Click through rate (CTR) and rankings are tools that business owners can use to their advantage with the shift from brick and mortar stores to online commerce. Before the internet, it was all about drawing the customer into your shop and wooing them with a heady combination of excellent products and value for money. This principle remains the same. With commerce shifting online, clicks have replaced feet through the door and rankings are the new daily paper headlines. The question now is, does click through rate affect rankings?
When a potential customer sees your ad and clicks on it, your CTR improves. A simple way to calculate your click through rate is to divide the number of clicks by the number of impressions. A high CTR means that your adverts and keywords are hitting the spot with your potential customer. Success means attracting the right customers, getting them through your virtual shop door with a click, and offering them your products. A happy customer is one who will return. This cycle is the result of carefully planned ads, keywords and online presence.
In our fast-paced culture, a customer seeking answers will start hunting from the top of the first page of SERPs brought up by their search engine. Generally, they will scroll down and stop at the first post that seems to offer an answer to their query. Once they’ve found what they are looking for, most people will stop scrolling. A smart business owner will do everything they can to improve their ranking and show up on that first page.
The answer to this question lies in understanding how search engines approach CTR.
While Google choose not to use CTR as a direct ranking factor, they do use it to test the quality of the search results. This could cause your ranking to rise in an indirect manner. Their reasoning for not using CTR as a ranking factor boils down to the fact that CTRs can be falsely increased by using bots or paying large numbers of people in third world countries.
Bing, however, have admitted to using CTRs to determine ranking.
Rand Fishkin ran a ranking experiment on a blog post he’d written regarding an internet marketing hypothesis. He put out the ask on Twitter, calling for people to Google the title and click on the link. Within a day, his post had moved from 7th down the list, all the way to number 1. He offers the disclaimer that there could be other factors involved, but the evidence of CTRs affecting ranking in this case are convincing.
Thanks to Rand Fishkin’s experiment, we know we can’t completely rule CTR out of the ranking equation – no matter the approach individual search engines say they follow. Here are some quick steps to help optimize your CTR:
The experts behind online search engines have taken up opposing views on the matter, but whether directly or indirectly, results point towards there being a strong link between CTR and ranking. The benefits will flow both ways. As your ranking increases, so does visibility, leading to more clicks and a higher ranking. At the end of the day, there is no harm in trying to optimize for CTR. Give us a call to get your site up to speed!