SEO earnings vs. Google Rankings – Are you ready to bank?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

By  •  8 min read

Happy new year everybody! I hope everyone had a blast these holidays and more important, I hope you enjoyed the time with your family and friends.

Have you ever wondered how much money can you earn if you rank a website in the first position of Google? How do you even calculate it? Well, that’s what we’re learning today.

I always say I want to keep my posts short and they end up being 2,000 words long. This time, it’s going to be sure because I want to keep it simple and straight to the point.

So, what’s the earnings difference between being ranked 1st, vs. being ranked 2nd, or 3rd, or maybe on the 10th position of the first page? Let’s calculate it!

Earnings vs. Rankings – Case study

For this little case study, I was able to rank 3 different articles with 3 totally different monetization methods on their own. 2 of them were relatively low competition search queries with low volume, and one had high volume with medium competition. All of them started ranking in the first 10 pages of Google and then moved to the 2nd page and then onto the 1st page.

Basically none of them were earning money before entering the first page, which is very important because unless you’ve got a super high volume search query, you probably won’t earn anything if you’re not in the first page.

Article 1 – Low-Mid search volume + high paying offer

The first site we’re analyzing had an article that was ranking between the 10th and 1st position (different days) and was a review of a product that pays a $100 commission for each new customer you send.

Search volume was low, but there were a few long tail keywords that boosted the traffic and the conversion rate was so-so.

  • Search volume: 3,500 searches per month
  • Average traffic per day ranked on 1st place: 45, but it was receiving some long tail keyword traffic and averaging around 70 visits per day
  • Payout per conversion: $100 after they bought a $200 service
  • Earnings per month: $1,300 (13 conversions)
  • Conversion rate: 0.6% (13 conversions out of 2,100 visits per month)

As you can see, this article alone was able to earn $1,300 per month on autopilot while being on the first place. The competition is tough in this niche, so I was only able to maintain this position for a few weeks. Right now I’m dancing between the second and fourth place in Google rankings.

However, I noticed that the traffic and earnings were considerably reduced after the rankings reduction. It was something like this:

Rankings (Google) – Earnings (USD)

  • 1st place – $1,300-1400 per month
  • 2nd place – $700-800 per month
  • 3rd place – $400 per month
  • 4th place – $200 per month
  • 5th place – $200 per month

And basically anything between the 5th place and the 10th place in Google rankings were earning no more than $100-200 per month.

That means the first place can earn at least 10-14 times more than the 10th place in this test. Hence the importance of being in the top 5 spots to get more traffic AND revenue.

The traffic had the same trend according to the rankings, and I was able to get at least 5-10x more traffic while ranked on the first place vs. the 10th place.

Article 2 – Medium search volume + low paying offer

The second article was being ranked on a parasite website and was targeting a CPA offer that converted after an email/zip submit. Contrary to the first case, where people had to buy a service that costs $200 per year so I could get a $100 commission, this time they just had to fill their email info and zip code in order for me to get a commission of $1.6 USD. You can find offers like this in CPA networks such as Neverblue and Peerfly.

Obviously, the conversion rate was higher and somehow compensated the low payout for the offer. This keyword had medium competition on search engines and a mid-sized search volume.

  • Search volume: 20,000 searches per month
  • Average traffic per day ranked on 1st place: 270, but it was receiving some long tail keyword traffic and averaging around 300-350 visits per day
  • Payout per conversion: $1.6 after email/zip submit
  • Earnings per month: $1,450 aprox.
  • Conversion Rate: 10% (around 900 conversions from 9,000 visitors per month)

Don’t ever underestimate low paying offers or affiliate programs just because you want the big bucks. I earned almost the same amount of money and even more by promoting a $1.6 offer vs. promoting a $100 offer just because the conversion rate was a lot higher. Golden nugget right here.

The earnings and traffic dropped pretty much the same was as with the first article.

Rankings (Google) – Earnings (USD)

  • 1st place – $1,400-1500 per month
  • 2nd place – $700-800 per month
  • 3rd place – $300-400 per month
  • 4th place – $200 per month
  • 5th place – $100 per month
  • etc.

Which means, the first place earns twice as much as the second, and 3 times as much as the third place and so on. The better you’re ranked, the higher your conversion rate will be since your traffic will be brand new to the topic instead of having visited all your competitors before (and probably bought from them).

Article 3 – High search volume + low paying offer

For this last case study I was able to rank just for a few days an article for a high search volume keyword and I was able to monetize it with a CPA offer.

I wasn’t able to maintain this keyword for as long as the rest, but I can easily assume what would have happened if I had ranked in different positions because the trend was similar and because the conversion rate was so high that I had enough data to get statistical significance.

Google hates this kind of sites, so it was erased from their search results after 2 weeks. Here are the results:

  • Search volume: 120,000 searches per month
  • Average traffic per day ranked on 1st place: 1,600, but it was receiving some long tail keyword traffic and averaging around 1,800 visits per day
  • Payout per conversion: $1 after phone PIN submit (hence why Google banned it after a few days)
  • ESTIMATED Earnings per month: $10,500 aprox.
  • Conversion Rate: 20% (around 350 conversions from 1,800 visitors per day / 10,500 conversions from 54,000 visitors per month)

SEO earnings rankings

This experiment was crazy, as I was able to rank between the first and second place in the 1st or 2nd position for this keyword and make some good money from it. After 10 days the site had already disappeared from Google (after a penalty).

I’ve got to recognize that those sites are the kind of sites Google really hates. I know tons of people banking from it, and that’s all I’m going to say. Of course it’s not easy to rank for them, and it’s even more difficult to keep them ranked because there’s competition and they tend to disappear from Google after a few days/weeks, but it was fun to try it.

I mean, if a single site with just 1 article was able to make $10,000 per month, imagine if you could rank 3-5 of them per month? Some SEOs are banking hard just with CPA offers, and as you can see, even if it’s a simple offer that pays $1, as long as your conversion rate is good, you can make big bucks without ranking for “weight loss” and promoting a $200 Clickbank product.

Your new years gift

I’ve got a surprise for you. I’ve been learning a lot of CPA marketing lately (Teespring was just the beginning) and as you can see, there’s good money to be made from there. If you want to make it rain this 2015, you shouldn’t miss my next posts coming next week.

There are just a few products or services I recommend, and I’m normally not a fan of paid courses or ebooks unless they’re really good. Heck, I haven’t promoted anything directly to my subscribers since December 2013!

However, if you want to get started on CPA marketing and learn different monetization methods for both organic AND paid traffic, then hope into my email list.

I’ve got a very sweet deal for you to start this year and learn a lot about traffic monetization techniques that you won’t see elsewhere. It’s a paid forum that’s usually $150 per membership, but you’ll be able to get in and read the guides for much less than that. I promise it will be worth it.

If you’re not subscribed to my email list, hurry up and subscribe so you can receive my especial discount next week. Talk to you later!

P.S. If you love these case studies don’t forget to leave a comment or share it on your social profiles! See you next week.

Servando started Stream SEO in 2012. He is a full-time affiliate marketing expert and blogger. Servando has been able to generate more than 7 figures with various digital marketing strategies. Read more here.