sake of research, whether for a purchase decision or otherwise, will likely see users clicks until they find a satisfactory result.

It’s difficult to gauge a user’s intent with a search, but Google has tried to an extent. For example, Brafton highlighted the company’s trend of SERP reduction to seven organic links. These pages seemingly correlate with queries that suggest the user has a specific brand or site in mind. Searches for “Apple” or “ESPN” yield fewer than 10 organic links. Meanwhile, more abstract or non-brand head terms signal to Google that a user wants diverse information, and these queries appear to maintain 10 links.

Companies with keyword and content marketing strategies centered around more contextual terms should aspire toward strong ranking, but the primary focus should be offering information related to key phrases that will engage ideal audiences. Data from AYTM Market Research released earlier this year found that consumers rarely make it past the third page of search results, but pages that satisfy query needs will improve in rankings.

Data will always show top results netting the most traffic – and leading results generally make it to the top for a reason. Developing the best content and creating a site with strong user experience in mind is the best path to a favorable search position. Page layout is a critical part of any easy-to-use site, which is among Google’s ranking signals. Brafton recently reported that Google updated its page layout algorithm, which penalizes sites with excessive ad content above the fold.