Marketing-Jive, formerly SEO-Space, was established in 2006 and since then we have noticed significant increases in both traffic and feed subscribers. If you want to
promote your business to thousands of visitors who understand digital marketing, you’ve come to the right place. Sign up and start receiving qualified leads right now. Your ad will be visible on every unique page on our blog.
Over the years I have written about organic click through rates on a number of occasions. I was part of the team at Enquiro that released groundbreaking research in this area over a decade ago. Where and what people click on has always been fascinating to me. Even more interesting is the fact that traditionally Searchers click on organic results the majority of the time. Still around 80% of the time. However with Google continuing to exploit their search results pages with more ads, knowledge graph results, ever changing local packs and more, the organic real estate on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page) continues to change. It stands to reason then that the organic click through rates are also changing.
The fact is that it is difficult to get an accurate read on organic click through rates. Things like personalization of Search results make it challenging to find consistency in click through rates. However it is no secret that if you want to receive the lionshare of organic traffic being within the top three organic listings is still the money spot when it comes to real estate on the SERPs.
I wanted to share an article that I wrote in 2014, while at Mediative. It was an update based on some of our research on search and click activity.
The article is reproduced in it's entirety here sans some of the images.
Organic Click Through Rates in 2014
Search Engines Results Pages have changed dramatically in recent years. How has this changed the impact of the prime real estate on a Google SERP and how does this impact where people actually click when they arrive on a Google SERP? Of course that is dependent on the type of search that a user conducts but historically you really want to be found in that prime real estate of a SERP. We have previously defined some of this prime real estate as Google’s Golden Triangle wherein the top three or four results on the SERP are the place to be if you want to be seen by a good proportion of searchers.
In addition, we have performed numerous eye tracking studies over the years that have provided some amazing insight into just where people’s visual tendencies are when they arrive on a search results page. You can download our original research here.
It is one thing to see and view the results, but where do users actually click when they arrive on the SERP? Numerous studies (including our own) have identified that the majority of clicks happen on organic listings. In our original study, when the Google SERP was pretty simple in nature, we saw that users clicked on organic results 70% of the time and clicked on Paid listings 30% of the time. Of course since then Google has made a number of changes to their results pages. In 2007, we were introduced to personalized and Universal Search where the 10 blue links transformed to include elements such as video results, news results and more than just the ten blue links. Google has since added local results, knowledge graph results, carousel results and other dynamic changes to their SERPs. There’s no question that the aesthetics of Google’s SERP has undergone quite the transformation in recent years.
Data from our earlier studies suggests that nearly 73% of the clicks on a Google results page went to an organic result. The breakdown of organic click-through rates can be seen in the table below.
Of course these click-through rates are dependent on the type of search and the type of results that are being returned. A top listing for a certain query may provide a click-through rate of anywhere from 15-40% it really depends on a number of elements including:
Relevancy of the results
The user’s familiarity with the sites/brands being listed
The intent of the searcher
The # of organic results returned on the SERP
In 2007, we performed updated research in which we say organic click-through rates shift slightly as seen here:
In 2011, Slingshot SEO released a study stating that the top organic spot captured 18.25% of the clicks; this is lower than what most studies have concluded. It just illustrates the fact that there is discrepancy due to a number of different factors as mentioned above. I have written about organic click-through rates on multiple occasions in the past and one thing that is for certain is that the higher up on a SERP that you are with your organic listings the greater chance you have of obtaining the click.
Advanced Web Ranking recently released some data on organic click-through rates on Google’s SERPs. Their findings back up our previous and most recent research. They found that, on average, a little over 71% of Google searches conducted resulted in clicks on page one in Google and that the first five results accounting for 67.60% of all clicks. Looking at our previous data, we suggested that the top five organic results acquired 54.7% of the clicks. Our most recent research found this to be closer to 65%.
Of note from the Advanced Web Ranking study is their data as it pertains to mobile. The assumption that many have made is that we would expect mobile CTR rates to be even higher for the top three results. (A smaller viewing area means that more of the content is below the fold.) In reality data from Advanced Web Ranking suggests that mobile CTRs are very similar to what we are seeing with desktop.
Getting back to desktop search, our most recent research from August 2014, suggests that the top five organic results account for approximately 65% of the clicks. So the findings from Advanced Web Ranking and Mediative’s own research are quite close. In fact, as taken from our own research here is the breakdown of the click data and how it’s distributed across the different elements of the SERP.
We can see the importance of still being in the top organic spot but look at how being in positions two or three has changed over the years. There is no question that even with all of Google’s dynamic changes to the SERP, having a solid organic ranking is key to attracting the click and acquiring traffic to your web properties. So what happens with local queries you might ask? Our research also illustrates users click activity when local results were found above and below organic listings. For example, did you know that when there is a local listing box above organic listings the top two organic listings garnered 45% of the page clicks?
In an extremely weird coincidence, as I was preparing this post, Philip Petrescu (from Advanced Web Rankings) has posted a piece on Google Organic Click-Through Rates in 2014 where he has cited our past research data from Enquiro. He has listed a comparison of previous CTR studies, so rather than replicate that here, you can see the comparison by going to: http://moz.com/blog/google-organic-click-through-rates-in-2014.
It is great to see so much research being done in this area. As website owners and online marketers, understanding how people engage with a search results page can help identify opportunities to gain visibility in areas where we know people will actually be focusing on. While the move to mobile search from desktop is in full force, early findings suggest that users have similar click-through habits when it comes to the search results that are presented to them. With mobile activity, we make the assumption that people are all about the convenience factor. However the fact remains, is that they are still looking for the most relevant result based on their intent. (Even if that means they may not know what the most relevant result may be). While it may no longer be about rankings, understanding organic CTR can illustrate just where it is that you should try to be found on a search results page. And while we cannot control where and on what people click, there are some things that you can do to get users to engage with your listings.
Three ways to potentially impact organic clicks
Produce highly relevant content – Building out relevant themes for your content still remains one of the best ways that you can gain visibility in Search. Becoming an authority for these topics can help ensure that you are found within the prime real estate of SERPs. Again, the magical equation is not just to drive traffic to your web properties, but to drive qualified traffic to your websites that will ideally follow up with some sort of engagement with your brand. If you have the “goods” that people are looking for and if you have a solid brand reputation, you should be able to gain visibility within Search results pages. If your messaging resonates with the user’s intent, you should be able to inherit the click as a result.
Optimize for the long-tail – While search activity may be lower for these types of keywords, searchers for these types of terms have a more distinct action in mind. Someone who searches for “all-season tires vs all weather tires” has a very specific intent. Someone who searches for “Nokian all-season tires” has an even more specific intent. Tailoring your content to focus on the long-tail can help entice clicks especially knowing that long tail keyword searches show higher CTRs for first page listings.
Optimize for Blended Search – whether it is desktop search or mobile search, optimizing for more than just a web page is becoming increasingly important. People are engaging with video, with maps, and with GEO content, and as a result, optimizing for these elements can help you gain visibility within the search results. Optimize for the Knowledge Graph and optimize for the convenience factor to improve the amount of impression that you receive.
Impressions are one thing, but organic click-through rates and actual organic clicks are what we are after. We are looking to drive traffic to our website which at the heart of it our websites are nothing more than a glorified brochure or guide for our business. It’s what we do with our messaging and the clicks that we do get which can have the greatest impact on our bottom line. Are you in it to win it, or are you in it to simply be an also ran and a potential rung on the ladder? People still click on organic listings regardless of desktop or mobile search, but it is all about convenience and being located in the prime real estate of a Google search is still where you want to be. The ever changing results pages, increased Web results competition and Google's use of machine learning (see: RankBrain) can make it difficult to achieve this visibility. It does not come easy. You have to work at it. You need to ensure that your content marketing efforts are speaking to the needs of your targeted audience. Your site still needs to be sticky, that is your content needs to be highly engaging and probably most important for mobile is that your site and your content has to provide answers to what searchers are looking for.
There have been other sources that have been evaluating organic click through rates including:
My original article can be found here: http://www.mediative.com/organic-click-through-rates-2014/
As we enter the Spring of 2016, comScore has released their most recent report on the Search Engine market for the US. Data from March illustrates that Google is still the dominate player in Search with a 67.5% market share in the US market. To put this into perspective, there were 19.4 billion core searches done in March 2016 (up from 17 billion in February), Google was responsible for nearly 12 billion of those. I'm often asked why the focus on Google and not other search engines such as Bing or Yahoo? While the reason is that in North America Google has been the dominant leader in Search over the past decade.
Google Sites led the U.S. explicit core search market in March with 67.5 percent market share, followed by Microsoft Sites with 18.6 percent (up 0.2 percentage points) and Yahoo Sites with 10.1 percent. Ask Network accounted for 2.5 percent of explicit core searches (up 0.1 percentage points), followed by AOL, Inc. with 1.3 percent.
19.4 billion explicit core searches were conducted in March, with Google Sites ranking first with 13.1 billion (up 9 percent). Microsoft Sites ranked second with 3.6 billion searches (up 10 percent), followed by Yahoo Sites with 2 billion (up 8 percent).
In March, 68.9 percent of searches carried organic search results from Google, while 27.1 percent of searches were powered by Bing (up 0.1 percentage points).
Google is still the dominant player when it comes to Search. However with their announcement in October 2015 that RankBrain is a core piece of their ranking algorithm and with recent search results being poor depending on your query, will Google lose market share? Unlikely, but as people continue to become search savvy and continue to look for information in a mobile, conversational manner, will Google be able to keep up?
I'm baaaaaaack! It has been quite some time since I posted on Marketing Jive. A lot of things have happened since my last post. I left a digital marketing company that I had worked for over a dozen of years, I formed my own consulting company working with digital agencies and site owners to help make the world of organic search results a better place and I have reduced the amount of stress in my life greatly. It has been an eventful year to say the least.
I am resurrected Marketing Jive where I will be focusing on sharing great information about organic search, but focusing on what I am really passionate about and that is website audits and content strategy. I am hoping to increase the frequency of posts (time permitting) and if any of you would like to contribute to Marketing Jive please feel free to reach out to me.
I will be using Marketing Jive as portal for my company Jody Nimetz Co. So you will be seeing some changes on the blog over the upcoming weeks (including a slight redesign). Thanks for checking us out.
If you have been conducting any type
of digital marketing over the past few years, the one item that you should have
become very intimate with is your content and more importantly, the need to
produce high quality content.
The fact of the matter is that content is the lifeblood of your website.
It’s the message from your content that helps educate users about your brand,
your products and services and most importantly, how you can solve their
problems. Content marketing is not something that is new to marketers; I
mean advertisers have been doing this for years. What is new is the
digital marketplace and how the ability of people to consume content has
changed. In the digital age, we have access to copious amounts of data
and content like never before.
The good folks over at
b2bmarketinginsider.com produced a great list of some content stats that you might find interesting. Here
is but a sample:
27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day. - AOL / Nielsen
60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to
vendors. - The Corporate Executive Board (CEB)
Emotional marketing messages are twice as effective as promotional ones
78% of CMOs think content is the future of marketing. - Demand Metric
The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8
seconds. –Statistic Brain
The number of web searches on the term “Content Marketing” is up 400%
since January 2011. – Google Trends
Another study found the three biggest challenges for content marketing
to be limited budgets (27%), limited staff (25%), and generating new content
(21%). - iMediaConnection
So content marketing is not going away; in fact, it’s growing.
Looking at what some of the main challenges are for content marketers, I
thought that a post about different options to enhance the content on your Web
properties might be of value. Some of these options can be used
regardless of the type of web site that you deploy while other options are more
specific for a certain type of site like an ecommerce site or sites within
specific industries. Nevertheless, these options can help you enhance
your content so it’s more engaging to your desired audience. Why
55? I happen to like the number 55 and I bet the number caught your
attention over say 50 or 10.
Ways to Enhance Your Web Content In 2015
These options are in random order and are in no way sorted by priority.
Start a blog – in 2015 if you don’t
have a blog, you are missing a great opportunity to quickly populate
content on your site. The difficulty in producing a blog is in the
resources required to maintain and contribute to it. However, blogs
can be well received by your audience and can be a great mechanism for
building quality links to your site.
existing content with additional content – perhaps you have some older
pages that have not been updated in a while. Consider adding some
fresh content to revive some of your stale content.
Add new images
updating the images on your pages. Be smarter with the images that
you use as part of your content.
video – posts
with video tend to get as much as three times as more inbound links than
stats – people
love statistics. If you can add some statistical insight about your
industry, brand or products, users will easily consume this content and
will be more inclined to share it.
content – provide
answers to frequently asked questions about your brand, your
product/service offerings or about your industry. This content is
highly informative and is often shared by users. Keep in mind that
your FAQ strategy could consist of a multi-page build out where you have
specific landing pages for each question that this asked.
brand story – build
trust by communicating the story of your brand. Also known as “brand storytelling”. you can build loyalty by developing
the story of your own brand.
customer’s stories – share both the good and the bad. An amped up
testimonial can go a long way in building credibility and trust.
industry news – share
your opinion on current news from within your industry.
product descriptions – forget about those vendor / supplier generated product
descriptions. There is way more value in writing your own unique product
descriptions. This option can add freshness and uniqueness to your
Videos – video
content can be very engaging; how to videos even more so.
Tutorials – similar
to above but in more of a series.
News Releases – do
you see where I’m going with this? Video content is highly
industry gurus – interview
well known resources from your industry to get their thoughts on industry
topics or breaking news from your field.
infographic – based on some share worthy data.
previous article – revisit some of the “legacy” articles on your
site and update them with current data.
Produce a news
release on a new or updated product offering – share company news
around a new product launch or upcoming product design.
specific to product/service usage or around upcoming industry events
of the latest industry trends – share your thoughts / opinions on
Blog Post: Pre
prior leading up to a company or industry event preface the event and
describe what will be taking place.
During Event – post your experience at the event and support with social media
Post Event – a
summary of the conference or event.
Category Content – let say that your site is an eComm that sells outdoors
clothing. You could enhance your content for various category level
pages by adding commentary on the latest fashion trends specific to these
add more in-depth information on the product details. This is
especially great for ensuring your content that may have been scraped by
other sites is unique and fresh.
Create a Top
Ten List –
top ten reasons why… Users love this type of content, especially if it
helps them find the answers to what they were looking for. Top Ten
reasons why you should develop a content marketing strategy.
and I mean true user generated content where a client or customers shares
their story of using your product/service or shares their experience with
comparison charts or tables are very useful. Whether you sell
insurance or sell automobiles, presenting comparison data is often what
the user is looking for to help make their purchase decision.
Many site owners worry about comparing competitor information;
well you don’t necessarily have to do that. You can compare your own
product offerings. Keep in mind that it can be challenging when
crafting words to make your brand or product seem more superior to other
products on the market.
forum – to
let users to communicate with one another in an environment that you can
somewhat control. Be prepared to share the good and the bad.
educational content – on how to use your product or service or on
how to get the most benefit out of engaging with your brand.
Specific Content – have more than one location? Consider building out content
for each location. Not only will this help with local search
optimization efforts but you can bolster the authority for the given
topics that you are trying to gain visibility for.
this type of content is easy to produce and can be very engaging.
Checklists can be of great value to your site visitors. Let’s say for
example that you have a travel site. There are a number of
checklists that you could produce including “Things to do on the way to
the airport” or “10 items to pack when planning for a vacation”.
“Ask the Expert” section on your site – think of this as a more detailed
version of your FAQ content. One of the frequently asked questions
can become a topical page unto itself. Your resident expert can
provide a detailed reply to a common issue or question that your audience
share whitepapers on research that you have completed. This type of
content can be great for lead gen and generate a lot of repeat traffic to
your site. Mediative has used this approach to add some great research content to our site. While the
majority of this content will be in PDF format, you will want to create an
HTML landing page to convey some of the key findings.
image gallery – a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, not always but
having an image gallery makes a lot of sense if you sell a product that
users need to study visually before purchasing (think of an automobile,
camera, cell phone, article of clothing etc). Add your images to an
image sitemap and submit to Google to help you get better visibility in
Google’s image search by allowing the Engines to more readily access your
monthly Webcast –
you could use Google+ and create regular Hangouts. Here you can conduct a
conversation with your audience. You could discuss new product
features or discuss upcoming events. You could even use this to
reply to FAQs. Once your Hangout On Air is over, it’s easy to keep
the conversation going. The recording will be publicly available on
Google+ and on your YouTube channel ready to be shared.
Take some of
your offline marketing material and turn it into online content – if your offline
messaging is different than what you are doing online, you might want to
transfer this into some good old HTML.
online newsletter – sure you use them for email campaigns but what about
utilizing this content on your actual website.
latest efforts or company awards – just do not be too obnoxious with this.
Sharing your accolades can help build trust with site visitors, especially
if they are first time visitors to your site.
Environmental Content – have a page (or series of pages) about all
of the charitable events that your organization supports. Discuss
how your digital footprint is better for the environment and how your
organization is working on eco-friendly initiatives.
About Us section – this is a great opportunity to promote your brand and to describe
the history of your organization. Don’t waste this opportunity.
“team” content –
most organizations have a page or pages that feature their executive or
management team. Why not be creative with this and have each team
member submit their top 5 favorite websites, their top 10 songs or top 5
books? This can be highly engaging content. Prior to becoming
a part of Mediative, we used to share everyone’s Top 10 Songs lists while
we were still Enquiro. Clients thought that this was great and always
commented on this. Not only could they put a face to their agency
but they learned a little about the people they were working with.
Produce a list
of top content pieces – whether it is a list of your top 10 blog posts for 2015 or
your top 10 articles on <insert topic here>, people will have an
opportunity to re-engage with this content. The net impact could be
additional social engagement (Shares, Likes, Retweets), more feed
subscribers or more repeat visitors.
people identify with people so why not share some insight into people at
your organization? The one issue here is that should these people
leave your organization, this content may have to come down.
YouTube Channel –
many organizations throw all of their video content on their YouTube
channel. Well that is great for your YouTube traffic but it may not
translate into traffic to your actual web property. Why not feature
some of your video content on your own website? Add it to a key
landing page or maybe to an older article. Video can help re-engage
Knowledge Center – where you can add articles, white papers,
checklists, and any other resources that your users find to be of
value. This type of content can provide fresh and timely content for
your audience and can be a great way to enhance topical themes on your
search results pages – while most of the time search results provide a dynamic
page or URL, there are CMS systems that can produce a “static” appearing
URL for search results pages. This is a prime opportunity to enhance
the content on these search results pages. So rather than just
showing the current inventory based on that search query, why not add some
copy to the top of the search results page to reassure the user that you
have what they are looking for. Let’s say that you sell automobiles
or parts. Your site is most likely structured with a
category-sub-category structure. When a user searchers for “John
Deere tractor parts”, the search results page could be populated with some
commentary stating that your site “… features a great selection of John
Deere tractor parts from axles and headlights to tires and hitches…”
Something that can be a little generic but gives the user an idea that you
have inventory of the item(s) that they are looking for. All of a
sudden instead of a plain old listings page you know have some copy that
helps build trust and engagement with the visitor.
in addition to your regular articles, why not deploy articles that are
longer than your typical articles to present a greater level of
information for your audience? Google has begun to show in-depth
articles within their search results. While based on algorithmic
search, there are measures that you can take to help your articles appear
in the in-depth article results. For example, be sure to leverage
schema article markup and authorship markup. Use proper pagination
and use organization markup to specify your logo. More information
can be found here.
people love “how-to” information so no matter what your product or service
is, there is always an opportunity to instruct people on how to use it.
historical data – compare the past to the present. This can be great to
remind users of some of the great improvements that your brand has seen
over the years.
Seasonal Articles – each and every month there are numerous “awareness”
campaigns. For example, in March it is National Nutrition Month and
Sleep Awareness Month. If you are in a related industry, you could
feature a post each year to discuss some of the latest stats or
initiatives that are going on specific to that type of awareness.
Here is a list of some health related awareness
“Customer of the Month” page – almost a bit like a “glorified”
testimonial, consider sharing positive stories about your “customer of the
recent industry article – have a different opinion on the latest
industry developments? Why not share your thoughts via a blog post
Build out your
Features/Benefits Content – provide additional feature and benefit
information for your users.
portions of PDF Content in HTML – if your site features a lot of PDF material,
you may want to consider re-purposing this content and placing it into
static HTML pages for your users. This will also help with the
search engines in the crawling, indexing, and ranking of this content.
industry “State of the Union” post/article –
discuss the current state of the industry and what or how your brand is
looking to remain competitive as an industry leader. Of course you
do not want to share any “trade secrets” but you can communicate your
brand’s position with regards to latest developments in the industry and
how your organization is dealing with these events.
So now you have 55 content ideas that
you can incorporate into your content strategy. What’s next? Well,
you have to revisit your content strategy of course. What makes sense for
you and what doesn’t? In addition, it never hurts to reference things to
keep in mind when writing content for the Web. We are in an
information-driven world and as a result, it is not about whether you need to
“do” content marketing; it’s more of a “what’s next with content
marketing” and how do we provide the right content to our audience?
Your content strategy means that you need to understand your audience;
you need to be the go-to resource for your audience and you need to provide
some element of uniqueness. Producing new content that provides
value to your audience will help you build those relationships and help you
position your brand as a leader in the digital space.