Ranking #1 Impact on Conversion Rate


It turns out there’s more to ranking well than just the extra traffic that it brings. At Wayfair we did some research into how traffic converts from top ranking compared to lower rankings, and we learned that traffic from the #1 ranking position converted much better than traffic from lower positions.

We wrote the study up at Search Engine Land, but here are the key points that are worth knowing:

Impact of ranking #1 on conversion rates

We saw about a 34% improvement in overall conversion rate from organic traffic for moving a keyword from ranking in positions 3 through 6 up to ranking #1. That’s in addition to the extra traffic we got from ranking better.

Interestingly, while it looked like moving up to rank 3 or rank 2 probably improved conversion, the data was muddy and not statistically significant. It was only on hitting #1 that we saw the massive spike in conversion rate.

Here’s what this might mean to the bottom line in terms of real dollars:

Dollar impact of ranking #1 over ranking #6

The likely cause of this behavior is that as soon as someone isn’t clicking on the #1 organic result, that probably means that either they’re looking for something very specific, or they’ve already clicked on #1 (and 2 and 3) and are price comparing or just shopping around without actually intending to buy.

In other words, if someone is shopping for USB Drives they’ll click the first result: if it’s a good site with the products they want at a reasonable price, they’ll probably just buy. This suggests that a lot of the clicks on results below #1 are actually people who have already clicked on the #1 result and continued to check out what everyone else had to offer.

So the lesson here is that ranking #1 really matters. It’s not just about the extra traffic, it’s also about better traffic.

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