Clickthrough research data reveals the importance of 1st, 2nd or 3rd position in Google
You often hear company owners saying “I want to rank top” for their target keywords. Although this may be an unrealistic hope, they’re right to say this since they realise that the proportion of clicks driven by top positions is much higher.
In previous research, summarised by Chris Soames, an analysis of natural search clickthrough rates (CTRs) from Optify showed the importance of Page 1 and, in particular the top 3 positions.
Chris also showed how you can use this curve to model the search volume you will get for different positions - this can be used to make the case for more investment in SEO.
The Optify data wasn’t across all industries and also limited in that it didn’t isolate the impact of brand terms (which account for a high proportion of search and tend to have a higher percentage of clicks on the top position).
Given these limitations of the Optify data, it was good to see a cross-industry comparison of CTRs recently published by MEC Manchester. Their infographic showing Google clickthrough rates by position certainly makes for interesting reading.
Brand vs non-brand clickthrough rates
You can clearly see the higher clickthrough rates for brand terms here and how they impact the overall rates.
Sector-specific clickthrough rates
The industry reports are interesting too - showing a surprising amount of variation between sectors, but there is a common pattern of the first three positions accounting for over 50% of clicks...
Paid vs natural share of search clicks
Another insight in this research shows that despite Google’s changes to the SERPs over the years, which have been roundly derided by SEOs, the vast majority of clicks are still on the natural listings. This research suggests 94% on the natural listings. A much higher proportion than previous data from the likes of iProspect from several years ago.
Although published in Summer 2012, this research dates back to June 2011, so doesn’t reflect the latest changes to the SERPs results. The research is based on 28 million people in the UK, making a total 1.4 billion search queries during June 2011. It’s based on research from GroupM UK carried out with Nielsen.
Here is the full infographic.