Click-through rate (CTR) is an important search engine optimization (SEO) metric. CTR helps you understand how many people are seeing your web pages listed on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) as opposed to how many people are clicking on them. If one of your web pages has a click-through rate of 10%, that means 1 in 10 people who’ve seen that webpage listed in a SERP have clicked on the link.
Ranking within the top three organic results for a keyword holds the most significance, and the number 1 ranking organic result typically gets the lion’s share of clicks. If your webpage is one of the first results people see when they search for a keyword, then it stands to reason they’re more likely to click on it. When’s the last time you ventured into the second page of Google results?
If your webpage isn’t on page one, you shouldn’t worry about the click-through rate yet. Very few people look beyond the first page of Google, so there is not enough data to base decisions on. Your priority should be to optimize your web pages on page one first. If you are not on page one for a particular keyword and you want to improve keyword ranking fast, then you need to shift attention over to content production instead of click-through rate.
Google uses an amazingly intelligent algorithm to rank search results. To understand how it works, it’s important to recognize that Google values user behavior. They consistently incorporate additional sources of data to get a more accurate picture of how real humans think about marketing content.
What this means for you is that if your webpage is getting a lot of clicks, Google’s algorithm notices. If your webpage has a high CTR relative to its ranking position, then Google will conclude that your webpage is more relevant than other search results, and your ranking may improve.
If you can keep your webpage’s click-through rate high relative to its ranking position, then the algorithm is going to respond by gradually increasing your webpage’s ranking. The added bonus of improving your webpage’s ranking is an expected rise in click-through rate.
We’ve established why marketers should monitor click-through rate, but what else is click-through rate used for? There is a straightforward way to use your best converting pages and apply what you’ve learned to improve CTR across multiple pages. Let’s consider an example:
Say your webpage is ranking on the first page of Google results and has an exceptionally high click rate, and it’s not even ranking in the top three results. In that case, you should evaluate why that result is doing so well (elements like Schema, title tag, meta description, etc.) and try to apply those lessons to other web pages or other areas of your website. If a webpage’s click-through rate is higher than what you’d normally expect for its ranking position, that indicates potential for that piece’s particular conversion tactics to succeed across other positions as well.
So, in practical terms, tracking your webpage’s click rate makes it easier to identify which webpages are performing well, not just ranking well. This can enable you to refine your CTR strategy across the board by incorporating the tactics that result in a high click-through rate on other web pages.