• http://bit.ly/a9JY7e Dennis Brennan

    I’m curious to see a comparison during same time frame of PPC rates. Is my opinion that as Ad’s have become relevant, searchers are confident in getting what they want when clicking on such Ad’s.

  • http://webdesignfromscratch.com/ benhunt

    I just did a quick test on my own top 10 search terms on http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com. I compared the Google Adwords Tool traffic estimate (phrase-matched) against Webmaster Tools’ average position, and the resulting visits from Analytics.

    I’ve put the results on a Google doc:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhzyfIuE3XpXdDh2d3VtaDZVbmJmdU9rUzlsWE9QT3c&hl=en_US

    This supports the idea that CTRs are lower than we had previously all been telling each other.

    My highest is 72%, but that’s for the name of my site.

    Other than that, I don’t get above 15.25%, and that’s at an average position of 5.

  • http://www.bowlerhat.co.uk marcusmiller

    The blended results are not leaving much room for the organic results and if you then factor in the number of Google properties finding there way into the organic results then there are not many clicks left for the average Joe business owner.

    Organic is obviously still very important but more than ever you need a more comprehensive strategy including other elements that are relevant to your business (paid search, local search, youtube etc).

  • http://www.coconutheadphones.com/ tedives

    These are percentages*of those that clicked* but you need to also take into account those that clicked elsewhere (paid search) and also those that *never clicked* (i.e. abandoned searches), if you’re trying to use these curves for any real-world activity such as estimating opportunity.

    See my recent posting detailing this, with a spreadsheet on how to calculate organic opportunity using Adwords Keyword Research tool data, with these types of curves, but corrected for these problems:
    http://www.coconutheadphones.com/estimating-organic-search-opportunity-part-2-of-2/

  • TimmyTime

    “Ad’s have become relevant, searchers are confident in getting what they want when clicking on such Ad’s.”

    Ads have become more similar to normal search results, that is and it’s working great (for Google especially.)

    This ‘study’ seems like link bait to me, unless they release and explain everything. No email and name to get it either. The results also can be skewed by the number of ads among many other things.

    But all search engines must be devastated to learn that their #1 results or the most relevant one is not getting clicks. Riiiiiiight?

  • http://www.DrMAS.co.uk Dr M Ambler-Shattock

    Search Engine users will ultimately dictate how they wish to locate the desired results through their actions and this can change as information delivery methods evolve. This will also alter according to the nature of what the user seeks to locate or learn.

    There will be the user’s preferred method and a series of options they drill down through until the desired result is found. Users will of course experiment to try out different methods and establish new favoured techniques to apply.

    The multivariate methods of obtaining the desired results simply dilutes the data and engaging a more fully encompasing multiple media mix approach becomes evermore important.

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Arnie K

    The Optify study actually showed different CTRs based on the search phrases. Short (or head) phrase had a much lower CTR compared to long-tail phrases. I think this is a critical piece of information needed in a study like this.

  • MarkHansen

    Makes sense – One of the engines just reported a 28% increase in ad clicks didn’t they? Assuming search is a sum-zero game, that would mean 28% of the organic clicks went away.

  • F.F.

    Higher CTR of ads. More ads being clicked on.

    Ad sitelink extensions, anyone?

  • http://www.homecliq.com Zakary Venturo

    One reason that stands out to me is meta descriptions being designed to catch a user’s attention. SEO has become much more sophisticated, along with keen focus on all the elements on the page, and the that little description under a link has more power than one might think.

    Users have probably become aware of this subconsciously, and have gained the habit of reading through the descriptions to make their choice.

    There is also the fact that a user finds what they want in the description itself and then click on nothing.

  • http://www.noporkpies.com Adam Lee

    I’ve always felt that the industry you are in will have an impact on the CTR. For instance a consumer industry search term might have more impact on the brand so will have different CTR depending on what ranks in the top 3.

    We published a similar study comparing 4 of the stated case studies as a guest post on Econsultancy and over on blog http://www.noporkpies.com/blog/ind-news/google-natural-search-click-through-rates-and-forecasting/

  • http://www.clickfire.com/ Emory Rowland

    I wish that universal search could be switched off so we test universal vs non-universal SERP click-thrus.

  • http://www.iacquire.com Joe Griffin

    Matt – good article. AOL’s CTR’s have a big caveat – they state that approx. 1/2 of all searches have no click at all, so you can basically cut those numbers in half. Additionally, is this study a measurement of “steady” rankings where they are analyzing total traffic for that keywords divided by Google’s exact match search traffic estimate?

    I find that Google’s data can be suspect…it’s unfortunate but true. Still, that might be the only way to pull this data.

  • http://www.vovia.com Cameron Prockiw

    You can’t compare the CTR’s of these studies–doing so is comparing apples and oranges as the “CTR’s” were calculated in different ways. In the Slingshot study, they specifically address this…
    “It is important to note that in Optify’s curve, a click-through rate is defined as
    follows: Given that a user clicks on a top 20 organic ranking, the click-through
    rate is the percentage of users that clicked on each position. Slingshot SEO
    defines its curve as follows: For any given search, the click-through rate is the
    percentage of users that click on each position in the top 10 organic results.
    The key difference here is the given information in each calculation. Optify’s
    top 20 curve sums to 100% and shows the CTR curve only considering those
    who clicked on a top 20 organic result.”

    So basically, the Optify reported CTR based on Organic traffic only (ignoring paid clicks, etc.) while the Slingshot study reported true CTR. As a result, there is no way to tell if CTR’s have decreased, increased, or remained consistent.

  • http://www.iBackpackerTravel.com I.S.

    I think it could be for a number of reasons, there isn’t much mention of the second page here, a study of the second page CTR’s would reveal a lot, and then it could be put down to users clicking on the ads.

    I often search for results with local keywords in them, and find myself clicking through to the second page to get rid of those annoying low quality local results taking most of the first page, it’s beyond belief why Google would have that.

  • http://roshanjoshi.com.np Roshan Joshi

    one thing not clear from report is although lesser people are clicking on first page, what about the other pages? are the clickthrough rates declining for the whole search process or is it due to the fact that many first page results are insufficient to users, possibly due to say over optimized results for average contents.

  • http://www.vovia.com Cameron Prockiw

    It’s not clear that click through rates are decreasing at all. Comparing these studies is flawed as they calculated CTR in different ways.

    This article should be amended as it’s giving people the wrong idea.

  • shaunio

    Was Google showing paid ads at the top of the page during the period in question in the AOL data?

    If not, and having since added them to the search results page, surely one could reasonably conclude that the google ads now take a fairly large chunk of AOL’s 1st and 2nd place – 42% and 12% respectively.

    The more recent figures seem very plausible if this is the case.

    Organic 1 & 2 positioned results are now actually position 3 and 4 in a way, especially with users getting more and more confident with ads.