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Establishing Google & Bing Click-Through Rates — 8 SEO Take-a-ways

By Chad PollittDec 19, 2011

Slingshot SEO CTR StudyThis fall, Slingshot SEO published A Tale of Two Studies, Establishing Google & Bing Click-Through Rates. The study analyzed the user behavior of more than 170,000 visitors across 624 non-branded keywords. The keywords came from a sample set of over 10,000 keywords and were chosen based on strict criteria and a stable ranking over time. In addition, keywords were derived from over 200 major retailers and enterprise customers. The click-through report is available for download.

While many of these studies have circulated through the years, this one is perhaps the most detailed, thought-out, transparent and contains the largest sample set. It does a great job of defining the impact of a page one search engine ranking. The study also makes calculating SEO ROI much easier for marketers. Kudos to Paul Davison, Slingshot's Director of Client Success, and his team for putting together such a valuable study.

Slingshot SEO's Take-a-ways

  1. By studying user behavior through click-through rates, we emphasize the importance of ranking in the top ten positions in search engines. Higher Rankings = Higher Click-Through Rates.
  2. For Google SERPs, the observed CTR was 18.20% for a No. 1 rank and 10.05% for a No. 2 rank.
  3. For Bing SERPs, the observed CTR was 9.66% for a No. 1 rank and 5.51% for a No. 2 rank.
  4. Relative CTRs across each position in the SERP reveal the importance of an increase in rank. With an average CTR of 18.20% for position 1 and 1.04% for position 10, this staggering difference shows that a change in rank from 10 to 1 will generate approximately 1650% more traffic and associated sales.
  5. We observed a significantly higher CTR curve for Google than for Bing, which suggests that Google’s organic results are more reliable, as many users abandon searches. However, this is simply an interesting implication from our CTR studies, as we do not have actual bounce rates for the search engines.
  6. The “halo effect” of long-tail CTR associated with primary terms is difficult to quantify, but should be considered when estimating traffic to your website.
  7. An interesting implication of the Google CTR curve is that, on average, 52.32% of Google users click on an organic search result on page 1. This means that while a large amount of search engine users are engaging with the organic rankings on the first page, searchers are also clicking on ads, traveling to subsequent pages, or entering another search phrase to refine their searches.
  8. Rank is not everything. It is important to implement a holistic SEO campaign that incorporates and executes effective Content, Link-graph Optimization, Site Architecture, Social Push, and Strategy (CLASS).
Bing versus Google CTR

Being empowered with the data above is extremely valuable for inbound marketers. However, what's missing from our marketing tool box is a study like the above which tracks the click-through rates from organic search all the way to conversion in order to see what affect, if any, ranking has on conversion rates. It would also be nice to have this data juxtaposed with branded search queries.

Here at Kuno, we consistently see conversions from branded organic searches outperform non-branded organic searches by a factor of 10. If Slingshot is up for the challenge you'll know as soon we do because we'll definitely blog about this dream study. For help with blog SEO and SMO download our Blog Post Optimization Playbook.



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