If you KNOW you CAN'T get the #1 spot on Google, is the KW worth spending time on?

33 replies
  • SEO
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Since the #1 slot captures 40%+ of traffic for a certain keyword, and there's only so much organic searches for a particular KW/niche. Is it worth spending time on a KW/KWPhrase/niche if you KNOW absolutely that you can't take over #1 slot?

Will #2-10 still be worth going for?
#google #spending #spot #time #worth
  • Profile picture of the author RichardF
    Depends on a few factors, but I usually go for it. One factor is the type of keyword: if you were a regular user searching for it, would you go beyond #1? Or are all your questions answered on that first result? Also consider search volume - if the volume is low you might not see much, if any, traffic if you're not ranking #1.

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  • Profile picture of the author premiumlinks99
    Search volume is very important, if it's too low don't bother with it, as #1 ranked site usually grabs 50% of the traffic for the actual keyword. If the number of exact searches per month is at least a few thousands and the competition is not quite strong, definitely jump on it.
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  • Profile picture of the author wfstin
    Of course, I have some sites at #5 and they get a reasonable 15-20% which is still great as long as the search volume is there and the traffic can be monetized. In my case the #5 ranking works out great because my conversion is super high (even higher than when I'm bidding for the #1 ads spot) because my competitors just flat out suck at sales and don't address the problem the visitors are having nor do they address the solution. Once they land on my site they breathe a sigh of relief and whip out the old plastic card
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  • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
    It depends. If you can't get to no.1 and the keyword has limited searches, why not aim for something you can get to 1 for?

    On the other hand, even if you know you won't get to number 1, you may still want to go for it, for a number of reasons...

    If you have a keyword rich article with related keywords, you will get found for many other keyword phrases. People aren't always typing in "Product Name". They are typing in "product name review", "best price on product name" etc. So you can go for those supporting your main theme.

    You can find these keywords using Google Adwords tool, though sometimes they won't show up. You can also install stat counter on your site and see what people searched for and when they landed on your site. Then you can optimize for the phrases you see repeated.

    You can also rank different keywords on your site and naturally point them to to the page with desired keyword.

    I generally go for keywords I can rank no.1 for but I have keywords that are not no.1 doing very well because I optimized the site for related words and that resulted in traffic to the desired keyword.

    And as @wfstin shares, sometimes searchers like to read thru the first few results before making the purchase decision and you are right there waiting a little lower down in the rankings.

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  • Profile picture of the author eklipz316
    It depends on the search volume and how far below #1 you can get. If you can get to #2 for example, I'd probably say go for it but if you can only reach page 3, I'd probably search out another keyword.
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  • Profile picture of the author RevereMedia
    I have found that as long as you are "above the fold" the SEO is worth it. Typically you will see the first spot or two taken by sites like wikipedia or imdb.com or another high ranked site. Unfortunately, you will never beat those sites, but coming in just after them is worth the money and time it takes to get there.
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  • Profile picture of the author ok123
    There is facebook, youtube, twitter and thousands of other ad companies which can drive traffic.. Why limit yourself only to G.. as Jill Carpenter has also commented..
    Action expresses priorities - Mahatma Gandhi
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    • Profile picture of the author Tom Ryan
      Sure, it is certainly worth going for. You may not get the amount of traffic that the 1st position brings, but you will still get traffic. You will also get traffic from the variations that people use when searching for that keyword.

      And as was already said, google isn't the only search engine.

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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    One thing I've learned about Google SERPs, almost any site/page can be bumped out of the #1 postion on page #1 of the SERPs.

    No two keywords are the same as far as the amount of work it takes to get your page in the #1 position in the SERPs.

    If you don't try for the #1 position, you'll never know what your missing or sometimes just how easy it is to rank #1.

    At the very least build an internal page & some good internal linking + on-page seo, & see If the simple stuff will land your page on Google SERPs first page for your keyword.
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  • Profile picture of the author ASHLEY999
    I am no SEO expert but I have a site that is on the 2nd position for the primary keyword. I have targeted longer versions of the primary keyword for which I am number one and that supplements the lost traffic. Oh, and I have also optimized my inner pages and those guys bring in traffic that adds to my daily visitor count.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
      When I am evaluating whether or not to jump into a campaign, I take the opposite approach. I assume I will not be able to get the #1 ranking. Even having done this for quite awhile, there is still no absolute guarantees that you will be #1.

      So I look at two things mostly. Search volume and potential ROI if I am the #2, #3, or #4 spot. I then try to decide based on the potential visitors without a #1 ranking if the campaign would still be worth my time.

      I don't have a magic search volume number I look for either. It can depend on the commission amount for the product I am promoting. If it has a recurring fee that I get paid on every month or very high payout, I'll still go for it even if I can only pull in a few hundred visitors a month.


      I have one campaign I just started a few months ago like this. I pretty much knew I wouldn't take out #1 with a lot of work (#1 is the company that provides the product/service), but I am ranked between #2 and #5 for several keywords right now. It has been pulling in around $150/month and topped $200 last month. It is a recurring subscription, so I expect the income to build steadily each month.

      None of my keywords in this case get over 1000 searches a month, and most are below 500. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, but I have a pretty good sales ratio on this one and am combining it with a few other traffic sources.

      So in a long winded answer to your question, yes some keywords can be worth going after even if you have to settle for #2.
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  • Profile picture of the author hpad06
    Originally Posted by davidtong View Post

    Since the #1 slot captures 40%+ of traffic for a certain keyword, and there's only so much organic searches for a particular KW/niche. Is it worth spending time on a KW/KWPhrase/niche if you KNOW absolutely that you can't take over #1 slot?

    Will #2-10 still be worth going for?

    is the kw a brand name? if not brand name, then you should set your target for #1 spot. Without faith, you will not even get #2-#10
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  • Profile picture of the author attorneydavid
    certain searches lend themselves to deep searching. For example I have a site on starting a solo law practice. It gets decent traffic from page 2 results. Logically people bone up before starting their own business.

    Buying keyword would be the opposite. (though in the above example while not buying per se it's a keyword where the searchers will have alot of needs in the future).

    Anything that gets enough traffic might be worth it. That said i'd want at least a couple terms I though I could get #1 if I wanted it enough per site.

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  • Profile picture of the author Lyanna
    Let me tell you something that happened to me. I got all excited over a new website idea so I set up the blog and such. Then I did the keyword research and to my surprise I found out that there were actually mega-websites in my niche that are always in the top 3 of Google for every single keyword phrase that I could think of.

    I looked over these websites and found out that they were very old, had hundreds of thousands of pages, and had millions of backlinks.

    So yeah, I was upset but you know what? Right now I am on the first page of Google for every single keyword phrase that I have targeted (24 so far) and I get over 1k unique visitors everyday.

    What I now believe is that the presence of big mega-websites that you can never beat to the #1 spot just means that there is tremendous traffic volume. Even the #6 spot still gets me traffic so yeah... it can be worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author davidtong
    Great insights Much thanks.

    BTW, my question doesn't imply that there are no other traffic sources other than Google, I just want to know an answer directly related to Google search, so let's just stick to the topic.
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    • Profile picture of the author dburk
      Hi David,

      There is no hard fast rule that says the #1 listing always get 40% of the traffic. There are many factors that influence click through rates. You could easily out perform the #1 position by having a clever title and description snippet. You don't always have to be in the #1 positions to get the most traffic.

      And then there is the old trick of sandwiching the top listing with an "above-the-organic" sponsored listing.
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  • Profile picture of the author kkchoon
    Why not? I build my websites on tons of keywords, not only 1 or few keywords, and most of the time only half of them ranked on Position #1, I still get thousands of visitors everyday.

    Let's put it this way, you are not only looking for keyword with decent traffic, but also keywords that convert into sales, so sometime even those keywords don't have a lot of traffic or too competitive to rank on page 1, I will still target them and make it to top 5 ranking.

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    • Profile picture of the author Lyanna
      Originally Posted by kkchoon View Post

      Why not? I build my websites on tons of keywords, not only 1 or few keywords, and most of the time only half of them ranked on Position #1, I still get thousands of visitors everyday.
      I forgot to mention that!

      Very true, if you make a big, constantly updated website and not a micro-niche one, you will be ranking for many, many keywords. So a little bit of traffic from each keyword will add up to a lot if you have 100s of keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author ex9to5guy
    of course it is! anyone who would say not too is crazy, even if it is a low search tech(under 1000 exact). You are throwing money away. I get decent traffic on sites that are ranking 9-10.
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  • Profile picture of the author Billy Rey
    go for it. Long term,, you might have a shot. It gives you a long long term goal to keep you motivated while you eat all the other smaller keywords

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  • Profile picture of the author imdomination
    I definitely go for it.

    I've got sites making hundreds of dollars a month each that aren't even on page 1 for their main keyword yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author Enis
    Yes, ofcourse. A friend of mine was making $10.000 a month with a site that ranked at #6 but it was a BIG keyword. I'm not sure if he still does though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rough Outline
    I'd never go for a keyword if I knew I couldn't get 1st spot. Unless it was a huge traffic keyword or extremely lucrative, otherwise the traffic percentage would be too small.
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    • Profile picture of the author Diane S
      I have a site that consistently ranks on pages 2 - 3, and the annual income is 3X the costs of the site's annual domain registration and hosting. Not huge, as you can see. But I am keeping the site. It took 20 hours of work to create the site with unique content I wrote myself and about 40 hours of linkbuilding time total. That was two years ago. Haven't touched the site since I finished the linkbuilding two years ago. It is now passive income. I knew I would never get to #1 when doing the keyword research, but I also assumed there was money left over for other sites displayed on a Google search, even past page one. I say go for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesGw
    It's definitely worth it, even for sub 1k/month search terms. Get enough of those keywords (shouldn't take much work) and you'll have a bunch of nice traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr Payne
    Of course it really depends on how many searches are going for that keyword every day but, I would say if you can get in the top 5, it's worth it. Obviously there will be scenarios where the number of searches is on the low side and so not many reach you if you were say, ranked 5th but as long as there's a decent amount of searches then you should be able to have some success.
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  • Profile picture of the author App Developers
    depends on the keyword and traffic. I most of the time will go for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ettienne
    Originally Posted by davidtong View Post

    Since the #1 slot captures 40%+ of traffic for a certain keyword, and there's only so much organic searches for a particular KW/niche. Is it worth spending time on a KW/KWPhrase/niche if you KNOW absolutely that you can't take over #1 slot?

    Will #2-10 still be worth going for?
    Nothing is impossible, I started targeting a 3 word phrase that has 232,000,000 search results 2 months ago, as it stands today, I'm ranking #5.

    Sure, it takes longer and more effort, but not impossible. If you know you're gonna make good money with that phrase, GO FOR IT FULL ON!
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  • Profile picture of the author ilee
    I would still go for it if you think its still profitable

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