Comparison of Google clickthrough rates by position – Chart of your day

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional
5 min read

Clickthrough research data reveals the significance of 1st, 2nd or 3rd position in Google

You often hear company owners saying “I would like to rank top” because of their target keywords. Although this can be an unrealistic hope, they’re to say this given that they realise that the proportion of clicks driven by top positions in the organic search listings is a lot higher.

Research showing average clickthrough rates by position in the SERPs (Google’s serp’s pages) are of help since they might help make the business enterprise case for more investment in SEO because you can estimate uplift in visits with improved rankings when performing a gap analysis that keywords to boost in SEO, using search query data from Google Search Console, for instance.

The best open source because of this data today may be the Advanced Web Ranking organic CTR research which we share here, so that you can browse the different CTR analysis it offers. This data is from May 2018 – the newest update of the study. We shall look at 3 types of how CTR varies by position based on different searcher intent.

 1. Organic SERPs CTRs for Brand vs non-branded keyword intent

It’s popular that clickthrough rates for branded or navigational keywords are higher – the blue curve shows this well.

The red ‘undbranded’ curve is of all interest from an SEO point-of-view. This shows the worthiness to be in the very best 3 clearly with CTRs from nearly 30% in first position to 10% in third position. In the low positions of 9 to 10, CTR has fallen to a paltry sub 2%.

Here branded CTRs are selected by AWR when area of the string in the domain name appears in the search indicating a brandname name.

 2. Organic SERPs CTRs for generic vs long-tail terms

Generic looks for products are usually one or two 2 words. Long tail terms are 4 or even more. This chart shows a  similar pattern of decline to above, but an increased degree of CTR for the long-tail SEO technique by 3 to 5% by position. Typically this can because long-tail searches have fewer ads and competition could be lower. It shows the advantage of a strategy targeting long-tail keywords.

3. Organic SERPs CTRs variation predicated on intent type

We visit a similar decline here, but with lowest figures for commerical and location-based intent where there’s typically more competition from AdWords clicks along with other SERPS features such as for example maps for location searches.

Here the various search intent types are defined by these keywords in the search query :

  • Commercial intent –  buy, purchase, cheap, pricing, etc.
  • Informational intent – what, when, where, how, restaurant, hotel, flight, news, etc.
  • Location intent – near, nearby, from, directions, airport, route, maps, etc.
  • Specific intent – sums up the keywords with all three intents described above.

Previous research on organic CTR by position in SERPS

The insights above on previous research  an analysis of natural search clickthrough rates (CTRs) from Optify we shared which showed the significance of Page 1 and, specifically the very best 3 positions. The AWR data gets the advantage that’s updated regularly predicated on reports across their clients, so samples a large number of sites. In addition, it has some category breakdown and in addition takes screen resolution for smartphone into consideration.

Optify Clickthrough rate ranking data

Chris also showed ways to utilize this curve to model the search volume you’ll get for different positions – this could be used to help make the case for more investment in SEO.

The Optify data wasn’t across all industries and in addition limited for the reason that it didn’t isolate the impact of brand terms (which take into account a higher proportion of search and generally have an increased percentage of clicks at the top position).

Given these limitations of the Optify data, it had been good to visit a cross-industry comparison of CTRs published by MEC Manchester. Their infographic showing Google clickthrough rates by position certainly produces interesting reading.

Brand vs non-brand clickthrough rates

In this historical data from 2011 it is possible to clearly start to see the higher clickthrough rates for brand terms here and how they impact the entire rates. The chart below should CTR by sector, we haven’t seen similar data recently. Tell us to @SmartInsights for those who have seen similar sector data from recently which we are able to share.

Sector-specific clickthrough rates

The industry reports are interesting too – showing a surprising quantity of variation between sectors, but there exists a common pattern of the initial three positions accounting for over 50% of clicks…

Paid vs natural share of search clicks

Another insight in this research implies that despite Google’s changes to the SERPs through the years, which were roundly derided by SEOs, almost all clicks remain on the natural listings. This research suggests 94% on the natural listings. A higher proportion than previous data from famous brands iProspect from in the past.


Although published in Summer 2012, this research goes back to June 2011, so doesn’t reflect the most recent changes to the SERPs results. The study is founded on 28 million people in the united kingdom, creating a total 1.4 billion search queries during June 2011. It’s predicated on research from GroupM UK completed with Nielsen.

Here may be the full infographic.

David Linder

David Linder

MSc in Marketing from the University of Salford. Facebook Certified Planning Professional Facebook Certified Buying Professional

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