Google Click-Through-Rate: Blended SERPs & SEO Strategy

This is a guest post by Phil Golobish, Senior SEO Consultant at Slingshot SEO. When he’s not writing posts for Gab, Phil helps Slingshot achieve digital relevance for deserving brands. You can follow Phil at @saintphilip or +Philip Golobish.

In 2006, AOL accidently released a ton of Google click through rate data. Clever marketers then used this data to estimate traffic a site could receive in any ranking position, and to forecast SEO ROI.

Since then, Google has made countless algorithm changes, incorporated personalization options, and blended results with images, videos, news, etc.

Given these changes, are the AOL CTR numbers still relevant? More specifically, what impact has blended search results had on CTR?
The study Slingshot performed after the jump!

To answer the questions above, Slingshot SEO’s Research and Development department decided to do its own Google click through rate study using 2010 – 2011 non-branded keyword analytics and ranking data from its portfolio of clients. Enquiro and Optify have done similar studies and their much-appreciated results are overlaid in the graph below.

The graph above is incredibly useful for making current CTR estimates for ranking positions. However, analysis of Slingshot’s client data suggests that in some cases CTRs on traditional organic listings can vary wildly specifically when a non-branded query triggers a blended SERP that contains images, videos, news, etc. See the graph below for details. Note: Only the Optify study was included to simplify the comparison.

Aside from position one, the most significant change in CTR in a blended SERP is between positions two (2) and three (3). This difference between the two proposes an interesting SEO strategy question:

Should SEOs target keyword phrases that trigger blended results over like-volume keywords that do not, in order to win more traffic?

Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer and sample data is still being collected. We should have more conclusive data come August. However, savvy SEOs should be mindful of the different spreads of CTRs and should consider blended results during keyword selection for every search engine optimization campaign.

Comments

  1. One thing I notice about our SEO and CTR is that it changes through the seasons. We are at the top spot for some keywords and the CTR will increase even though the impressions stay the same. I am guessing its just a seasonal thing for our market.

    Comment by Jon - July 7, 2011 @ 4:04pm

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