Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Flipboard 0 It is universally acknowledged that the higher you rank for a keyword in Google’s search results, the more likely it is that you will have a higher click-through rate (CTR) as well as more conversions for that keyword. That’s why Google dominates the field in internet advertising and it’s also why they make so much money by selling ad space (check out this nifty infographic for proof): if you can’t compete organically, you can always pay your way to the “top” spot. However, that comes with its own costs, so let’s assume you want to focus on organic ranking. Let’s also assume that, instead of just focusing on getting a high CTR or more conversions, you’ve decided to ask the real question—at what rank is profitability the highest? Now before you go thinking that the previous paragraph contradicts itself, allow me to establish what first got me interested in that question: “Just because something is universally acknowledged does not mean it’s universally applicable.” Or, in other words, every rule has its exceptions. After all, if everyone wants to be ranked number one in Google for their entire industry, then there’s going to be an awful lot of competition for those spots. And while there will always be certain people who want to be ranked first as a matter of pride or to lure in more investors, most of the time people just want to make sure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck. So this article, instead of talking yet more about how important a high rank is, will focus on a more specific metric: profitability. Luckily for us, someone has already done most of the work. Some time back, Drs. Sha Yang (Professor of Marketing at USC) and Anindya Ghose (Professor of Marketing at NYU) jointly wrote an academic paper titled An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets. As you may notice from the title, they focused on sponsored search, but as part of their research, they also looked into organic rankings and that’s what I’ll be focusing on in this article. As ought to surprise no one, they confirmed that both the CTR and number of conversions went up substantially with each rank closer to the top position of Google’s search results. Per their research, any monetary cost for reaching the first page for your core business was therefore a wise investment. Here’s the kicker, though: after making it to the first page, the fact that a higher rank leads to a higher CTR and conversion rate remained true, but the same could not be said for profitability. In other words, just because you rank number one for something does not mean that you’re making the most money off of it. Due to the extremely competitive nature of internet marketing, Drs. Ghose and Yang discovered that the high cost of staying at the top significantly cut into the profits gained from holding that position. Therefore, while you definitely want your website to reach the first page of search results, it is actually most profitable to rank staunchly in the middle of those results rather than go through all the expense and work of arriving at number one. There will, of course, be some people who always want to beat out the competition for reasons beyond profitability. It is, after all, still a significant achievement in its own right, and such achievements are sometimes more important than the cost. For those who are just interested in making the most money possible, however, now you know: being number one isn’t the key. Twitter Tweet Facebook Share Email This article was written for Business 2 Community by Kane Pepi.Learn how to publish your content on B2C Author: Kane Pepi Kane Pepi is an experienced financial and cryptocurrency writer with over 2,000+ published articles, guides, and market insights in the public domain. Expert niche subjects include asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and the prevention of financial crime. Kane is particularly skilled in explaining complex financial topics in a user-friendlyView full profile ›More by this author:VoIP Basics: Everything Beginners Should Know!Bitcoin Investment, Trading & Mining: The Ultimate Guide for BeginnersIs This a Better Way to Set Your 2020 Goals and Resolutions?