Perhaps nothing is more important to a search marketer than knowing the organic Click-Through-Rate (CTR) for a given position within a search engine results page (SERP). Equally, there are very few topics within search marketing that come under as much scrutiny or fall victim to as much conjecture as organic CTRs.

A strategic rule-of-thumb from the past and, indeed, the present has been to get your chosen keywords ranking on page 1 first of all, then work up to attaining premium placements (1-3) in a priority order based on your websites’ goals and likelihood of conversion.

A report entitled ‘The Changing Face of SERPs’ was recently put together by American firm Optify, in which they presented their findings around organic CTRs. The report was a result of their own research, benchmarked against AOL’s now infamous spilled data from a few years back – arguably the current CTR benchmark for traffic and ROI forecasting. The full report is available online and I highly recommend reading it, although if you’ve not got the time or the inclination, three personal highlights are as follows:

#1 is Where you Want to Be
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But with an average CTR of 36.4%, you’ll enjoy more than 1 of every 3 clicks from a search if you can rank a term in position 1.

It’s Cosy at the Top
Struggling to get to position 1? Okay, I understand it’s difficult, but you definitely want to aim for the top 3, as this is where nearly 60% (58.4% to be precise) of all clicks happen. It’s worth noting that depending on which search engine a user opts for and on which topic a search is being conducted, most 1-3 results will appear above the fold.

When is #11 Better than #10?
Always, according to this research, with the average CTRs for positions 10 and 11 coming in at 2.2% and 2.6% respectively. It stands to reason I suppose – I know my personal browsing habits steer towards a click to page 2 instead of scrolling way down a SERP.

Is This Data Significant? Can I Use It?

Yes. Well, yes and no. It can be easy to fall into the trap of accepting reports such as this at face value without qualifying what you are being told. So I would recommend doing what I have done – comparing the findings to what you see on your clients’ sites and your own. I suspect you may discover what I have – some CTRs are higher than Optify pontificate and some are lower, but most keywords fall within an acceptable tolerance of the CTR curve.

Even when you factor in the many, many other variables that might affect CTRs aside from organic SERPs position, you’ll find this data is useful when projecting a keyword’s performance. Of course, this will never be as meaningful as past performance!

It’s worth noting that the full version of the report extends to talking about the ramifications of running organic and paid campaigns simultaneously, which is, something we’d be happy to talk with you about.

Also, if you compare your own keywords’ performance to these findings and find something notably different please share your findings with us; we’d be interested to see what you discover.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how content, data and advertising are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and technology, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about marketing and behaviour across all inbound channels. What could a 4Ps search marketing consultant do for your business?