[Micro-Guide] How to better profit from an optimal CTR


Jan 17, 2015
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I've found out that this question has been appearing now and then in the last weeks I'm going to try to explain how CTR should be measured in order to profit from it in terms of ranking in SEO positions.

First of all, is very important to understand that CTR is barely important when under page 1.

This is another micro guide I created some months ago to explain this and it's important to be understood before going over:

So after we have clear, that under page 1, CTR could be improved but is not going to move us as fast as other factors, I'm going to assume that we are already on Page 1.

According to a significant amount of sites, big G has an estimation of how many people should be clicking on each of the ranking positions for a given keyword.

There is no perfect consensus, but we can benchmark and get more or less this table:

CTR estimations table

Position 1: 33%
Position 2: 15%
Position 3: 10%
Position 4: 7%
Position 5: 6%
Position 6: 4%
Position 7: 4%
Position 8: 4%
Position 9: 4%
Position 10: 4%
All positions between 11-20: 5% (~0.5% per position)
Position 21-30: 4% (~0.4% per position)
(meaning that over Position 10, results are nearly useless)

This said we have to understand that Google, has already enough data that offers you through tools like Keyword Planner about estimations on how each keyword will behave for every single month in the year.

So, if we have an estimation of CTR + the approximate number of visits for a given month, then we can estimate approximately, how many clicks you should be receiving every day to move forward in the ranking.

First, we shall not forget, that if our content is worth the ranking, we will be receiving organic clicks. So we have to be aware of this, because, if we put too many clicks in our listing, then it could indicate the Big G that something fishy is going on. So the ideal scenario should be, to go, maybe a 50% beyond our "optimal" target (considering that our site is worth, by the content and the reputation, the best ranking in the listing)

So one possible formula could be:

50% x Estimated traffic x (% CTR from the list) / 30 days = Number of "extra" targeted clicks we could put into our listing.

We have to consider other factors like the geolocalization of the clicks. So if we are going to rank in the UK, obviously clicks should be coming from the UK to be weighted the same, like other organic clicks in the whole listing. There are services out there that offer this with different degrees of quality and preciseness... But this is another topic (this can include crowdsourcing platforms like figure8 or mturk)

So let's put an example:

Let's say that after a great SEO work, we have managed to move up to position 9.
The keyword we are targeting is "best family dogs" which, according to keyword planner is around 6K visits per month

Using the formula this means that:
50% x 6000 x 4% / 30 = 4 clicks per day

We could put a little variability in the clicks like a 25% = 4±1 clicks per day, but if the software doesn't offer this, we will be fine by setting it to 4, because the variability will be introduced by the organic visits (which should be at least 8 clicks per day, meaning that we will be receiving in total 8+4 = 12 clicks, worth going up to position 5)

After we reach position 5, we will need to adjust the formula an so on.

Also, don't forget to read the Search Intent guide, because, when reaching the first page, CTR is important but without the adequate intent, you could feel stuck in position 3 forever, just because your listing will never satisfy what Mr. G thinks is the "perfect type of result":