Top Search Position Gains 37-percent of Clicks

Linc Wonham
by Linc Wonham 04 May, 2011

Real-time Web marketing software and services provider Optify recently conducted an SEO study with the goal of determining a new click-through-rate (CTR) curve based on recent changes to Google and Bing's search engine results pages. Previous CTR curves include the famous 2006 AOL CTR curve as well as several other more recent attempts to provide updated curves.

Optify used a small sample set of its client database that was constructed from organic keyword visits by a variety of B2B and B2C websites. The research revealed that click through rates for the top three results on search engines are highly concentrated and account for nearly 60 percent of all clicks, with the top spot achieving nearly 37 percent of the clicks on its own.

The study also showed that lower cost-per-click (CPC) terms see more than 30 percent of clicks on the top results, while higher CPC terms receive fewer than 20 percent of clicks on the top result.

"Optify's research was directed to understand whether changes in search results have influenced click through rates, and how business marketers can focus their efforts," says Erez Barak, co-founder and vice president of products at Optify. "CTR curves are the cornerstone of the SEO industry, and we wanted to provide up-to-date insights to enable marketers to promote and grow their businesses online."

Key findings of the study include the following:

- CTRs on the top search results are high, despite additions to results and format changes. Ranking first on the second page has greater value than ranking at the bottom of page one.

- There is a negative correlation between CTR on organic results and the cost of sponsored results. As CPC value goes up, there are fewer clicks on organic results.

- Search volume affects CTR. Long-tail terms show higher CTR on page one than higher-traffic terms. This means that marketers can get significant impact even from lower-traffic terms.

In the increasingly competitive search marketing climate, measuring page rank and search volume is not enough to be successful. Businesses need to carefully track not just where they rank on search engines, but also the CTR of those keywords and whether to target them with paid or organic search strategies.

Visit Optify's Organic CTR Curve Study for more information.