As smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites. If SEO is a core component of your digital marketing strategy, here are three reasons having a mobile–friendly website is becoming essential.http://searchenginewatch.com/rss
We have been covering the Google Happy Holidays logos from Christmas eve to Christmas day and now, the day after Christmas – also Kwanzaa. Today, Google went with a wintery, snow cabin look, for there holiday logo. Here is the Google logo today: Yesterday, Christmas Day was this: On Christmas…
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Posted by CatalystSEM
This post was originally in YouMoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Moz, Inc.
Itâ€™s been quite a while since I first read (and bookmarked) Slingshot SEOâ€™s YouMoz blog post, Mission ImposSERPble: Establishing Click-through Rates, which showcased their study examining organic click-through rates (CTR) across search engine result pages. The Slingshot study is an excellent example of how one can use data to uncover trends and insights. However, that study is over two and a half years old now, and the Google search results have evolved significantly since then.
Using the Slingshot CTR study (and a few others) as inspiration, Catalyst thought it would be beneficial to take a fresh look at some of our own click-through rate data and dive into the mindset of searchers and their proclivity for clicking on the different types of modern organic Google search results.
Swing on over to Catalystâ€™s website and download the free Google CTR Study: How User Intent Impacts Google Click-Through Rates
**TANGENT: I’m really hoping that the Moz community’s reception of this ‘sequel’ post follows the path of some of the all-time great movie sequels (think Terminator 2, The Godfather: Part II) and not that of Jaws 2.
The most significant changes since the 2011 Slingshot study is the higher CTRs for positions 3, 4, and 5.
Ranking on the first page of search results is great for achieving visibility; however, the search result for your website must be compelling enough to make searchers want to click through to your website. In fact, this study shows that having the most compelling listing in the SERPs could be more important than â€œranking #1â€� (provided you are still ranking within the top five listings, anyway).
Read on to learn more.
Since Slingshotâ€™s 2011 study, click-through rates have not dramatically shifted, with the total average CTR for first page organic results dropping by just 4%.
While seemingly minor, these downward shifts could be a result of Googleâ€™s ever-evolving user interface. For example, with elements such as Product Listing Ads, Knowledge Graph information, G+ authorship snippets, and other microdata becoming more and more common in a Google SERP, usersâ€™ eyes may tend to stray further from the historical â€œF shapeâ€� pattern, impacting the CTR by ranking position.
Positions 3-5 showed slightly higher average CTRs than what Slingshot presented in 2011. A possible explanation for this shift is that users could be more aware of Paid Search listing located at the top of the results page, so in an attempt to â€œbypassâ€� these results, they may have modified their browsing behavior to quickly scan/wheel-scroll past a few listings down the page.
Business owners need to understand that even if your website ranks in the first organic position for your target keyword, your site will almost certainly never receive traffic from every one of those users/searchers.
On average, the top organic SERP listing (#1) drives visits from around 17% of Google searches.
The top four positions, or typical rankings â€œabove the foldâ€� for many desktop users, receive 83% of first page organic clicks.
The Catalyst data also reveals that only 48% of Google searches result in a page one organic click (meaning any click on listings ranging 1-10). So what is the other 52% doing? Two things, the user either clicks on a Paid Search listing, or they â€œabandonâ€� the search, which we define as:
Branded CTRs for top ranking terms are lower than unbranded CTRs, likely due to both user intent and the way Google presents results.
These numbers shocked us a bit. At the surface, you might assume that listings with top rankings for branded queries would have higher CTRs than unbranded queries. But, when you take a closer look at the current Google UI and place yourself in the mindset of a searcher, our data actually seems more likely.
Consumers who search unbranded queries are often times higher in the purchasing funnel: looking for information, without a specific answer or action in mind. As a result, they may be more likely to click on the first result, particularly when the listing belongs to a strong brand that they trust.
Additionally, take a look at the example below, notice how many organic results are presented â€œabove the foldâ€� for a unbranded query compared to an branded query (note: these SERP screenshots were taken from 1366×768 screen resolution). There are far fewer potential organic click paths for a user to take when presented with the branded query’s result page (1 organic result v. 4.5 results). It really boils down to ‘transactional’ v. ‘informational’ queries. Typically, keywords that are more transactional (e.g. purchase intent) and/or drive higher ROI are more competitive in the PPC space and as a result will have more paid search ads encroaching on valuable SERP real estate.
We all know the makeup of every search result page is different and the number of organic results above the fold can be influenced by a number of factors, including, device type, screen size/resolution, paid search competiveness, and so on.
You can use your website analytics platform to see what screen resolutions your visitors are using and predict how many organic listings your target audience would typically see for different search types and devices. In our example, you can see that my desktop visitors most commonly use screen resolutions higher than 1280×800, so I can be fairly certain that my current audience typically sees up to 5 organic results from a desktop Google search.
As a userâ€™s query length approaches the long tail, the average CTR for page one rankings increases.
The organic click percentage totals represented in this graph suggest that as a userâ€™s query becomes more refined they are more likely to click on a first page organic result (~56% for four+ word queries v. ~30% for one-word queries).
Furthermore, as a query approaches the long tail, click distributions across the top ten results begin to spread more evenly down the fold. Meaning, when a consumerâ€™s search becomes more refined/specific, they likely spend more time scanning the SERPs looking for the best possible listing to answer their search inquiry. This is where compelling calls-to-action and eye-catching page titles/meta descriptions can really make or break your organic click through rates.
As previously stated, only about 30% of one-word queries result in a first page organic click. Why so low? Well, one potential reason for this is that searchers use one-word queries simply to refine their search based on their initial impression of the SERP. This means that the single word query would become a multiple word query. If the user does not find what they are looking for within the first result, they modify their search to be more specific, often resulting in the query to contain multiple words.
Additionally, one-word queries resulted in 60% of the total first page organic clicks (17.68%) being attributed to the first ranking. Maybe, by nature, one-word queries are very similar to navigational queries (as the keywords are oftentimes very broad or a specific brand name).
Leveraging click-through rate data enables us to further understand user behavior on a search result and how it can differ depending on search intent. These learnings can play an integral role in defining a companyâ€™s digital strategy, as well as forecasting website traffic and even ROI. For instance:
Some information about our data set and methodology. If youâ€™re like me, and want to follow along using your own data, you can review our complete process in our whitepaper. All websites included in the study are Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) brands. As such, the associated CTRs, and hypothesized user behaviors reflect only those brands and users.
Data was collected via each brandâ€™s respective Google Webmaster Tools account, which was then processed and analyzed using a powerful BI and data visualization tool.
Catalyst analyzed close to 17,500 unique search queries (with an average ranking between 1â€“10, and a minimum of 50 search impressions per month) across 59 unique brands over a 9 month timeframe (Oct. 2012 â€“ Jun 2013).
Here are a few definitions so weâ€™re all on the same page (we mirrored definitions as provided by Google for their Google Webmaster Tools)â€¦
I have learned a great deal from the studies and blog posts shared by Moz and other industry experts throughout my career, and I felt I had an opportunity to meaningfully contribute back to the SEO community by providing an updated, more in-depth Google CTR study for SEOs to use as a resource when benchmarking and measuring their campaigns and progress.
For more data and analysis relating to coupon-based queries, question based queries, desktop v. mobile user devices, and more download our complete CTR study.
Have any questions or comments on our study? Did anyone actually enjoy Jaws 2? Please let us know and join the discussion below!
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