The goal of Moneyball is to get the best results out of the least money spent. In other words, Billy Beane viewed his baseball team as a business, looking to get the best value or ROI. Beane’s Oakland teams made the playoffs four straight years in the early 2000s despite being in the bottom five teams in salary.

As a sports fan and a sportswriter, reading Moneyball changed the way I look at baseball like few other things have. Each week, I’ll try to do the same thing with SEO for you in this series, SEO MoneyBall, using some deeper statistics to give you a better look at how to improve your web presence. This week, I explain some Google Heat Maps and why it’s so important to be at the top of the search results.

One of the best ways to Moneyball your marketing efforts is to invest some time, effort, and money into SEO. There are two simple reasons why. First, SEO is extremely cost-efficient and becomes more so over time, so the bang for your buck- assuming you’re doing things right- increases over time. The other reason is that quite simply, if you’re not ranking well on Google, chances are not many people are finding your website.

This study by Chitika shows that nearly 33% of organic Google searches resulted in a click on the top listing of page 1. As you can see from the graph below, the numbers start decreasing quickly the lower your ranking is.

While it is important to be number one or two on Google’s results, it is most essential to a company to at least rank on the first page. The same study by Chitika found that 92% of search traffic goes to page one results. Just under 5% of traffic goes to page two results, and the percentages just get smaller from there.

To further illustrate this point, I’m going to borrow one of my favorite things from baseball statistics to use for Google search results.

In baseball, we like to use heat maps to show the frequency a pitcher throws a certain pitch in certain locations. This tells us a lot about a pitching performance and just how accurate a pitcher was over a game or season, etc. For instance, the heat map below (courtesy of is a representation of Homer Bailey’s no-hitter the other night. As you can see, Bailey worked the outside corners of the plate, and didn’t give the Giants much to hit.

We can use these heat maps for Google, too. This one shows the results of an SEO Customer study on where people click on the Google search results page.

Results above the fold (those that you don’t have to scroll down to see) garner almost all of the clicks on this page.

This next heat map used the same methods, but this time on a page with two paid search results above organic results, a Google maps result, and the new Google carousel feature.

This map shows us how important it is as a business to have a Google Places page with a good picture. It also tells us that even when paid searches are above organic results, the paid content is largely ignored.

I could show you a thousand of these heat maps, and they would all tell you the same thing: if you want organic traffic to your website, your page has to rank. Whether you accomplish that by paying a group of attractive SEO professionals to do it or by practicing sound SEO fundamentals on your own is up to you, but regardless, it is a necessity for any business that wants to make the most of their marketing opportunities.

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Can’t get enough SEO Moneyball? Check these posts out for more!

SEO Moneyball Series

SEO Moneyball: How to Utilize Google Trends

SEO Moneyball: Do Google +1s Lead to Higher Search Placement