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Change in Organic CTR by SERP position over Time

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    Updated: Jun 22, 2016

    There are many Organic Click-Through rate (CTR) studies performed on large data sets but many of these studies are limited in their scope to the ever changing nature of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Many of these studies give you the average CTR at the time the study was performed. I was curious if the average CTR for a SERP position does change or has changed over time. What I needed for this study was historical data with clicks, impressions, and average position of queries from the Google search console. Lucky for me, we have been collecting monthly Google Search Console query data (approximately 75,000 to 150,000 queries a month collected) since late 2014. All I had to do was dive into the data for some insights.



    Change in CTR over Time

    The chart above shows while the CTR for average position 1 to 2 has been trending up since Q1 2014, the CTR for all other average positions were relatively flat or trending down.


    Table showing Average CTR over Time.

    Quarter 1-2 2-4 4-7 7-10 11-20 21-300
    Q1-2014 .252 .091 .025 .013 .017 .046
    Q2-2014 .281 .127 .022 .035 .024 .006
    Q3-2014 .181 .062 .019 .028 .018 .005
    Q4-2014 .194 .073 .036 .024 .029 .009
    Q1-2015 .202 .083 .038 .021 .013 .003
    Q2-2015 .309 .079 .033 .017 .011 .002
    Q3-2015 .260 .058 .031 .015 .009 .002
    Q4-2015 .332 .060 .030 .019 .017 .006
    Q1-2016 .348 .051 .027 .011 .009 .002




    Share of Clicks by Average Position since January 2014.

    Share of Clicks on SERP page

    This chart shows the share of clicks for average position 1 to 2 has increased from just over 40% in Q1, 2014 to approximately 70% in Q1 2016.

    Clicks data:

    share of clicks on page 1

    Some factors that may have led to the increase in CTR for position (1 and 2) include;
    1. The rise of mobile searches has resulted in more users clicking on the 1st or 2nd link from a search results page. In May 2015, Google’s senior vice president of search Amit Singhal said more searches were happening on mobile devices than desktop in the US.

    Only 1 or 2 SERP links are displayed on a smartphone search window.

    mobile serp example

    2. Google search engines are getting smarter at identifying what the user wants.

    Check out our blog for more insights on SEO,  Web Analytics, and Web Development.

    What is CTR?
    It is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the total number of users who view a page, email or ad. The CTR of a link from O
    rganic search would be the total number of clicks on that link in a search engine results page.
    What is SERP?
    The search engine results page is the page displayed by a search in response to a query by the user.

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    About the Author

    Former Employee (Web Analyst)

    Daniel was a member of the FourFront team from 2014 to 2022 as a Web Analyst. Read More »
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