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How it works
Just like everyone else, you're probably here because you're trying to improve your organic rankings to get more traffic from Google. But there is a question that keeps popping up in your mind: How much traffic would I get if I rank on the first page?
This tool is our quest to search for the answer to this question. Read on to find out how you can use this data to make better and more informed decisions in the future.
What is CTR, and why is it so important?
For this tool, CTR (clickthrough rate) is the ratio of clicks on a specific Google result to the number of total searches for that keyword. We collect data from thousands of sites and millions of keywords to compile a fresh CTR curve every month for the top 20 results in Google.
The data comes from the only reliable source that allows you to see how many people click on your website when searching for something in Google, which is Google Search Console.
CTR is an important metric because it shows you that the higher your website appears in Google, the more traffic you will get from it.
How can I find out the CTR for organic search?
The days when Google displayed 10 blue (organic) results are long gone. Nowadays, the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are a mix of organic, paid, and other results, often called SERP features.
Examples of SERP features are: featured snippet, direct answer, local pack, people also ask, top stories, knowledge panel, etc. For a comprehensive list of all the SERP features that appear in the Google search results, check out the SERP guide.
Instead of giving you a single CTR curve for all the search results, we’ve compiled a weighted CTR curve for each combination of the SERP features that actually appeared in real searches. Then we sorted them by popularity, or how many times this combination appeared in people’s searches.
That is the default view that you’re seeing when first looking at the tool, called SERP Features:
You can see all the combinations of the SERP features in the table, and the Organic is checked by default. This gives you a CTR curve for all the SERPs that returned only organic results, the "10 blue links" as they were once called.
The Popularity column shows that only about 14% of the SERPs still return only organic results.
The Diversity column in the table shows 8.8, which means that there are around nine unique domains, which also means that some of the Top 10 results may contain two different URLs from the same domain.
The last column, called CTR, shows the sum of CTRs for all Top 20 organic results. A value of 80% means that only 80 out of 100 clicks are on the organic results. Sometimes you will see here a value of 10%, which means that there are 90 clicks out of 100 which are not on organic results. People either click on different SERP features or sometimes they even find out the answer from the SERP and thus no longer need to click on any link. This percentage is very low especially when Direct Answers appear in the SERP.
Sometimes, the CTR column shows a percentage that is higher than 100%. This means that people actually click more than once on the search results. It usually happens when videos, recipes or people also ask features appear in the results.
How do I read the CTR curve from the chart?
The chart below the table shows the actual CTR curve for the selected combinations in the table. You can select one or more combinations and a line will appear in the chart for each selected combination. Click on the actual name to select one or click on the checkbox to select multiple combinations.
If you hover your mouse over the first position, you will see a CTR value of 38.02% which means that 38 clicks out of 100 go to the first result in Google search. Below the CTR value, you can also see the actual clicks and impressions that this value is coming from.
In the chart, what's the difference between the regular CTR trend and the aggregated one?
The aggregated line is showing the CTR trends of all SERPs in our dataset which include the selected feature, and possibly others too. On the other hand, the regular trend is representative for SERPs that solely have the features in the selected combination.
Let's take for example the "Organic + Featured Snippets" combination in SERP. If we click on this line in the table, the chart will display the following CTR curves:
Organic + Featured Snippets - these are the SERPs that have only these 2 types of results (no other features exist).
Featured Snippets aggregated - these are all the SERPs in our dataset that include Featured Snippets, and possibly other features too.
Organic Aggregated - these are all the SERPs in our CTR analysis dataset.
Let’s take a look at another example:
If you select "Organic + Local pack" in the table, you will see the CTR curve in the chart for SERPs that include only organic and local pack results, without any other SERP features.
The "Local pack Aggregated" CTR curve that also appears in the chart is calculated for all SERPs that contain local packs, regardless of any other SERP features that appear next to them.
In this particular example, the first organic link after a local pack is considered #4 because there are three URLs above it in the local pack.
What is the average position for each SERP feature?
When you select a combination of SERP features from the table, the chart displays a vertical line with the average position for each SERP feature.
For example, when you select "Organic + Videos + Recipes", you will see two vertical lines on the chart:
Recipes: 1.8 (average position) - which means that usually, the recipe SERP feature appears on position 2 in the results and sometimes on the first position.
Videos: 8.6 (average position) - which means that the videos section usually appears around position 8 or 9 in the SERPs.
Where can I find the percentage of organic results?
To the right of the table, there is a pie chart that shows the percentage of organic results for the selected line in the table. A value of 70% means that there are only 7 organic results in the Top 10 results, with the other 3 results usually being other SERP features.
Which countries do you have data for?
We collect data from Google Search Console for three different countries: US, UK, and Australia. There is also an aggregated category called "International" which includes all the websites and keywords we collect data for.
Do you collect CTR data for desktop and mobile?
The Google search results are displayed differently on mobile devices, and therefore the CTR curve is different. You can see the CTR curve for mobile devices by choosing Mobile from the filter above the table.
There is also a comparison of the CTR curve between desktop and mobile.
Can I see the CTR curve for my own keywords?
This tool gets data from Google Search Console for millions of keywords because we wanted to have a large data set so the CTR curve would be more accurate. However, we also have a rank tracker tool that can fetch your own keywords from Google Search Console and compare your CTR curve with the industry average. Want to give it a spin? It’s completely free for the first 30 days.
Is there a difference in the CTR curve between branded and unbranded searches?
There is a big difference between branded and unbranded searches when it comes to CTR. That is because when people search for your brand, your website usually appears first, and that is usually the link they click on to follow.
You can see the difference between these CTR curves if you select the "Branded vs. Unbranded" tab in the tool.
How does search intent affect CTR?
People act differently when they are interested to buy something as opposed to looking for information about something or when comparing different things. That is why we split the entire set of keywords into categories that match the search intent. You can access this information by clicking on the "Search Intent" tab.
Google has become a lot better at guessing the intent lately, and based on this guess, it displays certain SERP features in the results. That is the reason why we used the actual SERP features that appear in the search results to find out the intent of the keyword, not the keyword itself.
Do long-tail keywords have a different CTR than short-tail keywords?
When people use short-tail keywords, they are usually looking to understand a concept or find out more about that topic. Long-tail keywords are used for refined searches when you know exactly what you are looking for and just want to find out how you can obtain it.
We’ve broken down the CTR curve into four sections, for keywords containing 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, and 4 words, respectively, which you can access in the "Long tail" section of the tool.
Is there a difference in CTR between search results in different industries?
Different industries have different audiences and therefore different websites they are looking at.
We looked at the Top 10 results in the SERP to identify which websites showed up and classified the SERP to belong to an Industry if most of the websites that appeared in the results belonged to that industry. You can find a comparison of the CTR between different industries in the "Categories" section of the tool.
Does the CTR for each position fluctuate in time?
Time changes many things, and CTR is no exception. Each position in the search results has a CTR that varies with seasonality or by certain events that occur in a certain period of time.
You can see the CTR curve for each position in the Top 10 results compared with the previous period of time in the "Trends" section of the tool.
Can I see how the CTR changes over time?
Yes, there is a "Year over Year" section at the top where you can see how the CTR curve evolved in time.
How long have you been collecting this data for?
We first started collecting CTR data from Google in Sep 2015. You can select any month since then to see how the CTR curve was at that time.