How click-through rates vary depending on what organic position you are at

By Ryan Mitchell | Director
02 January 2018

How Click-Through Rates Vary Depending on What Organic Position You Are At 

Click-through rates can be inconsistent, yet they are still a useful element in the world of SEO. A click-through rate, or CTR works along with the pay-per-click form of advertising in most cases. However, did you know that CTR can also be extremely helpful when it comes to organic searches? 

It may not be very common right now, but click-through rates have a lot more to offer website developers than we once thought. You may already know that it’s important to measure your CTR and know what your rate is. But do you know what your limitations are and what online factors contribute to your CTR not being where it should?

Why Measuring Organic Click-Through Rates is Important?

What is CTR?

Before you learn why measuring your organic CTR is vital to your SEO management, you need to learn what it is. Your organic click-through rate is the number of clicks that your search results receive, divided by the amount of times it’s viewed on the search engine’s results page.

Since click-through rates can be unpredictable, by calculating your organic rates, you have the chance to gauge how much each rank position is worth to your website. This calculation also allows you to evaluate your organic website traffic- depending on what your rates are. For example, if you notice that your CTR has dropped from the third position to the ninth, you would see that there was a significant drop in your traffic pertaining to that specific keyword.

When you have a clearer picture of the amount of traffic your website receives, you will be able to set realistic goals for your marketing efforts. This will help with putting together campaigns, creating website content, and understand what changes to make for your site to increase the amount of hits it receives.

Improving Website Traffic by Learning About Your Target Audience Through CTRs

Just think about it, how have your latest marketing campaigns performed? Did they do as well as you expected? Could you change your titles or meta descriptions to improve your click-through rate? By asking yourself these questions, you will gain a better understanding of who your target audience is, the things they are interested in, and what you can do to your website that would cause them to visit more often.

Are There Limitations to Organic Click-Through Rates?

Organic click-through rates can be very useful; however, they do have their limitations such as:

1. A click-through rate cannot provide you with the quality of your website traffic. For instance, you could be driving irrelevant clicks from locations that you don’t provide your service to instead of local customers.

2. CTRs can’t help you predict conversions either. Even if a visitor clicks on your link found in a search result, that still doesn’t mean they will buy something from your site or download your content.

3. Plus, the click-through rate might or might not help improve your SEO rank. While click-through rates and the actual rank of your website work together, they do not have much to do with each other. It’s difficult to determine what the association is between rank and CTR, yet it really doesn’t matter. The effort to improve either one will have a positive impact on your website.

Which Factors Influence our Click-through Rates?

In most cases, a branded keyword will have a higher CTR than non-branded keywords. This isn’t something that is unusual since searchers often look for a specific brand and search engines like Google have spent millions on providing searchers what they want in record time.

Based on a CTR study in 2014 conducted by Google, Advanced Web Ranking notes that the higher average for branded keywords is the direct result of a higher CTR for the top position.

However, non-branded keywords and CTRs for those keywords distribute evenly all throughout the SERP. This creates a flatter curve of click-through rates across all the rank positions.

The reason for that is because with branded keyword searches, the top result associates with the company’s website. That makes it the obvious choice for most searchers and it’s hard to miss.

Your CTRs can also vary based on your industry. This may be due to the needs of the searcher, or the search engine’s ability to produce the correct results.

Understanding CTR Models and The Common Curve

If you wish to include CTR modeling in your SEO efforts but don’t feel like you have the tools or the time to calculate them on your own, there are several CTR models that you can use.

If you decide to use a model, it is very important that you think about the method behind each model and choose the one that reflects your target audience.

Remember that the most important aspect of a click-through rate is not the individual rank’s CTR, but the curve that they land in. While studies show a different CTR for the top position, every CTR study shows a similar curve. Therefore, the experts rely on the curve, even when they know the CTR will vary for any search engine results.

How to Calculate Your Organic Click-Through Rate Curve

 Now you know that there are no CTRs or click-through rate curves that are alike. And that factor has a significant impact on your Organic CTRs. Since each click-through rate is unique it is worth taking the time to calculate your own.

You can do this by going to Mondovo’s Google Search Console and then checking the Keyword-wise performance. Alternatively, you can also take a look at the Page-wise performance and then export these details in CSV or Excel format.

Next, you will need to open the sheet in Excel and group your top keywords by their rank. Then calculate the rank’s average click-through rate, you should add all the clicks for each position, and then divide by the total number of impressions your website has. This will give you the CTR curve for your site. Then you can start working on raising your numbers to ensure that your website has more hits and your company gains more profit.

Author Bio: 

This guest article is a work of Sameer Panjwani, Founder & CEO of Mondovo, an online marketing toolset that helps you track your rankings, monitor your site stats and research your competitors'. A man of many talents, Sameer occasionally writes about social media marketing, content marketing and SEO. In his free time, he loves reading about the latest trends in SEO as well as spending time with his two little daughters.

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