Nowadays, an organic #1 spot is fairly useless. The paid ones look so similar to the organic ones that (for any competitive term) the best you can hope for is #3 on this list (if you are #1 in organic).
This brings up another old topic that I'm going to start in another thread so as not to hijack this one....
My current and long term experience is different. We have always seen better results from organic #1's than ppc #1's. In fact we have had them in certain phrases for many years. It was better years ago. Its still better now. Is it "less better"?? I don't know. Haven't checked for that. But our experience is that organic #1's pay off....big time.
Meanwhile, more on ranking, Google penalties and site, business and small business impact.
It appears that one of our smb sites is emerging from some google penalties. It hit a lot of money phrases. It hit a LOT. I really don't trust webmaster tools data. Its purposefully not precise. It typifies the cr@p google has sent to local businesses for years. They got away with that, and continue to send cr@ppy data in that venue and they are doing it with purposefully non complete data in wmt.... Let alone who knows if its accurate or fudged data. Its purposefully not good. Of that I'm sure.
In any case wmt is showing a significant improvement in visibility. We are seeing more clicks to the website.
The most recent impact of the penalty roughly corresponded to May and June.
Here are some rough comparisons on some May and June data.
Overall leads to the business dropped 23% from 2013 and 20% from May/June '12. Those are devastating drops. The smb works hard and long on converting leads. No bs/ just hard work to convert leads to sales. Big drops in leads end up being drops in revenues.
Traffic losses to the website were far more brutal. Overall web traffic dropped 40% from 2 years ago and 35% from last year in those comparable months. Those are deadly drops. its not all google and its not all the G penalties...but those are big parts of the loss.
Its not all a function of google penalties and getting totally screwed on relevant money phrases. Google keeps changing its serps and appearance. There is more competition. Google threw web sites into high money serps...that reflected "changes in their "algos". That changed click patterns and has caused us a drop in traffic. Bull dinkeroo I say in response. Those algo changes were done to impact serps and diversify traffic to lead smb's to spend more on adwords. And we freaking have. Because of the penalties we upped our adwords spend in certain areas. Basically google made about 50-55% more money off of adwords during the past 2 months this year than in the past 3 years.
those freaking penalties killed us...but other things have also.
I have an entire program of diversification plans in the works. We'll see what we can do to break the bonds of dependence on google search. It is way too powerful.
Ranking "#1" is terrific....but don't put all your eggs in google. They are jerking webmasters chains in every way possible......and getting away with it in North America.