New Organic Search Clickthrough Rates

Google has updated the Webmaster Tools and the main focus of this update is search query data. Specifically, it now gives access to all search queries that your websites appear for in the organic search listings as well as the impression and CTR data for them. That’s a huge amount of information that is close to what you get in Adwords for your PPC campaigns.

So what that means to us Internet marketers? Until now, we only had broad estimates of click through rates we had from the SERPs, and only if we ran PPC campaigns for the same keywords could we have had more accurate data. Regardless of that, we had no ability to see the exact CTR nor properly test our listing copy for improvement.

Now all data is delivered on a silver plate. So yesterday, I took some time to digest the new information. More specifically how the real CTR data compares to the rough estimates. The results vary widely as one might expect, and there are some big surprises.

First of all, here are the generic CTR estimates we used to have:

Position % of searches
1 42.3%
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%

I’ve always considered this data would vary greatly in reality. Google keeps changing the way the results are delivered – the PPC ads, integrated search results such as images, videos, maps, products, and so on – everything can dilute the CTR on the organic results. And it does.

So here are the CTRs I have for different positions in SERPs as found in the new Webmaster Tools.

Position 1

Varies from ~25% to 100% depending on the kind of keyword. I was surprised to see that many keywords have under 30% rate, but again, it depends on keywords and very likely is diluted by the top 3 sponsored listings (which were not included in the prior estimates).

Positions 2-5

Varies from ~10% to ~40%. I was surprised to see that in some cases these positions get a very high CTR that is close to the #1 position on the same SERP.

Positions 6-10

Varies from ~1% to ~20%+. Again, the surprising thing is the high CTR in some cases, as well as very low in others. While getting a mere 1% might be expected, I would have never thought I would get a CTR of 20% or more from the bottom of the page. That just goes to show what a great headline can do (or lack of good headlines from the competitors).

2nd page and below

Who said people don’t go past the first page? There’s a significant amount of clicks from the second page. 3rd page and below get almost nothing even on big keywords, though.


There’s just too much data to analyze! I wish there were some kind of reports, but let’s not be greedy, that’s already a lot of data Google has released.

I have just confirmed what I have always thought – the click through rates depend on the keywords, on how the results are delivered, and what headlines you use. The ranges of this variety are pretty big which just adds to the value of being on the first page.

And finally, with access to this data it’s now possible to test and leverage the positions you already have to get even more traffic.

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