Click-Through on Organic Results

I spent some time this morning responding to an email on this topic, so I thought I’d post it here too as a reference.

There are three studies that I know of that have attempted to answer or predict the CTR of organic results. Each has a different methodology and sample data, but the results are similar.

First up, this one is based on the AOL data that was leaked a couple years ago. Someone plugged all the click data into a formula and got these results. Note, that this is AOL data, and it’s widely believed that those searchers behave differently than more savvy Google or Yahoo users: AOL Clickthrough Study Data

Second, this study was done by Cornell University using eye and click tracking equipment. It’s probably the most experimentally sound, but of course the people also knew they were in an experiment and were given specific search terms like “shopping” that might not be relevant to their state of mind. Cornell Organic Click-through Study

Finally, there is a third study done by me in my former life as a corporate SEO, which pre-dates the first two studies I mentioned. This one used keyword volume estimates and # of visits from a given keyword in a given ranking to a specific website. Because the dataset was smaller, I extrapolated the results to a logarithmic function which I have since forgotten. But the spreadsheet still contains the ranks.

The beauty of these results is twofold: 1. I think it better represents the B2B searcher and, 2. because it’s a function you can extrapolate the CTR on any given ranking (although since I don’t remember the formula, this sheet only goes back to result #200, but if you’re ranking past 20 you shouldn’t care about CTR anyway). Here’s a sample of my results, and you can download the full spreadsheet here:

Rank CTR
1 42.30%
2 11.92%
3 8.44%
4 6.03%
5 4.86%
6 3.99%
7 3.37%
8 2.98%
9 2.83%
10 2.97%

Tags for This Post: logarithmic function, google, volume estimates, yahoo users, cornell university

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