Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

The Difference Between Page 1 and 2 In Google?

I thought it would be interesting today, to take a look at 2 sites in the highly competitive niche of “internet marketing”. One site sits in the middle of page one and the other in the middle of page two. Both ranking pages are the top level domains (TLD) so I thought it would be interesting to see why one site sits on page 1 and the other on page 2 respectively.

The two sites in question are:- – This site sits on page 1 or SITE A for our purposes – This site sits on page 2 or SITE B for our purposes

OK let’s break these sites down rather geekishly, looking at every aspect that could be causing one to rank higher and the other to rank lower. I always think showing key elements of SEO in this way is better than me telling you what to do without giving you some real life examples. Anyway let’s get started.

The keyword were looking at remember is “internet marketing”

In Title Tag

Site A= Internet marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing, web promotion

Site B= Internet Marketing | Hubspot

Already you can see that both sites have put full emphasis on the keyword “internet marketing” but site a has put more emphasis on “marketing” using it three times. There has been some debate about how sites that use multiple keywords in the title tag could be classed as spam. Not in this case eveyone! In fact it could actually be adding value.

Keyword Density

Site A= 5%
Site B= 3.1%

Again Site A seems to have a higher keyword density, some question the effectiveness of on page factors under the current Google algorithm. This doesn’t particularly prove anything as there are far too many factors to take into account.

Keyword Prominence

Just to clarify before we go into this one, keyword prominence relates to how close the keywords are to the beginning of a particular document, keyword density is simply the ratio of use, for example 10 keywords in 100 words would be a density of 10%. Hope this makes sense.

Site A= 60.7%
Site B= 61.9%

Both sites have a high keyword prominence which should suggest to all of us, make sure your major keywords are as close to the top of your page as is “naturally possible”.

H1 Tag

Site A= 0%
Site B= 33.3%

H2 Tag

Site A= 0%
Site B= 20%

Site B makes good use of headings yet it is not enough to put the page on the first page of Google. As I have suggested before it is good practice to use headings but on there own they have little impact, unless you are targeting low competition keywords.

META Keywords

Site A= 19.6%
Site B= 27.6%

Google no longer take into account META keywords, apparently. So why do all the top sites use them? Just for good practice? I don’t think they have a strong influence on relevance but I firmly believe they play a role. Try using 6 – 8 words in the tag, per page.

Link Popularity

Site A= 44200
Site B= 19900

We see a massive difference in the amount of backlinks to the pages here, showing for a fact that link popularity plays a role as well as link quality. You should try to build both equally, quality and quantity, neglecting niether.

Anchor Text

Hey….My favourite aspect. Let’s illustrate this with a few images to make this long post a little more interesting.

Site A=

Site B=

As you can see from the above images, Site A has far more emphasis on the targeted keyword with 18.5% on marketing and 7.3% on internet compared to 11.3% and 2.3% for Site B. This is a major factor in why one ranks above the other. If site a were to increase it link text optimisation I could guarantee that it would move up onto the first page.

Linking Pages

I want to take a look at some of the metrics concerning the pages where the links are coming from, firstly looking at how the keywords are used on the pages and secondly the Page Rank of the relevant pages. This topic comes under “link quality” let’s see what the differences are.

Site A

Site B

The above shows that Site B has a higher percentage of links from pages using “internet marketing” effectively, however as it l
acks in link popularity and the anchor text is not optimised, it is not in a position to trouble those on the first page.

The below shows the average PageRank of the pages linking in, or in other words the quality of the incoming link.

Site A= PR 3.2

Site B= PR 4

It seems again Site B has the better quality of links as a percentage but still does not get onto page 1, this proves a lot, in that link quality is not as important as link optimisation. Again if Site B had anchored their links with “internet marketing” a little more they would have been in a very strong position.

Website Age

Site A= 12 years 4 months
Site B= 3 years 10 months

Again this plays a big role and a site that is optimised on page and has been around 12 years is always going to be hard to beat. However I still feel strongly if Site B’s links were optimised they would have already joined Site A on the first page.

Lessons We Can Learn

Here are a few points I think we can learn from the above bit of research.

  • Your main keyword must have a strong prominence in your title tag
  • On page matters only if your off page aspects back them up
  • Heading tags are over rated and should be used to target lower competition keywords
  • Use META keywords as a matter of good practice
  • Link popularity is as strong as link quality if anchored correctly
  • Strong anchor optimisation on a mature page will see you to the top of Google

If you are stuck on the second page of Google and don’t know where to go, make sure you test all of the above tips to make sure you are competing effectively.

I know it’s been a long one but I like comparing sites to show how SEO really effects rankings. If you want to read another guy’s blog who knows the effectiveness of SEO check out Griz’s Make Money Blog.

Until next time


Line Break

Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.



Mike Volpe - HubSpot April 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

Great analysis.

You are correct that we do not rank quite as highly because of fewer and less optimized links. We have not ben around forever and are constantly building up our authority. When you checked our ranks, you saw HubSpot on “page 2″, but we also actually often rank on page 1 for the term “internet marketing”, though usually in positions 5-10.

We’re hoping to continue to drive more links into our site and improve our rankings, not only on this phrase, but hundreds of others we track.

Tim Grice April 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Hi Mike,

This post was simply showing differences in sites focusing on different keywords. I know that rankings differ depending where you are, time, and trends etc

I speak to a lot of clients who struggle getting from page 2 – 3 to page 1 this was really just to highlight some areas they may be missing.

Site age has a massive impact and as you say ranking for 1 keyword is not a good business model and anyone into SEO should be targeting hundreds, as someone kindly pointed out to me on sphinn :)

Thanks for dropping by

Anna April 7, 2009 at 6:25 am

know about maths. What I know is that I never go to 2 page of google when I need to find something.

Tim Grice April 7, 2009 at 6:34 am

Hi Anna,

You do get some visitors sitting on page 2, I even get a few from a keyword I rank page 5 for. Saying that page one is where the bulk of the traffic goes.

I recently hit page 1 for google seo services and my traffic has increased 4 times, compared to being sat on page 3.

Admin April 22, 2009 at 4:24 am

Hello Tim,
I want to tell you BIG THANK YOU. you are great SEO expert. I found your blog 2 days ago, and i read your posts. I like your easy writing. Finaly i understand a lot of things that i have read long time ago and didn’t get it. you explain things better than all. you use simple words.
you helped me a lot.and you are my favorite!

Tim Grice April 22, 2009 at 4:51 am


Thanks a lot for the comment, I am flattered. There is a lot of SEO info out there that tries to make things as complicated as possible. I always say if you want to learn how to rank high, look at the sites that are already doing it. There should be nothing complex or difficult about.

Thanks again

Mike McDermott June 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for the advice. I like how the HubSpot software allows you to perform these sorts of competitive site reviews on the fly.
As a couple of folks have already commented, you gain a bunch of visitors by being on page 1 versus page 2, sometimes allotting to huge snarls in your sales side as you try to deal with all the extra attention.
Your META keyword analysis matches much of my own study. Having 5-10 strong keywords is all that really matters, and that you often get “extra credit” from Google for performing variations on that theme on subsequent inner linked pages.

Tim June 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm


Thanks fo the comment. It is amazing the difference in traffic from page one to page two, a recent study I read suggest only 10% of searches go beyond the first page and 47% click on the top spot. My opinion is to optimise for Google you have to optimise a little bit of everything. It is common knowledge now that Google gives no weight to META data but every site I see ranking high optimises this well, better safe than sorry.

Thanks again for contributing.

steve April 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

Late to the game here but I don’t see how you can be so confident re the anchor text impact when other factors, especially the relative ages of the sites differ so much. In other words, far to many variables.

Saying that, the article is really useful as a guide to what those involved in SEO should be working on regardless of exactly how much weight is given to each factor.

A belated thanks!

Tim April 12, 2011 at 3:52 am

Hi Steve,

I appreciate the comment and did write this in April 2009 :) Things have changed significantly since then check out my most recent post.


Brennan July 1, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Hey there, Tim. Kinda learning about – and then forgetting most and then overall getting confused with – SEO, but your breakdown seems easy enough for me to get. Crazy stuff, this SEO biz.

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